Top 5 Tips for Landing a Job in a New Country

Expats around the world share the feeling of dread that comes with having to find work in a foreign land. Cultural differences, language barriers and company protocols can quickly make you feel like you’re drowning in information, or even worse, not enough information. Unfortunately, it can take a lot of time and even more effort, but there are a few things you can do to help yourself along.  Whether you’ve already arrived, or you’re on your way there, here are some top tips to help you in your search for employment.

1. Get to know the job market!

Make sure you know what you’re in for and what kind of work is available, ideally before you arrive. Even better, before you confirm the move. If you’re moving your life across the globe, it’s worth putting in that extra effort to avoid getting one hell of a shock. The last thing you need, on top of the many other stresses you will encounter, is to find out that your money is drying up and there’s none coming in anytime soon.

gaijinpot-8816944

GaijinPot – A useful website for expats living in Japan

In most countries, you’ll find a number of websites dedicated to advertising jobs. If you don’t know the local language, there will be websites dedicated to expats that will undoubtedly have a page with current job listings in English. To save you some time and effort, I’ve compiled a very brief list at the end of this article of various countries and their applicable job and expat websites. You can thank me later…

As if that’s not enough, it’s also worth searching for companies in your new home that offer the type of job you are looking for and contacting them directly. For example, if you’re looking to find English teaching jobs in Japan, you may google ‘English teaching jobs Japan’. A multitude of companies will no doubt pop up in your search, including ECC, Nova and the ALT program just to name a few, all of which allow you to apply online.

2. Update and Adapt

Updating your resume is something you should do before applying for jobs regardless. In a foreign job market however, you may have to do a little more than that. With company values, protocols and business culture differing greatly from country to country, there’s a good chance you’re going to have to adapt your resume to suit the country you’re applying in.

In Europe, for example, you now need to follow the Europass CV format which makes applying for roles throughout Europe a simple and standardised process. European Resumes will also often include information such as nationality – information which you would never include when applying in countries such as Australia or the UK. This is generally to avoid discrimination, also for which you would generally not include a photo in resumes for Australia, the U.K. and the United States. However, in many Asian countries such as Japan, including a photo is common practice.

mikayla-mallek-219946

3. Learn

Learn about the work culture and common practices in your country of choice. Not only will this mean knowing what to expect, it will also impress your potential employers.

When applying for positions in Japan, I was asked on several occasions whether or not I was ok with the fact that my total salary would not reflect what I saw in my bank at the end of the month. I sat there a little confused, thinking that common sense would prevail and that people should already know this. So why? Apparently, many a foreigner before me lost it at their employers when they realised that tax, health insurance etc. was taken from that amount, something that they could have easily researched prior. Please don’t be that person.

Using Japan as an example once again, it is also normal for employees to work late, well past their scheduled finish time. As a foreigner, you may not be held to such standards, but be aware that what you do will determine their view of you as not only a worker, but a foreigner also. It is also common that employers may ask you about tattoos, piercings etc. as these things are generally frowned upon or even prohibited in Japanese culture.

Each country will be different, but there is plenty of information available online and from expats who have already experienced it. Doing this research will make your life easier when your journey begins, so it’s worth taking the time to look into it. In my situation, my boss was in shock that I wasn’t stomping out of the workplace at 9pm sharp, among other things that the previous employee did, which has led to having an awesome relationship with my manager. Well worth the effort.

4. Talk. And talk some more.

If you arrive before obtaining work, it’s worth spreading the word. When you start to make new friends, chat to people and build a network of sorts, make sure those people are aware that you are on the hunt for work. These people may know someone who knows someone who’s hiring – an easy in that takes very little effort on your part. When moving overseas, many people start to discover the warmth and generosity of many locals – just part of the magic that is expat living.

5. Language

If you find yourself moving to a country that speaks a language other than English, it’s worth brushing up on your language skills. You don’t have to become fluent overnight, but learning basic phrases and words shows that you’re trying. It shows you’ve taken the time to put in some extra effort and this will often go a long way with potential employers. Many people underestimate the power of a few small phrases, but an employer will often feel more comfortable hiring someone who walks out of an interview saying thank you in their native language than someone who neglects to acknowledge it.

carl-heyerdahl-181868

To sum up, preparation is key. If you do your research and prepare, your job hunt should, at the very least, go more smoothly.
It’s also worth noting that taking one job doesn’t mean you have to stay there. If you’re finding yourself hating your work, look for something else! You’re not locked in and you will have gained some valuable experience in the meantime.

