I′m a California girl living and working in Tokyo. I had never aspired to move to a foreign country to make a living — never even dreamed about it, but, here I am. And, in the year since I left the States, the question that I am asked the most is, "How do I get a job abroad?" I wish I had a no-fail answer, but I don′t. So, instead, I share these helpful hints"¦
Be flexible. Don′t declare, "I am going to move to London, and no other destination will do!" Search positions, not countries. However, if you have reason to be in a specific part of the world, research companies that have branches in your city of choice.
Be qualified. Visions of tax-free living (which doesn′t mean you don′t have to file U.S. taxes, by the way), isn′t reason enough to look abroad for work. You must have a definite skill and enough experience to "back it up." Keep in mind, when a company hires from outside the country, they must demonstrate why a foreigner is more qualified to do that job versus a national. For example, when I applied for my Visa, the Japanese government required that I show 10 years proof of consecutive employment to demonstrate that I was qualified to do my job.
Be realistic. Yes, you hear stories of people arriving in a foreign country armed with only a "visitor′s" visa, finding a job and living happily ever after. This is the exception, not the norm! Some countries — and they all vary — have very specific visa restrictions, and are especially mindful of the "pretences" by which you enter their county. Further, most everything you do once you arrive in a foreign country requires a "sponsor," so even renting an apartment without the proper paperwork and "sponsor" (i.e. employer) can be very problematic.
Having said all that, let me also encourage anyone looking for work abroad to also be hopeful, be persistent and be patient
. If the expat life is in your future, it will come to pass, and it will be an amazing experience — it has been for me!
Linda Beltran is the Director of Public Relations for a five-star, luxury hotel in Tokyo Midtown. She′s a native of California who, before coming to Japan, had never had sushi"¦she′s a convert now!