UW Oshkosh

Pursuing a Career Abroad

Domestic vs International

Involves working for an international company that views the world as its market.

Involves contact with people from other countries, whether in person or through telecommunications.

May require living and working abroad for periods of time, or may require working in the United States and traveling abroad on occasion.

Usually demands a targeted skill or area of knowledge (e.g., in finance, computer programming, statistics, sales, research), built upon a base of multicultural interest and proficiency.

Is extremely demanding—if performed outside the home country—of one’s time, often requiring functioning on a 24-hour schedule, balancing work, travel, and business contacts with personal time.(see jobweb.com)

Skills That International Employers Look For

Flexible, enthusiastic, intelligent, hard-working, leader. While all of these skills may sell you to an employer looking to hire any recent graduate from an accredited institution, they may not cut it when it comes to getting that international position you’ve always dreamed of. The following are the majors that seem to get you hired, as well as tips and hints that will ensure that you get noticed.

Majors that get you hired:

Education, Business Administration, Computer Science, Biotechnology, Marketing/International Marketing, Engineering, International Business.

While any college degree will qualify you for an international position, there are certain majors that seem to be in high demand overseas. Don't fret if your major is not on this list. It just means that your skills may not be in high demand and you may have to work a little harder to sell yourself to find that perfect job.


International employers are looking for employees who are:                 
                              Able to learn
                              Adventurous in Spirit
                              Willing to take risks
                              Sensitive, Adaptive, Flexible
                              Possess strong interpersonal skills
                              Open-minded and Tolerant

Cross-cultural competence is a big one these days. Having an understanding of the international environment as well as being multiculturally aware is the first step in showing employers that you are ready for a job overseas. Employers want to hire someone that is genuinely interested and excited to work in their country. They want you to be ‘up’ on local events, and willing and ready to adapt to the local way of life. (See jobweb.com)

There are a couple of things that will help to give you the edge over your competition. Being fluent in a foreign language is a big one. If the country you are hoping to work in does not use English as a primary langauge, knowing the native tongue may be a necessity. Having previous study abroad or cultural immersion experience will also improve your chances of being hired.

Resumes: Adding International Flavor

If you are applying directly overseas, your resume will provide the basis on which an employer decides whether or not they are interested in talking to you. Marketing your skills on a resume as well as presenting a global picture of your qualifications are extremely important. It may also be necessary for you to translate your resume into the official language of the country you are applying to if English is not the primary language. The following are resources that you can use when formatting your resume.

A. Sample resumes brought to you by Career Services at UWO:

Select your major, and remember to tailor the resume to have international appeal

Example cover letters and reference sheets are also available

B. International resumes for Canada, Japan, Spain, UK, and France

Helps you to reformat your resume to meet the traditional requirements of the country

After general resume information, scroll to the bottom and check out some job application guidelines

C. International CV's and Resumes

Search for resumes by country and see examples of Curriculum Vitae: the preferred method of application in most European countries

See examples of cover letters, thank you letters, and reference letters

D. Written Description of exactly what should be included in your international resume

Remember that spelling and grammar are extremely important. Making a mistake on your resume may cause potential employers to think that you have an issue with paying attention to detail. After you have developed a resume, take it into Career Services and have one of their trained eyes go over it with you. This ensures that the employer will be evaluating you on your personality and accomplisments, and not a few missed commas.


Having the right connections can be the "break or make" part of international job hunting. While an excellent resume and outstanding skills will help you secure a job, knowing people who can fill you in on position openings or put in a good word for you can be the ticket to finding and landing the job.

A. Campus Resources

The Office of International Education is a good place to start. There are a number of Listservs that have an international focus and signing up for one will supply you with position announcements for jobs in the feld of international education (international student admissions, international student recruiting,international student services, and study abroad among others).

B. Professional Associations that have an international interest

For example, if you are an economics major looking for international work, contact the International Economic Association to find the resources needed to do your search.

Obtaining Legal Authorization

Before you can head overseas to start your international career, you have to make sure that you have the proper work visas and permits that are necessary to both live and work in the country. While U.S. passports are a necessity these days, permits and visas vary depending on which country you are going to. Malaysia will allow you to work with a simple tourist visa, Bolivia requires no documentation, and a stay in Ghana will require a visa and proof of yellow fever vaccination. So how do you go about getting the right documentation?

A. Government Help

Consular information sheets will give you a good place to start. Visa requirements as well as local laws, embassy information, criminal penalties, safety and security, and entry/exit information

Check out a list of U.S. embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions

B. Independent Sources

If you are finally ready to take the plunge and begin your international career, check out Monster for anything and everything you may want to know regarding work permits (plus information on healthcare, taxes, and even the potential dangers of being a woman abroad):

Workpermit.com advertises itself as "The world's most popular immigration advice site." Information regarding work permits, visas, and immigration can all be found here

For a fee, organizations such as www.bunac.org and www.ciee.org will take care of your overseas authorization for unskilled positions. This option may be beneficial if you don’t want to spend a great deal of time figuring everything out on your own, but make sure that the fees don’t outweigh the potential time spent.

Who Hires Internationally?

The UW Oshksh Career Services office is your best bet for finding local companies hiring for international-related positions. Contact Career Services to ask about their e-mentor/job shadow program today - what better way to connect with and learn from someone already in the field!

In addition, there are many non profit, governmental, and ESL employers who have hundreds of positions open at any one time all around the world.

Use this list of work, intern, volunteer and teach abroad opportunities
to begin looking!

Other Resources

For expatriates

Here is where you will find everything you need to know about being an expatriate. Scrolling to the bottom will give you a list of countries and comprehensive information regarding housing, schooling, and recommended readings, etc: 

Global Etiquette

Do you know how to handle a karaoke business meeting? Monster Global Etiquette will teach you the ins and outs of regional culture and how to conduct successful business meetings in key countries:

Culture Quizzes

Think you know about the culture of the country you want to work in? Try one of these culture quizzes and see if you really do know everything:


Whether you are accepting a temporary or permanent position, it is always wise to check out the latest on travel for U.S. citizens. :


This page was last updated on: December 15, 2010