Get the great job abroad

Your opportunities and your salary depend on whether you have been dispatched, stationed, or if you’re merely working in a foreign country.

Many recent graduates dream about working abroad. However, as you may also have read about in the section about the program, you’ll have a better chance, if you’ve already been abroad and have acquired contacts and knowledge. Hiring processes vary from country to country, and therefore it’s always a good idea to talk to people who have applied for jobs abroad and find out how they approached the task. In the U.S., for instance, issues such as race and skin color are complex, so you might not want to attach a photo to your application. But you should probably talk to someone who works in the same company about the customary practices, before you apply and send your résumé.

What you should consider before applying for a job abroad

Culture: How does the company function? Does it follow a hierarchical structure, or is there a flat structure and line of command in the organization? What’s the social culture of the country? Are women and men allowed to do the same things – and can women go out on their own? Are women, for instance, allowed to supervise men? Are there any unwritten rules you need to be aware of, so as to avoid that your colleagues lose face in front of you or the boss? Is it possible to practice sports outside, or do you need a car to get around? Do I wear a suit and tie to work, or can I show up dressed more casually? Will I be able to work at home, or will they expect me to be at the office 40-50 hours per week?

Politics: How do I get a visa – and will it take long? Will any rules regarding entry and departure affect my general well-being? Will it be easy for my family and friends from Denmark to visit me, or will we have to plan it far in advance? How do government agencies and systems, such as the police, hospitals, and other authorities, function? Will I have to spend half a day at the post office, waiting to pay my bills? If you’re being stationed abroad, talk to the Danes who have already been deployed, and ask them about their daily lives and practical matters.

Expectations: How do you want to work? Are you going to be a project leader and/or is someone else going to lead you? Do you prioritize leisure time and friends, or will you be focusing hard on your career and spending many hours a day at work? Is a high salary important to you? Or would you rather explore your surroundings? Do you require that a car is made available to you? Regarding the workplace and the country, how much may they differ from Danish culture? How much do you need safety and companionship?

Contract: Will I get a notice of resignation? Will I need to get extra insurance coverage in case of an accident? What are the work environment rules like? Do I get paid during holidays? Am I covered by a competition clause, in case I go home or wish to work at a different company? In case of an emergency – such as illness in the family – will my transportation be paid for? What are the tax rules like? Is my salary easy to discern, or does it depend upon, for instance, a bonus?

Climate: Is it cold or warm? Perhaps it is too hot to stay outdoors – this may be the case in the Middle East and in countries on the Arabian Peninsula. On the opposite pole, we have Greenland, where, for example, it may be dark all day long for long periods of time. Are you prepared for the climate challenges of a foreign country?

Personal costs: If you are dating someone, of course you’ll have to talk to him or her and figure out how to deal with the situation. Will you schedule your Skype dates? Will your partner come visit you or perhaps even go with you to the new country? Staying in touch with family and friends will also require you to make an effort, when new colleagues and the new job demand your attention. How will you stay in touch with them, while you’re away? Do you want all of them to visit you, and, if so, for how long? Will you be able to combine your work life with taking time off and playing tourist guide for your guests?

Financial costs: Some countries are similar to Denmark – especially countries in Western Europe. Eastern Europe, the U.S., and Australia may be a bit cheaper, depending on the location – big cities are more expensive than rural areas. Switzerland, Scandinavia, and Singapore are more expensive to live in than Denmark. The rest of Asia is cheaper.