Career Advice: How To Take Your Career International

25 April 2019 By Alastair Cleland

Headcount International Career1

​In today’s world of globalised business, companies are increasingly looking to overseas talent to attract a range of skills and behaviours. For internationally minded people, working abroad can be a great chance to expose yourself to new cultures and experiences, while enhancing your CV to boot.

Payments employers are increasingly looking for talented and experienced individuals who are open to the prospect of working overseas. It's an opportunity that can lead to new experiences - and a healthy salary increase - for those willing to explore.

If you’re aspiring to work in another country, a bit of thought and planning is advised to get the most out of the experience. You might be thinking: Is it better to directly apply for jobs abroad, or seek a transfer from your current employer? Which global locations should you consider? What can you expect from working in a different culture? And what kind of practical preparations do you need to take? Fear not, here is some useful advice to get you started.

Top 5 Tips for Aspiring Expats

01 Ask for a transfer

One of the easiest ways to move abroad is through your current employer. Not only can they can help you with the administrative side, you’ll already know the company processes and culture; you’ll probably know a few local team members too. Of course, your individual job situation will dictate how easy it is to ask for a transfer, as some jobs and businesses lend themselves to international experience more so than others. Either way, you can help your chances by building relationships with international colleagues, and volunteering for internationally focused projects to show you are able to work cross-culturally. It’s also a good idea to make your interest in transferring known with your HR team and your line manager.

02 Start your international job search

Before you start actively applying, keep an eye on jobs in your chosen location/s overseas. You can do this by browsing jobs boards or looking on LinkedIn, researching companies you might want to target, as well as making contact with recruitment agencies in your industry who place candidates abroad. By reading job specifications and talking to people in the market, you’ll start to get a feel for the types of positions out there, and what you can do to make your profile more attractive for them.

03 Location, Location, Location 

Wherever you move to, you’ll have to adapt to the local culture, including working culture, so it’s important to research a few locations so you know what to expect. For example, working 80-90 hours a week is common in China, Americans take less annual leave than in the UK, and the working week starts on a Sunday in the Middle East. Doing business can also be very different: for example, the Dutch or German culture of feedback is more direct compared to British politeness. Consider language - if you can’t speak the local language, will you be able to learn quickly? Finally, factor in the weather, surroundings, cost of living– to determine which locations you could be happy in.

04 Sort your admin and logistics

It’s easy to get carried away dreaming about the great international job and the glamourous ex-pat life, but make sure you consider the practical implications too. How easy is it to obtain a visa for the locations you are considering? What kind of relocation package is available for your partner and family, if relevant? What taxes will you have to pay abroad? How will you go about registering as a resident, obtaining a bank account, etc. Don’t ignore the details that could stop your adventure from happening. 

05 Jump Right In!

Although planning is important, to a certain extent it’s important to go with the flow, be open-minded, and seize opportunities when they are offered to you rather than waiting for the ‘perfect’ moment. For the majority of people, working abroad is a hugely positive experience that they wouldn’t think twice about doing again. So what are you waiting for?

Headcount is an international recruitment agency, specialist in payments and fintech. If you're looking for an international career move, we’ll be well placed to help. Send us your CV, or view our opportunities page for inspiration.