Preparing for your overseas job search

You know you want to go overseas and you’ve started looking at jobs.  Great!  Going overseas will change the course of your life in so many ways.  So how do you prepare for the application process? We’ve got eight tips to help you approach this process that are unique to the overseas teaching role.

  1. Update your resume: Be sure that your resume has the most up to date information. Too often applicants fire off their resume that doesn’t include their most recent job or relevant work experience. While you can certainly use the same resume for a variety of English teaching roles, if you are applying for a counseling or a debate role, make sure you highlight any relevant experience. Don’t be that lazy applicant that sends a resume and then starts an interview explaining experience that isn’t included.
  2. Know your narrative: Why do you want to teach overseas?  Whether this is just one of many jobs you are considering, you are switching careers, or just starting your career, you will want to be able to explain why you are choosing to do this, especially if it’s outside of your previous experience.  Why does this matter?  Because if your motivation to take this job doesn’t add up, there’s a greater possibility that you won’t be able to successfully do the job or adapt to the country.  So look at your experiences and make sure you know how to articulate why you want this.
  3. Know what you want: Whether this is a specific country, city, or type of teaching role, think about what you can accept and what you won’t.  While I always encourage people to not be too narrow in their ideas, if you have a specific reason that doesn’t allow you to search outside a given area, then be up front with that in your job search.  This applies to locations, types of jobs, and salaries.
  4. Know the market: While you do need to know what you need, you also need to understand the market you’re diving into.  What salaries can you expect?  I definitely understand negotiating means aiming high in salary expectations but you should also be realistic in what you can expect.  To go about this, start looking at salaries advertised on job sites and ask employers what the salary ranges they offer are.   Take into account other details like housing, flights, health insurance, and bonuses.  If you are still unsure of what to expect, just listen to what recruiters tell you about their offers rather than approach it like a list of demands.
  5. Broaden your search– The world is wide and there are so many beautiful places, jobs, and things to do. Though point three is important, don’t box yourself in. Look at jobs you might not otherwise, consider a city that you maybe haven’t heard of, and overall just be sure to not put too many restrictions on the process before you know all the options.
  6. Go the extra mile: Approach the job hunt like you are bringing only your best self. This involves three simple things – writing customized cover letters, displaying sincerity in the interview, and sending thank you notes.  You alwayswant to make a good impression, even if you don’t accept the job.  It’s possible you may want to reconsider that job or company at a later date, and also be aware that many HR professionals stay in the industry but move to different jobs and they will remember you.
  7. Ask questions: So many people teach abroad these days it’s easy to find a connection somewhere and you likely know someone who has taught overseas.  Ask them about their experience, what they liked, what they recommend, and what they don’t.  Ask your recruiter too, as they have also lived abroad and all enjoy talking about their experience.  There is a lot of great information online, but make sure to balance that research with people you can speak to as well.
  8. Enjoy the process: While job hunting can be time consuming, it’s also a fun process to speak to people around the world about living abroad.  In addition to helping you relax, you’ll be very attractive to a recruiter if you’re easy to talk to and feel like a positive person to be around.

You’ll be overseas before you know it!  As someone who has hired thousands of teachers over the last 15 years, I can assure you it’ll go by quickly.  Take the time to find the right job for you, and again, enjoy the process!

—Jessica Keller, Director of Overseas Recruitment, ENREACH Education