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Thinking about a move abroad to develop your career?

Posted by: Mark Burslem

If you’re thinking of moving overseas to widen your career prospects, we’ve collected the best advice from our experts at WRS. Here are eight top tips to starting a successful career overseas.

Why do you want to move abroad?
Before you begin taking the steps to move abroad to start a new career, its important to ask yourself ‘Is this about lifestyle or my career?’ If the thought of finishing work and jumping on a surfboard appeals to you then perhaps a move to Australia or New Zealand would be the perfect move. But it could potentially be a sideways move for your career so its important to be honest with yourself about why you want to move abroad. 

Keep an open mind about your location
It pays to do your research, try to look beyond the obvious locations. If you opt to move somewhere that’s very established it’s likely to be a highly competitive job market, meaning you could find it much harder to get the job you want. Consider emerging markets like India, Thailand or Vietnam. In these countries the market is less mature meaning less competition and tons of opportunities, not to mention an amazing local culture. 
In an emerging market you could potentially be helping to get an operation off the ground, meaning you’ll have a much higher profile and a higher level of responsibility, which will help develop your expertise and experience much more quickly. 
Furthermore, when people consider moving abroad to work, they tend to be swayed by glamorous locations with vibrant lifestyles such as Australia, Tokyo or Hong Kong, but in these places you’re likely to be a small fish in a big pond, if you’re ambitious a glamorous lifestyle won’t be enough for you in the long-run. Try to look for countries where you have potential to advance. 

Consider the possible constraints
Your options maybe restricted by your passport, dependent on where you currently live. Its important to think about the passport/visa you hold and where that allows you go to. Look at how easy it would be to get the paperwork. As soon as you know what the constraints are, you can begin to plan and do more research into the job market. 

Speak to your current employer
If you work for a company that has a global presence, sit down with your HR or line-manager to see if you could take a sabbatical and work in one of its offices overseas. If you love the company you work for it makes sense to begin your search here. However, if a move overseas is not possible with your current employers, it’s time to start researching new opportunities overseas.

Research, research, research
It’s important to know the following:
What language is spoken in your preferred location? Consider learning the basics before moving countries. Entering a new community speaking a little of the language will improve very quickly, your confidence will soar, then opportunities will open up such as courses, new friendships, job offers and the world you live in become a whole lot more exciting and fulfilling.

Are there any country-specific qualifications you need? 
In addition, you should consider all the logistics, such as laws, taxes, cost of relocation and visas. 
Consider how much you will need to be paid in order to cover rent and essentials like food, buying a car or using public transport. Do you know the number of hours you’re likely to work and potential perks at the company? A global workforce solutions company like WRS can help make your transition easy by taking care of all these worries for you. 

Get friendly
When people move abroad, they tend to miss their friends and family, making it hard to settle into a new culture and country when you don’t really know anyone. So, when you start your new job, try finding a friend or some colleagues who can show you the ropes can make a massive difference - even practical things like where to shop or recommending restaurants and bars, or how to get a good mobile or broadband deal will help you settle in. 

Sometimes you have to take a step back to move forward
Look at the bigger picture and try not to focus on a specific job title when you’re looking to move your career abroad. In many cases, what seems to be a small demotion can end up being the ideal opportunity for you to expand your horizons. Taking a step-down can help you get your head around the company, the industry and the new culture and environment, and in some cases a step back can sometimes speed up your career development and skill set.

Looking to work overseas? Browse our jobs and find the right role for you
If you are considering a move or just want to have a confidential discussion about current job markets, you can contact WRS. We are a global workforce solutions company who work closely with our clients and candidates to help match great people to great roles, with great companies in the mining, maritime, energy, commodities trading and construction industries across the world. 
You can take a look at our latest roles by visiting or call is on +44 (0) 161 925 2626

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