Some of the most common ways in which people engage with work abroad include:

  • International commuting – based at home but travelling to work in another country on a daily/weekly basis
  • Contract expatriate - contracted to living abroad for a specific, usually quite lengthy, period of time; work which regularly includes long-term business trips
  • Assignment-based work – where there are regular short-term or medium-term business trips
  • International transfer or secondment – from one subsidiary of a company to another
  • Self-initiated movers (SIMS) who live and work away from their home country on a permanent basis, moving to a new post or seeking a post on arrival
  • Virtual international work – involving activity in cross-border project teams but mostly through electronic media
  • Domestically based work but dealing with international suppliers and/or clients.

These different ways of working in the international arena require differing levels of skill, commitment and engagement with the host country. 

Searching for opportunities abroad

Searching for opportunities abroad

General

  • JobsLive - Imperial Careers Service - search for employers and jobs
  • Anywork Anywhere - jobs and resources for work and travel throughout the UK and Worldwide
  • Country specific information - explore working in over 50 countries, with lots of useful links
  • Global Choices - offers a wide variety of programmes for students, young professionals and other participants from the UK and internationally
  • Going Global - offers country careers information with extensive coverage, includes job searching and sources of careers information/job vacancies in other countries
  • Graduate Prospects - and their pages on Studying Abroad and Working Abroad
  • i-to-i TEFL Jobs - includes a jobs only newsletter and plenty of guides for getting jobs abroad
  • 'Working in Europe & Asia' - country specific and economic information
  • Labour Mobility - knowledge provider on international work issues
  • Transitions Abroad - comprehensive online resource to working, studying, travelling and living abroad
  • My World Abroad - the big guide to living, working and studying overseas
  • UK Language Jobs - language jobs from all UK & European companies for multilingual graduates and experienced professionals

Asia

  • BEO Career - the Career Consulting Service for Japanese students offers a range of services, including professional information, advice and a guidance service, completely free-of-charge
  • Gateway Singapore - will connect you with the most exciting Careers and Lifestyles in Singapore
  • gradlink ASEAN - specialist careers website for students/graduates from South-East Asia who are studying in the UK, linking them with employers and jobs in the ASEAN countries
  • Work Singapore - a job and internship portal for high calibre students and graduates from around the world who would like to investigate the possibility of working in Singapore

Australia and New Zealand

  • Jobaroo - an Australian jobs and  visa information and other helpful advice for students planning their careers
  • Sort Out My Visa - offers up to date information on visas for working in Australia and New Zealand, including special schemes for Engineers

Europe and the European Union

  • Academic Jobs EU - an independent company with the sole objective of facilitating recruitment and providing career related services to European Academic Institutions
  • EuroBrussels - self-proclaimed 'number one EU job site since 2001'
  • European Personnel Selection Office - the European Union's personnel office
  • Monetos - provides information for students on living and working in European countries
  • Careers in Poland - a free magazine with careers related information for Poland
  • Target Jobs - an introduction to working in Europe
  • Teacher Hit - a job portal for teaching jobs and careers across Europe

What are employers looking for?

Research carried out by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has identified the following key attributes that are required of a globally competent employee:

  • Strong intercultural and communication skills
  • Resilience: working abroad can mean losing the usual support structures of the organisation, friends and family
  • Flexibility to adapt to new situations and ways of doing things as well as ability to cope with ambiguity
  • Ability to handle diversity and to understand, respect and adapt to cultural differences
  • Knowledge of local conditions
  • Awareness of the strategic aims of your employer and an understanding of the international environment in which they operate
  • A working knowledge of the local language plus a good level of skill in both written and verbal English. It is common for English to be the working language within many business environments, but a good working knowledge of the local language will help you to communicate effectively and develop good relationships both at work and socially

Add to these the battery of skills normally required for graduate-level work such as problem-solving, analytical thinking, numeracy, team working, leadership, self-motivation, self-reliance and business/commercial awareness and you have a formidable task in preparing yourself for selection.

Developing your competencies at Imperial

Studying at Imperial College London provides direct experience of cultural difference and diversity. Imperial provides a first-rate environment in which to develop and enhance your global competency and, in particular, your intercultural effectiveness. The diversity of the staff and student population, the international perspective of teaching and research and the extensive programme of public lectures, events and opportunities for travel provide access to an unusually diverse range of ideas and perspectives. This experience can be augmented through paid or unpaid work experience gained in or outside the UK during the course of your studies. Furthermore, if you have left your country to study at Imperial you will already have experience of living independently in a different culture and the opportunity to develop the flexibility and resilience that living and working abroad requires.

Laying the foundations for your global career

There are a number of ways to continue developing both your global competency after graduation and the international aspects of your career, so it’s important to define exactly what a global career means to you.

  • International experience may be personally interesting to you or worth gaining to add an additional dimension to your CV, or it may be essential for your longer term career ambitions
  • You may want a truly global career, involving several long-term expatriate assignments, such as on-site work with an upstream producer
  • Alternatively, you may want a career that involves travelling internationally on a regular basis but from a home base, e.g. professional service work, banking or logistics
  • Your CV can be strengthened by any exposure to experiences of other cultures through learning foreign languages, practising self-reliance or demonstrating resilience and adaptability

Researching labour market conditions, work permit requirements and having a clear understanding of any constraints, as well as planning and preparation, are all important for success.