I graduated from Melbourne University in 2001. In 2002 I started my first grad job in London. In 2005 I moved to New York, and in 2012 I started splitting my time between New York and London.
If this sounds good to you, then read on for my three steps on finding a job overseas.
Go to the country where you want to work and look for a job. Go for a short trip, or, if you’re really brave, just move there without a job. Yes, you will need a visa to work, but before someone sponsors you for a visa, it helps to meet them.
This is best illustrated by something that happened earlier this year: I recommended a young Australian guy for a job at my company in New York, and we hired him. He’d come over without a job and set up a bunch of meetings to network, and one of those meetings was lunch with me. During lunch I thought – this is a good guy. We could use a guy like this. You don’t get these feelings over email. If I hadn’t met him, I would never have forwarded his CV on. So buy that ticket, take vacation and go.
When I wanted to move to New York, I booked a trip and contacted anyone who was remotely connected to me and working where I wanted to work. For example, Melbourne University alumni would qualify as a pool of people remotely connected to me. You can join a bunch of associations and clubs for this reason. Any tentative link at all gives you an excuse to contact that person. And those contacts should lead to more if you ask.
Here’s the recipe:
- say what you have in common
- research him / her so that you can throw in some flattery
- tell them you’re coming from Australia and the dates you’re in town and can meet
- don’t ask these people if they have jobs. Just ask to meet to find out more about the industry in that country. If you ask for a job, it’s easy for that person to say that they have no openings right now, and turn down the meeting.
- follow up with a phone call
- after the meeting, ask them who else you should meet
I think I went to New York on three separate trips to hunt down a job. Everyone I emailed replied back and about 90% ended up meeting with me. One of these meetings ended in a job. Yay!
Know what it takes to get a working visa for the country of your choice, so you can explain it quickly and easily to the people you’re meeting. It may be useful to talk to headhunters who can guide you in this regard (lawyers are better but you often have to pay them). For example, the E3 working visa for Australians in the USA is easy to get – much easier than the H1B (believe me. I have had both). This needs to be explained or you’ll be lumped in the “no” list with the other foreigners even before the conversation has started.
WORDS BY CHARLIE LEE. Charlie works in finance, and splits her time between New York and London. In her spare time, she writes the blog,WorkingGirlPress.com, a resource for working women on getting things done, hopefully with a bit of style.
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