Ex-pat jobs for US citizens

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Ex-pat jobs for US citizens

Post by tmcc » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:51 pm

I think there are at least a couple of people here who work jobs abroad.

How did you get into that? Were you given the assignment when you were already in the company? Recruited externally? External recruiter? I am interested in this but trying to learn more. My current company is not international.

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Re: Ex-pat jobs for US citizens

Post by RetiredInTheWest » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:15 pm

I became an ex-pat after being at the same company for almost 15 years. The company needed someone to live and travel in Southeast Asia for a few years, then bring that information and network back to the U.S. This was in the late 1990s during the high tech boom. It was a very fortunate and lucrative break for us, and one of the highlights of my career. If you get the chance and the finances make sense, I'd highly recommend it. But due to the high cost to the company, there probably aren't a lot of great ex-pat opportunities easily available in all fields. If your current company isn't expanding overseas, perhaps look at some of its close competitors who are?

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Re: Ex-pat jobs for US citizens

Post by AlohaJoe » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:33 pm

tmcc wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:51 pm
How did you get into that? Were you given the assignment when you were already in the company? Recruited externally? External recruiter? I am interested in this but trying to learn more. My current company is not international.
I've moved countries twice. Once I moved, then found a job. The second time was an internal transfer. I know lots & lots & lots of expats. Those are the two most common ways, by far.

You will never get recruited externally unless you are an executive (or something of similar rarity at a line level).

Unless there is a dearth of local talent in the field, companies won't bother to hire externally even if you apply. External recruiters will generally not be too interested in helping you -- a low chance of success means a low chance of them making any money.

The easiest way, by far, to get a job is to move to the country first and then find a job. It is also, obviously, the highest risk move.

The key -- which should be obvious -- is you need to be able to answer the question, "Why should anyone hire me instead of a local? The local knows the language, has the legal right to work, won't require relocation expenses, etc, etc, etc." Usually answering that requires you have either a lot of experience, have a very specific niche, or work in a small handful of very hot fields that recruit from a global talent pool.

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Re: Ex-pat jobs for US citizens

Post by livesoft » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:42 pm

I sent a letter to one of the top professors in Europe in my field asking for a job. He made a job available for me.
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Re: Ex-pat jobs for US citizens

Post by jminv » Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:58 pm

I started out of university (USA) using my alumni network. Technical position. After awhile, I went back to school for a mba (overseas) and did it again through the schools network. Other than a school, it you can use your professional network and friends to find one. Even if school was long ago, the network can help if you can identify places you want to work where the boss is alumni.

You can get into it by just applying but this really will depend on your sector and where you want to work. It will be easier in some industries if you already have a lot of experience (technical positions).
Last edited by jminv on Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ex-pat jobs for US citizens

Post by Dale_G » Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:07 pm

There are a lot of overseas contract jobs available. Many for skilled trades - electricians, plumbers, mechanics, etc., plus accountants, purchasing agents ......

Not so much for web designers, appliance salespeople or financial advisors.

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Re: Ex-pat jobs for US citizens

Post by Skiandswim » Tue Apr 09, 2019 1:44 am

Made two moves as expat with my corporation. Then a move for wife's startup and later teaching / consulting opportunities. If in a firm, express your interest! If on your own, there are open positions needed worldwide. Not for everyone ... but has been a great experience for our family.

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Re: Ex-pat jobs for US citizens

Post by ResearchMed » Tue Apr 09, 2019 8:43 am

livesoft wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:42 pm
I sent a letter to one of the top professors in Europe in my field asking for a job. He made a job available for me.
This ^^ is what I did.

I sent "cold call" letters to a few top professors in my field, and got a few positive responses, and then chose the one that seemed the best fit.
It was one of the best decisions of my life, both in terms of "life experiences" and also furthering my professional path.

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Re: Ex-pat jobs for US citizens

Post by Cyclesafe » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:12 am

I've had three ex-pat assignments: two were internal transfers, one was the result of being recruited.

First, one has to establish common ground as to what an expat assignment actually is. A senior position where one (allegedly) brings an expertise that a company is less willing / unable to source locally is one thing. A position where one is a foreigner hired locally is entirely another. The former used to be at least a job with extensive perks and an outrageous salary. Now, because of the expense to the company, it is a temporary job with the primary goal of the holder to train a local replacement ASAP.

For the latter, there are no perks and there is a local salary. One's local co-workers will always be on the lookout for any special treatment given and can be highly disruptive if they perceive there to be any discrimination. And it goes without saying that the holder will need to speak the local language at a level equivalent to any local in their position. (Unless, of course, they were hired to burnish the English skills of the locals.)

So in my view, there are two ways to work overseas. The first is to develop an expertise within an international company and learn the language of the country that you ultimately want to get transferred to. Thusly, become the "go to" person within the organization (preferably the headquarters) for all things local country. Be the person who helps host local country visitors to headquarters. Be seen successfully socializing with them - beyond the call of duty - and chopping around with your language skills. (One can just be repeating inappropriate gibberish, but the headquarter higher-ups will assume that you are making points as the vistors are in stitches laughing at you.)

The second way is to somehow get a visa to work in your target country. This will likely be as an English teacher, but maybe not if the country is hard-up for some specific non-language expertise. The number one priority at that point will be to become bilingual ASAP before you get frustrated with the poor treatment and lousy pay. Since you have no experise in working for a company - any company - your bilingual / cultural skills are all you ever will have. And trust me. The educated locals will always speak English better than you will ever speak the local language - unless you are also born there and have a local family.

So. I totally get the desire to work overseas. Both routes described above have a high risk of failure. The first method will result in progression in a company if not an actual expat assignment in the end. If ambitions seem thwarted, one can join another company which has more extensive foreign interests and use expertise gleaned from the first company to try again with another. But patience there mght not be rewarded either.

The second method will get you in the local country faster, but frankly, unless one is very lucky, it will not be sufficiently lucrative as there a always a bright-eyed young optimist from an English speaking country who is eager for your job and is willing to take even more abuse and work at even less pay. And you will encounter expats from method #1 and be consumed with envy about the perks, the pay, and marvel how they achieved their positions without having anything like the language skills that you starved yourself a decade for. And if one gave up before this, one has to get back in line to approach the starting gate for a career in the home country.
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Re: Ex-pat jobs for US citizens

Post by martiansteeler » Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:25 pm

I was recruited externally through a headhunter for both of my jobs (Germany and Switzerland). Hired as a local hire, local contract...not an "ex-pat" in the sense that I had no special perks (although I negotiated assistance with US/Country taxes, as well as relocation assistance), no ticket home (moved on a one way ticket to a new company), no outrageous salary or tax equalization.

It also meant I had no "ex-pat" network, I integrated into both communities, I learned the language, and participated in local events. I loved every second of it and would do it again in a heart beat.

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Re: Ex-pat jobs for US citizens

Post by lynneny » Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:03 pm

I had several expat jobs in Europe and Latin America, always transferred by a U.S. company. I also spoke several foreign languages.

The best way to get a corporate job overseas is for you to look for an international company in your field that you can move to, and express interest in an overseas post.

The easiest way to work overseas is to do a one-month TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course and then get a job teaching English in Asia or Latin America (Europe is harder because there are so many EU citizens who can teach English). English-speaking jobs do not pay well, but if you live like a local or in a country with an extremely low cost of living, you can live on it. A friend just taught English in Vietnam, and earned $20/hour, which is enough to live very well in Vietnam.

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