Succeeding In The International Job Search

Approach the process professionally.
Even though you might think you're only seeking an internship or a summer job, present yourself as professionally as you would for a full-time career opportunity. Fill out all applications carefully. Write a great resume and cover letter or email.

Do your research.
Know the organizations which offer the type of experience you're seeking. Research the country and be sure you know the laws regarding working in that country, particularly any visa or passport issues.

Know and outsmart your competition.
The demand for international opportunities is greater than the supply, so you should expect competition for virtually anything you pursue. Know your strengths and why you would be the best candidate for the position. What unique or valuable skills do you bring? Be sure to back up your statements with examples.

Be ready to react at a moment's notice.
Sometimes an opportunity appears at the last minute-- and the opportunity goes to the person who has their resume and cover letter (or email) ready to send immediately. Typical items to also have available are your transcript, writing samples, and a list of references or letters of recommendation.

Keep moving forward even if you don't know what you're seeking.
Part of the process is discovering what's out there. You don't have to know your final destination to start the journey.

Pay attention to deadlines.
Many international internship and other opportunities have clear deadlines which you must follow. Submit all materials by the deadline, and earlier if possible. Your application might receive more attention if it comes in early and isn't in the last-minute rush of applications.

Know your budget before proceeding.
Talk to your parents, spouse, or anyone else who might assist with financing. Be sure you consider the cost of traveling and living abroad. If you discover you can't afford to go abroad, look for international opportunities at home, such as nonprofit agencies which serve foreign populations, churches which offer short-term missions, or consider teaching English as a second language.

Conduct a thorough internet search of opportunities.
You will find lots of links to countries and opportunities on various free sites.

Stay open-minded and look for opportunities to learn.
While it's ideal to find a career-building opportunity, sometimes you can learn as much from a less-ideal experience. No experience is wasted as long as you're learning, and you develop a great story to tell a future employer.

Buyer Beware!
Always investigate any organization which offers you an internship or charges you a fee to set one up. Check the Better Business Bureau website or "Google" the organization's name with the word "problem", "scam", or "fraud" and see what shows up.