There are many ways to find work in foreign countries and lucky for us, majority of the work available is in hospitality. No matter what country you decide to follow your dreams in, here are things to consider when working abroad.
Before you leave…
1. Check the legal bits and paperwork
The last thing any of us need is to have our passport revoked or to be banned from returning to certain countries. So make sure to check the legalities and laws first. There are plenty of countries that offer working holiday visas but not all of them are equal.
Ensure you check out information of what is available to citizens of your country. Do further investigating and contact people you know who have done it before to find out what steps you need to take.
Be sure to also fill out all the relevant paperwork and forms correctly, and have copies of your qualifications, certificates and identification. This part can be time consuming, but it’s better to do the right thing than be caught out.
2. Get your finances right
Before heading off on your big adventure overseas, it’s best to check that you have enough money to set yourself up first. Don’t rely on the idea of finding a job once you get there. It’s a good idea to start applying for positions before you leave to ensure you have a job when you arrive.
For your living costs think about rent/accommodation, groceries and food, transport, amenities, and of course how much you will earn to cover some of these. Cost will also vary depending on how long you choose to work abroad.
There’s also the paperwork fees before working overseas - passport, visas, applications, identification, background checks etc. Where you can, plan out a budget of how much you need, how much you will earn and try to stick to it.
3. Update your CV
It doesn’t hurt to look over your CV and edit where necessary, particularly because you’ll be working abroad. If you’ll be door knocking, bring some copies with you and be sure to tweak it so that it's more suited to the employers you’ll be contacting. Think about the skills you already have, particularly if you’ve held previous hospitality positions.
4. Notify your references
To increase your chances of getting a job, you’ll want to have killer references to back you. You don’t want to find yourself in a position where you’ve nailed the interview and your potential employer is unable to find someone who can give you a good word.
Leave your references a note that you’ll be working overseas and that they might be contacted. Once you’ve settled in abroad, it’s best to also pass on your contact details and give them a heads up about pending job prospects.
When you get there…
5. Network with others
For those of us who have worked in hospitality for a while, we know that getting a job is a lot easier when we have a friend who can put in a good for us. If you’ve obtained the right working VISA to live in that country, the next step is to get out there and meet people.
You could just walk into places and hand over your resume and cover letter. If you catch the hiring team on a good day or during their slow period, you could be interviewed right then and there. If that isn’t working for you, find groups, meet ups, charities, or any place where you can meet and network.
You can let employers know you just moved there and that you are looking for work. You’d be surprised that most people are willing to help introduce you to other people or help you get an interview.
Since everyone is online, there are also plenty of groups where you can connect with others - whether that’s in hospitality or for finding new friends. Don’t be shy to give any of these a shot, you’ll be surprised who you can meet.
6. Talk up your hospitality experience
If you’ve worked in hospitality already, that’s great! Any previous experience can be used to your advantage and will be looked at favorably by employers. Mention any experience you’ve gained from hospitality venues with an international presence, as it adds to your credibility. The same goes for any hospitality schools you’ve studied at with global recognition.
If you don’t have much hospitality experience, try not to stress too much. There’s no reason for you to pick up work experience before you go overseas. Also a positive personality and a go-getter attitude is often just as important during the hiring process.
7. Improve your communication skills
Depending where you choose to work overseas, English may not be the first language spoken (if that’s not the case, it’s one less thing to worry about!) So it doesn’t hurt to learn the local language, perhaps take some language classes - it’s another skill you can add to your CV and it goes a long way to communicate in the local tongue to your customers, and with the people you meet.
Think about it, it might be easy to get a job as a hotel bartender in Germany since you speak English, but imagine how much harder it is going to be for you if you don’t speak German.
Also consider the communication style and intercultural communication between you and your colleagues - it could be different from what you are used to. For example your colleagues might seem like they are yelling at you, but in reality they are just a loud culture. It will take some time to get used to when you first start working in your new environment, which leads us to the next point.
8. Be adaptable
Even for those of us who have lived abroad many times, it can still be hard to adapt to your new surroundings. You have to get used to calling this new place home. Point number two isn’t just to help you land your job.
It is important to establish a friendship group when you are in your new home so you don’t feel so isolated. Try to adapt as much as possible to the place you are now living in.
It will help you have a better and richer experience! For some, this is easier said than done. But get to know your area, even take those touristy trails to become familiar with your surroundings. Keep learning about the area you're living in, and you'll soon get the hang of it.
9. Have fun!
Most of all, don’t put too much weight on letting whatever work you find define you. If you manage to get a job as a busser at a restaurant- own it! You can move up the ranks in hospitality pretty fast if you are good at what you do and let people know you have a goal in mind.
Maybe if you start there and work your way up, your VISA will get extended or upgraded. The more involved you are with the people in your city and the people at your work, the more you will get out of it. You never know where it could lead.
By working overseas you will strengthen your hospitality career, and your life skills. All that's left to do is pack your bags! Good luck!
|Andrea Aguilar earned her master’s degree in International Hospitality, Event, and Tourism Management from Oxford Brookes University. She has since left to start her own hospitality business called Preshift Hospitality that focuses on employee engagement in the hospitality industry.|
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