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Graduate's Guide: Breaking into the Job Market Overseas

Updated: Jun 13, 2021

Applying for an entry position overseas? Here are 10 tips to help you break into the job market.


Landing that dream job while abroad might seem like quite the struggle, especially if you’re applying with limited experience. Worry not, here’s how you can build yourself a game plan and tackle those competitors.

“You have everything you need, just embellish it”

1. Embrace the Culture and Company Values

If you are applying overseas (which I assume is why you’re here), you’ll have to prioritise learning about the culture and the core values of the company. Recruiters that hire international candidates are looking for more than just skills. They want to be confident in your ability to adapt, contribute, and integrate into society. Show them why you’re the perfect fit for their company values and keep in mind to know the immigration laws of the land.

2. Apply to Graduate Programs

Just do it, you have nothing to lose. Many corporate companies have a graduate intake every year/second year. A graduate position secures your career path, the chances might be slim but once you're in, you're in. Apply first then let the company decide your fit.

3. Narrow Your Field of Interest and Request Internships

If you are reaching out to a potential employer, don’t lose their interest by being unsure of your ask. Most recruiters aren’t lenient with their time. The more uncertain you are, the less likely you’ll hear back from them. Adopt a level of professionalism by being precise about what you are looking for and describe your interests. Internships are a great way to get started at a company, especially if you have limited experience. Don’t be afraid to make a request for mentorship!

4. LinkedIn is Your Best Friend, Network!

As an international applicant, you’ll have to find ways to surpass the restraint of building a network through face-to-face interaction. If you are unable to create a physical network, build a virtual one! LinkedIn is ready to gift you a world of opportunities. Use the platform to voice your opinions, interests, be confident about skills, and most importantly, NETWORK. Tailor your headline and summary to describe your personality, interests, skills, and be honest about your aspirations. Don’t be shy to reach out directly to employers.

5. Reach Out to Local Career Consultants

Every country has its own unwritten rules. A local career consultant can help you discover this untapped information, review your resume, and provide direction with your career goals. They are often knowledgeable about the economy, updated with trends in the job market, and can link you to useful resources or connections. They usually charge a fee for their services, so be prepared for that. Add them to your LinkedIn network and follow-up to get more engaging insights.

6. Build on a Hobby, Learn the Language or Volunteer

If you're willing to go the extra mile and earn points for your efforts to stand out, learn the language of the country you're applying to. Your curiosity and ability to assimilate the culture are valued highly by recruiters. Volunteering or building on a hobby, add merit to your education and can be skilfully used to describe your individuality, passion, and personality.

7. Get Yourself Certified

Certifications (while not necessary) are a way to boost your credentials and show commitment to the field. Impress the employer by obtaining a certification supplementing your degree for the skills listed in the job description. Keen on pursuing a career in pharmaceuticals? Try the GCP certification. There are many courses to choose from, but be aware that some certificates require prerequisites, and training can be expensive. Choose wisely and be prepared.

8. Show Creativity with an Online Resume

Having an online resume or CV could possibly be the easiest way to promote yourself while applying overseas. The internet is your way in! Don't miss out on being able to utilise this platform to its full potential. If you've got ideas or perspectives to share, take to social media, make a video, or start a discussion. Be professional and polite; present your thoughts through an article, and you are bound to draw in attention. Remember to add the link to your online resume (and your contact) when emailing a recruiter!

9. Independent Research and Publications

Independent research and publications come in handy if you're leaning more toward a technical field. If you have time to spare, researching current issues in your area of interest might be well worth it. As recent graduates, some of you may still have access to university resources or connections, make good use of this. A publication under your name is an excellent opportunity to leverage your credibility and showcase the quality of your work, especially when applying for a job within an academic setting.

10. Be Ready to Drop a Pitch

Strong candidates know how to sell themselves. If there's something you're good at, then you need to be able to convey it (Some theatrics might help but don't overdo it). Have a pitch for yourself at the ready. Your introduction to a recruiter should be humble but confident, express who you are, what you want, and why you're the best fit for the company.

“Don't Give up, Keep Moving Forward!”

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