How to… Working internationally

The world recession might have temporarily held off the march of
globalisation, but there is every indication that once economies pick up, major
blue chips will be thinking global again and international experience will be a
valuable addition to any CV. In a survey published last week by global
recruitment consultancy Robert Walters, 75 per cent of respondents said
international experience is either essential (28 per cent) or extremely useful
(47 per cent). And with many HR directors now expected to manage workforces in
more than one country, the more insight into and experience of different
cultures and countries you can get, the better.

What is my first step?

You need to do some serious thinking and research. Consider which parts of
the world you would like to work in. The web is an invaluable resource: many
countries have webrings, collections of linked websites that you can search
using the name of the country. Typically the dedicated information will detail
the economic, political, cultural and social climate of the country, as well as
the cost of living.

Finding the job

The simplest way is to secure an international move or secondment is with
your present organisation, but if you are looking to move on, then the
international sections of job sites, such as Monster and Totaljobs are great
places to start. Internet recruitment is cheaper than press advertising across
Europe, so is fast becoming a favoured medium for international hiring.

Earlier this year, job site Monster claimed that companies advertising in
three or more countries equals 25 per cent of its UK business and is growing.

What some international job sites lack, however, is the personal touch so
make sure you sign up with major global recruitment consultancies and
headhunters. Track down the names of international specialists for each country
within these companies and quiz them about trends and how UK qualifications are
viewed and so on, as these will vary from country to country.

It is also worth investigating the corporate websites of companies based in
the countries you are targeting, as not only will they have international
vacancies but also information on the company culture.

Make contact with overseas HR organisations such as the US-based
International Association for Human Resource Management (IHRM –
as this is another good way of hearing about new positions, as are many of the
online HR forums.

Before you apply for an overseas position, learn how to do so for that
specific country. As an HR professional, you may know everything there is to
know about turning in a good UK job application but did you know, for instance,
that 80 per cent of CVs and job applications in France are still handwritten –
or that in Germany it is customary to sign CVs?

What other practical considerations are there?

If you are moving with your company, you should receive a great deal of assistance
when relocating. If not, there are plenty of relocation companies you can
enlist. Whatever you do, the following are useful practical pointers:

– Accommodation – when it comes to renting you will need to have a deposit
up front so make sure you have access to cash when you relocate. Landlords will
likely want references from your employer so remember to take them

– Bank accounts – open an account in your new country as a local bank
account offers a great deal of credibility

– Driving licence – check the validity of your UK one and determine if you
have to take another test locally

– Car insurance – make sure you have a reference from your existing insurer
to help minimise the premiums

– Tax – the tax year will be different and it is likely you will have a
crossover of tax years. In addition there are National Insurance considerations
– for example are you in a country with reciprocal UK arrangements as to
whether you retain credits while abroad? You may also need help with filling
out your tax form too, especially if you have retained a property at home. If
you have got a good financial adviser in the UK, talk to them about it before
you go

Where can I get more information?


Good for relocation info: Cendant Relocation

Expertise in Labour Mobility

Web of Culture

Good for international job-hunting: Monster

Total Jobs

Michael Page

Robert Walters


Looking for Work in…Expertise in Labour Mobility (ELM) publishes 28 guides
on working in most countries, which can be ordered from ELM, priced at 20 euros

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