And remember! Don’t stress! It will happen eventually. It can be stressful at home, let alone in another country, but don’t let it ruin your experience. It will all be worth it in the end!

Useful links for your job hunt….

America

Robert Half- https://www.roberthalf.com/
Career Builder – http://www.careerbuilder.com/
Indeed – http://www.indeed.com/

Australia

Seek – https://www.seek.com.au/
Indeed – https://au.indeed.com/

Canada

Monster – https://www.monster.ca/
Indeed – https://ca.indeed.com/

China

China Job – http://www.chinajob.com/
Expat Jobs in China – http://expatjobschina.com/

India

Naukri – https://www.naukri.com/jobs-in-india
Monster – http://www.monsterindia.com/

Japan

GainjinPot – https://gaijinpot.com/
Jobs in Japan – https://jobsinjapan.com/
Career Engine (bilingual) – https://careerengine.org/

Korea

Korea Observer – http://www.koreaobserver.com/jobs
Craigslist Korea – http://seoul.craigslist.co.kr/search/jjj

Malaysia

Job Street – https://www.jobstreet.com.my/
Monster – http://www.monster.com.my/

Norway

NAV (lists  all jobs in Norway but only available in Norwegian) – https://tjenester.nav.no/
Life in Norway – http://www.lifeinnorway.net/work/jobs/

Singapore

Job Street – https://www.jobstreet.com.sg/
Monster – http://www.monster.com.sg/
Living – https://expatliving.sg/
Expat Singapore – http://www.expatsingapore.com/

Sweden

Sweden Institute – https://sweden.se/collection/working-in-sweden/
Blocket (Swedish) – http://jobb.blocket.se/
Everything Sweden – http://everythingsweden.com/

U.K.

Jobs – http://www.jobs.ac.uk/
Monster – https://www.monster.co.uk/
Reed – https://www.reed.co.uk/
Indeed – https://www.indeed.co.uk/

Osaka Living

Moving or travelling to Japan can be an amazing experience. The food, the culture, the people; it’s hard not to be enchanted by this place. In this post, I’m going to focus on the city I now call home, Osaka. It’s a city that is often overshadowed by it’s bright and glittery big brother, Tokyo, yet it has plenty to offer with its cool vibe and a pride that runs deep with the locals. From the polished and upmarket area of Umeda, to the busy neon lit streets of Namba, Osaka has it all.

Food

If it’s good food you’re looking for, say hello to the food capital of Japan! Osaka has a rich food culture that has made a real name for itself globally. With a variety of local cuisines and extremely high standards, it might come as a shock to learn that eating well here is extremely affordable.

img_0574You can find restaurants and street stalls alike selling delicious foods like takoyaki (grilled octopus balls) and okonomiyaki (a pancake like dish with vegetables and meat). For the best okonomiyaki, I recommend Fukutaro (福太郎) near Namba (see the bottom of this post for more info). You can wait up to an hour for a table, but it’s well worth it. Give the Osaka style negiyaki a go – you won’t regret it.
If deep fried goods are more your thing, you can head to the home of kushikatsu in Shinsekai where you can find battered deep fried goods with a special sauce that will send your taste buds into overdrive.
Be sure to check back at a later date because Osaka’s food deserves a post of its own.

Location

Another great thing about Osaka is it’s location. Tourist hotspots and world famous locations are just a short distance from Osaka city.

osaka-kyoto-nara-kobe-dong-yangYou can easily spend a day enjoying the scenery in Kyoto, visiting the deer in Nara, or you can duck down to Kobe for some world class beef. If you feel like doing some hiking or spending the day outdoors, Mount Rokko, Mino and the UNESCO World Heritage Sites at Mount Koyo are just a train ride away.
If you’re looking to travel a little further, Tokyo, Mount Fuji and all other major spots are easily accessible from Osaka, whether you’re travelling by land or air.

Okunoin Cemetery

The pathway to Okunoin 奥の院 on Mount Koyo 高野山 in Wakayama, about a 2 hour train trip from Osaka City.

Transport

Travelling within Osaka is done with ease with one of the best train and subway networks I’ve come across. After just a short time living here, I was easily able to navigate my way around the city without feeling too overwhelmed. Don’t speak Japanese? Don’t sweat it. 99% of signs throughout the stations display English. Get lost? Simply ask one of the friendly staff, or even a local, and they will generally try their very best to help.ticket03_p01_01
For tickets, I recommend getting an ICOCA card, or any commuter pass for that matter. It will make your life much easier.

