Dive into your next adventure with a job overseas

If your daily routine is starting to chafe, or the job hunt is proving unsuccessful, why not take a look at the overseas market? We’ve broken it down into bitesize chunks to help make your new Mediterranean lifestyle a reality.

“With companies facing talent shortages globally, there are plenty of opportunities for UK-trained accountants to work overseas,” says Matt Weston, Managing Director at Robert Half UK. “One example of a destination with high demand is the UAE.”

Rachel Barnetson, Business Director at Hays Globalink, advises that there’s also a growing demand in Australia and New Zealand for qualified accountants with a Big 4 or mid-tier background who are already in a commercial role.

Your right to work abroad

But what about all the practicalities like Visas and permits?

“We see both qualified and part-qualified accountants heading out to New Zealand on a working holiday visa and although immigration rules for skilled migrants in Australia have been tightened slightly, it’s still very easy to obtain a working holiday visa there too,” Barnetson says.

If you are looking to move outside of the EU, holding a relevant, internationally recognised qualification such as AAT is usually a prerequisite for an offer of employment and a work visa.

Within Europe, UK citizens currently have the right to work in any country in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland without a work permit. This will change on a country-by-country basis if or when the UK leaves the EU.

Key takeaways:

  • head to New Zealand or Australia with a working holiday visa
  • AAT qualifications are internationally recognised; ideal for moving outside of the EU.
  • beware of a rule change with Brexit.

Benefits and challenges

Jenn Fenwick, Career Coach at Rebel Road Coaching, believes that we should all embrace the thrill of adventure when it comes to our careers.

“New adventures and challenges build confidence as we realise that we have a huge capacity to learn and adapt, strengthening that all-important ‘resilience’ muscle. We also gain diversity of thought – nothing drives this more than having exposure to new cultures and new ways of doing things.”

International experience will make your CV stand out when you get back home too.

But uprooting yourself (and potentially your family) is a big step, so you need to consider any potential challenges – including practical and financial implications – beforehand.

“The experience can be more complex and exhausting than you first appreciate, it is both an emotional and a learning journey, a bit of a roller-coaster in fact,” says Fenwick.

Key takeaways:  

  • embrace adventure and the unknown when it comes to your career; the international experience will build resilience and boost your CV
  • but moving country, or moving your family, can be a complex and exhausting experience. Research well and approach it with open eyes ready to learn.

It’s all in the prep

Firstly, research potential destinations – where are your particular skills most in demand?

“By making the right decision in terms of location you are far more likely to command a generous package,” Barnetson says. Speak to a recruiter who can give you an indication of local market conditions, rates and salary guidelines.

Moving to work abroad will mean having to adjust to unfamiliar business practices and culture. This could end up being very different to what you’re used to.

Barnetson advises: “Get access to ex-pat guides on your destination, join forums and speak to contacts on the ground or practical tips and advice on working and living in that country.”

Key takeaways:

  • find out where your skills are most in demand
  • look into the business culture and practices in the area
  • get in touch with ex-pats, and local communities for practical tips
  • touch base with potential employers and colleagues ahead of time via LinkedIn.

How to bag that job abroad

Make sure that your LinkedIn profile and your CV are up-to-date, and that they’re attractive to overseas employers.

Fenwick says: “If you’ve delivered or collaborated on projects that have had an international element, or worked with international clients, highlight this.”

Barnetson adds: “If you worked or studied abroad in the past, clearly state this. If not, it’s worth detailing why you’d want to obtain this type of experience on your CV or in your cover letter.” 

Your CV should also demonstrate your ability to adapt and learn.

“Internal secondments, for example, showcase an open and positive attitude to new challenges and work experiences, and a willingness to learn,” says Weston.

Key takeaway:

  • Tailor your LinkedIn profile and CV to target the job you want, highlighting any international experience you already have.

Interview tips

“Showing that you’ve done your research and demonstrating your knowledge of country-specific nuances relating to the industry is interview gold,” says Fenwick.

Still, they will likely want to know your exact motivation for seeking an international move.

Weston advises that focusing on the skills and experience that the job can offer will go down better with your interviewers that talking about the job being an opportunity to relocate abroad.

Finally, your first interview will probably take place over Skype.

“Make sure you look directly into the webcam when you speak and not at the screen,” says Barnetson. “This will help maintain eye contact, which will show the interviewer that you are paying attention, and will help you build rapport, making the conversation flow more naturally.”

Key takeaways:

  • research some country-specific metrics and the latest industry news to discuss during your interview; it shows you’re invested in making this move
  • link the reasons for your international move to the role you’re interviewing for
  • you are likely to have a few Skype interviews in this process, so get comfortable with this format by practising with a friend.

In Summary

Working overseas could be your next big adventure. It’s a great way to shake things up and potentially find a role or company that you absolutely love.

Moving your life abroad is undeniably a big undertaking with it’s own unique risks and costs, but break things down into manageable steps and you’ll soon get moving.

For more on working overseas:

Dream job, dream island – why Malta is a great place for new accountants

Why taking a secondment can help you update your skills

Can I use my UK accountancy qualifications abroad?

Moving your business abroad – can you retain the same clients?

Iwona Tokc-Wilde is a business journalist.

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