Teaching Overseas - How to Conduct an International Job Search
Oct 18, 2011 Career Development 1823 Views
Teaching overseas is an exciting opportunity, and one that is being increasingly sought after by educators, especially graduating students or those who have been in the industry for many years. Unfortunately, many people find the process of overseas job hunting confusing and complex. Job seekers can relieve this feeling if they do some research prior to beginning the job search process.
Searching for an international job is much like searching for a local position. It involves planning and effort; after all, "looking for a job is a job." Job hunting can cause tension and anxiety, so it helps to think of the search as a challenge and a great learning experience. Before undertaking your job search, be sure to read and research to find opportunities. Talk to international recruitment or placement firms to learn of job possibilities and obstacles you may face during your search.
There are unique considerations in conducting an international job search. The market is extremely competitive. While some job seekers will land jobs with ease, many will need to be persistent and thorough to get what they desire. In order to be successful, you must be determined to not give up.
Here are some important points to consider and research before you begin your search:
- Foreign language skills: Depending on what country and what type of school you are applying to work in, you may be required to speak the native language. Knowledge of the language required could range from possessing basic skills to being fluent. This is a definite necessary qualification to check into prior to applying for a position.
- Networking Application procedures: Before beginning the application process, it is wise to research into what will be required from you. Some application procedures can be lengthy and involved, so it is best to look into what is needed in terms of documents, records, and qualifications beforehand.
- Overseas experience: Some hiring companies prefer to hire professionals who have already worked overseas in the past. That being said, there are plenty of opportunities for new teachers or those new to overseas teaching. To avoid culture shock and feelings of homesickness, make sure to fully research the areas you are interested in teaching in. Read both the positive and the negative to ensure that you will be comfortable in adjusting to a new culture and lifestyle. Within a country, focus in on specific areas that interest you the most as this will help to both narrow down your job search and ensure that you will like the area you are sent to.
- Differences in resumes and correspondence: Before sending in your resume and other documents, it is good to research the proper format for your career documents in certain countries. Requirements for resumes definitely differ from country to country, as does overall style and formatting. So in order to get your documents noticed by the hiring committee, take the time to find out what they’re looking for.
- Interviewing: The interviewing process can be quite different than a local hiring process. Many times interviews are conducted over the phone, via the web, or if you are applying through a large education company, you can also have regular face-to-face interviews with traveling agents connected to the school. These types of interviews will normally be conducted in a hotel and may require you to travel to a nearby city.
- Passports: Before looking to find work overseas, you will need to invest in a passport. Many schools will ask to see a copy of your passport as part of the application process, so it is best to get one well in advance. As you need one to travel anywhere outside of your country, it is a good investment on its own as well.
- Visas and work permits: Normally after you are offered a job, you will have to look into applying for the correct visa or work permit that will allow you to work legally in the country. Some countries and schools will specify which permit is necessary, so make sure to ask your hiring contact beforehand. As there is much variety in visas and permits, it is always best to check with officials at the school to make sure you are getting the right one. It also takes time to process, so ensure you have given yourself enough time, as you will not be able to enter most countries without one.
- Salaries, taxes, and the cost of living: When looking for a job overseas, make sure to take into account the cost of living as it applies to your salary. Many countries may seem like they offer quite low salaries, but these same countries could also have incredibly low costs of living as well as low tax rates. Some schools will also offer to pay for your room and board, which will allow your salary to go towards food and spending money.
- Health concerns: Depending on where you are traveling, there could be different diseases that you have not been immunized against. Whenever traveling to a foreign country, it is a good idea to visit your doctor to get any necessary shots, as well as an overall check-up to ensure you are healthy before traveling. While in the country, it is good to invest in some form of health insurance to protect you against any misfortune.
- Transportation: Depending on where the school is located within the country, you can end up either working in the downtown core, or in a very rural area. So depending on where you are stationed, your transportation needs will vary. Find out how well the public transportation systems are run and look into whether or not you will need to purchase, lease, or rent a vehicle.
- Women gaining respect in their fields: Some countries, especially in the Middle East, are not as liberal with equal rights as we are in North America and Europe. It can prove to be much more difficult to find work in these types of countries as a woman, and also difficult to find respect, as schools and classes are filled with mostly men.
Finding employment is not the only way to expand your overseas experience, and is not the only way to build your skills. Studying and traveling can be great ways to follow your interests overseas, while gaining credentials future schools will value. Check industry or trade journals, which list available employment opportunities. Ensure that your teaching resume and cover letter is up to date and positions you in the best light to secure an International Teaching job.