If you’re a graduate dreading the job prospects in the United States or Europe, you probably have good reason to worry. Employment opportunities remain grim for Gen Y.
Fortunately, the job market is only a problem if you limit yourself geographically to countries with massive unemployment. In contrast, high growth emerging markets in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East can give you valuable work placements as well as life-changing personal experiences.
How To Get An International Job Offer
Choose a study abroad country that has a good outlook for economic growth and a friendly attitude towards expatriate jobs. Some examples are Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, China, Thailand, and Chile. It helps immensely if you are already fluent in the local language.
2. Trip Planning
The logistics and timeline of your trip abroad are very important for many reasons.
We suggest that you study abroad for your entire senior year. The main reason this would be useful is because of the way companies generally hire. If you have been interning with a company for a continuous 6 months while studying at a local university, you will have proven yourself as a capable person to hire. By this point you will have become so immersed in their day to day operations that it would simply make sense to bring you on.
The reason why expat placements are so risky is because companies are gambling on whether a candidate, about whom they know very little, is going to integrate well into both the company and the local culture.
Moreover, most companies do not hire according to your graduation schedule but according to who is immediately available. By studying and interning abroad your entire senior year, you will probably be able to transition immediately into your international career.
Make a careful choice of which country you’ll choose and apply through your university.
3. Identify Companies
Now that you’re all booked to go study abroad, you have to decide where you want to work.
In the 4-6 weeks leading up to your departure you should identify 20-30 specific companies that interest you. Then, check their careers page to see if they offer internships and entry-level positions.
It’s important to note whether or not companies have both internship positions and entry-level positions. The reason is that you want to start as an intern and then transition immediately into an entry-level role. If they publicly list the position and the requirements and tasks for each position, you will know precisely what kinds of skills they are looking for. You can then use your experience during your internship to mold yourself into an ideal candidate for that entry-level role by the time you graduate.
Once you compile your 20-30 companies, you need to find contacts within the companies who are willing to help you navigate HR. More often than not, HR personnel and gatekeepers will prevent you from getting in touch with decision-makers simply due to protocol.
In order to get in touch with these decision-makers, you are going to have to use linkedin as a recruitment hack. Set up a profile and add a professional picture of yourself in business attire. If possible, connect to former bosses or professors with whom you have a great relationship. Once you do this, request a linkedin recommendation. This will help you raise your perceived value to decision-makers who will be checking out your profile.
You should consider paying for a “business plus” account. It’s worth the cost because you can send direct “inmail” messages to decision-makers in your target companies. It’s highly likely that many of them will respond and point you in the right direction. Alternatively, if you are feeling gutsy, get the office phone number and cold call them directly!
Your goal here is to request an internship interview for when you arrive to your study abroad location. This way, you can begin interning almost immediately and gaining useful on-the-ground experience.
5. Internship And Offer
Set up an internship that lasts for at least 3 months. This is a solid amount of time to see if you enjoy the work culture and see strong prospects for your future. If you decide that you don’t like that particular company, it will be easy to switch to another one of your target companies. This way, you’ll also have the opportunity to work in a few companies before making a final decision. By the time you graduate, you’ll be ready to hop immediately into a great international career.
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