An international job can mean working in a country abroad, working for an international company in the United States or working in a job that requires global travel. If you're considering an international career, you should ask yourself some questions first:
Why are you interested in an international career?
Consider your answer to this question carefully. Not only will it help guide your job search, it will also prepare you for the interview process. Ask yourself:
- What is my purpose for wanting to go abroad? (travel, new experience, build a career)
- What do I rate as most important? (job, location, pay)
- Why am I drawn to an international career? (emphasize the positives)
- What do I hope to achieve?
What skills do you have?
Communicate your value to prospective employers by emphasizing the skills you bring to the table. Hiring an employee from a foreign country can be a considerable risk for any organization, so it's important to demonstrate your value and commitment. Some helpful skills and personality traits may include:
- Technical skills in engineering or computer science
- Experience working in cross-cultural environments
- Fluency in multiple languages
- An adventurous spirit
- Interest in learning new things
- Demonstrated initiative and drive
- Flexibility, adaptability, and tenacity
The University Career Center offers 2 courses related to exploring careers working abroad. LA&S 480: Preparing for International Careers is part of the study abroad program, and enrolled students can travel to Costa Rica or London. LA&S 485: Global Career Management focuses on cross-cultural communication and the global economy.
Explore Resources and Tips
- My World Abroad - features blogs, quizzes, and more about working internationally
- GoinGlobal - accessed through HireJayhawks.com; resource for researching cities and countries around the world, including application guidelines
- Foreign Firms Operating in the US and American Firms Operating in Foreign Countries - database of companies with international presences
- UniWorld - helpful resource for researching international companies
- Eurograduate, The European Graduate Career Guide - working internationally from the European perspective
- Gobal Professional Search - job service that focuses on global competencies
- Transitions Abroad - extensive collection of information, articles, resources and links to job listing boards from around the world
- Riley Guide, The International Job Search - additional useful resources but in dated layout
- AIESEC - student run organization encouraging and enabling international experiences for students
- UCC Index of international job listings sites
- KU Office of Study Abroad Internship Programs - offers summer internship programs in London, Dublin, Madrid, and Sydney
- Adzuna - search engine for job and internship postings in the United Kingdom
- BUNAC - organization that arranges visas for internships and short term work experiences in United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand
- Go Abroad - resource with internship, teaching, volunteer, and job opportunities abroad
- InterExchange Foundation - organization that offers grants to individuals participating in their programs and individuals organizing their own experiences abroad
- WorldUnite - offers volunteer, internship, and holiday work abroad programs
- Liepin North America - large, mid to senior level professional and talent platform in China (for student from China, studying in the U.S.
- Volunteering Solutions - offers internship and volunteer experiences abroad
- Ask friends and family - If you have friends or family in that country, as them for organizations with quality reputations.
- Use Idealist - Idealist.org's International Volunteerism Resource Center can help find nonprofit or NGO internships abroad; AIESEC is also a great organization offered at KU for finding opportunities.
- The KU Office of Study Abroad offers internship programs in a variety of locations including Dublin, Ireland; London, England; Madrid, Spain; Shanghai, China; and Sydney, Australia: more information.
- Do you qualify?--Make sure you have or can get the proper visa/work permit to do an internship abroad; Going Global is a resource that can assist you with this.
- Prepare - Allow 6 to 12 months for the internship search, hiring process, and paperwork involved in working abroad.
- Find out your credit options - Ask the University Career Center and your academic department how you can receive KU credit for your internship in case it is required by the organization.
- Quick response - If the organization doesn't respond within 2 days of contact, they will probably give you a headache down the road.
- Ask other students - Try to track down other students who have interned with the organization and make sure they had a positive experience.
- Break down the cost - If the organization charges a fee, ask where that money goes and make sure it sounds reasonable.
- Compare comparable companies - If this organization charges far more or far less than other comparable programs, that should present a red flag.
- Orientation - Ask how long the program's orientation lasts, and think about whether you consider that ample to feel comfortable in your new country.
- Support - Ask what protocol the organization has in place should something go wrong, for example, your housing becomes unsafe or you need medical attention.
- Ask United Way - Ask that country's United Way about the organization to gain a sense of the organization's reputation.
- Do your research - Search the company's name to find articles, blogs, etc. related to the organization or other people's experiences.
Take a Career Course
480 (formerly LA&S 492): Preparing for International Careers