If you’re worried about having to be pushed on to a train to fit, don’t stress! Luckily, Osaka doesn’t have quite the hustle and bustle that Tokyo faces. Although being a major Japanese city with a population of over 2.6 million people, rush hour is quite manageable and you shouldn’t have to face a hellish commute home too often.

Shopping

Shopping in Osaka is much like shopping in any major city around the world. From luxury goods and high street fashion through to smaller boutiques and local goods, Osaka will no doubt have what you’re looking for. The major upside to shopping in Osaka is convenience. Major stations like Osaka and Namba are connected to a myriad of department stores, restaurants, game centers and chain stores that allow you to shop until your heart’s content just a stones throw from your journey home.
If you’re willing to walk a little further, you’ll find a number of shopping malls and streets that are full of chain stores and local boutiques alike.

Osaka Outlook

Having visited other areas in Japan, there’s something about Osaka that just draws me in. The people here are very welcoming and are known for their sense of humour. Osaka is known for it’s manzai comedians and the osaka dialect has become a big part of comedy in Japan.
Even better, there’s apparently a thing called ‘Osaka Bang’. I’ve never tried this myself, but I have seen a Japanese show on YouTube that gives it a shot. Basically, if you walk up to anyone in Osaka, put your hands in a gun position and say ‘BANG’, whoever you aim at will pretend they have been shot. I’m dying to see this one in action, but until I can confirm it’s a thing, I don’t think I have the guts to give it a go. Click here to see the video on Youtube, complete with English subtitles.

gaki no tsukai

ガキの使い Gaki no Tsukai – A show hosted by Japan’s most famous comedians

Many agree that the people of Osaka are some of the most warm and approachable in the country, and seem to be more open minded.
As a foreigner in Japan, it can often be difficult to strike up conversations, to ask for help, or to not feel out of place in general. While many may still hold a certain view of foreigners living in Japan, the people of Osaka have made myself and many others feel a little more at ease, giving rise to a large population of expats that choose to call Osaka and the Kansai area home.

So! If you’re looking to move to Japan, or simply to travel, I definitely recommend coming and exploring Osaka. It has an amazing vibe, an unbeatable food culture and people that are always up for a laugh. I will post more information on each topic more specifically in the future, so check back at a later date if you want to know more. If you have any questions, or any other Osaka based info, post a comment below! For more photos on life in Osaka, check out my Instagram, @rinnie_m.

Until next time,

 

Rinnie M.

 

Fukutaro 福太郎 – Negiyaki and Okonomiyaki
Address: 2-3-17 Sennichimae Chuo-ku Osaka Osaka
大阪府 大阪市中央区 千日前 2-3-17
How to get there: Catch the train or subway to Namba or Nipponbashi stations and you’ll be just a short walk from the restaurant

Preparing For The Big Move

So for the first “informative” post, I thought I’d start from the very beginning. Preparing for that big move overseas.

Preparing for the big move can be very overwhelming. From bank accounts to visas, it’s all too easy to forget something important. What I will cover in this post are those things that I considered to be the most important and the most vital to my move, including those that I missed. Keep in mind that this is a very brief overview so please don’t rely on this and this only. Everyone’s situations are different so these may or may not apply to you. So, here goes…

1. GET YOUR VISA!

I cannot stress this enough. Get. Your. Visa. Sorted. Find out what visa is required for your country of choice and apply. Note that many countries have a waiting period before your visa will be issued, as well as a time frame in which you must arrive in the country after the visa is issued. Take special note of these dates and plan around them. Without your visa, you can forget the rest. Also take note of the rules and regulations that your visa has, such as work restrictions. Much of the information you will need will be on government and immigration websites of your  chosen country. If you’re unsure, you can always send an email to the closest consulate. I have found that they are always happy to help where possible.

img_0361.jpg

I also recommend checking on whether or not it’s possible to change visas after your arrival. In my situation, I arrived in Japan on a working holiday visa. After obtaining work and realising that I could easily be here for more than the 18 months that my visa allowed, I changed to a work visa sponsored by my place of employment that gave me 3 years. Changing visas is not uncommon, so it is useful to have this information handy.

For those interested in Japanese visas, I’ll do another post at a later date with more in depth information.

 2. Flights

This one may seem super obvious, but just to be sure. Keeping your visa in mind, book flights to your destination. Remember, you’re not going on holiday. You’re moving countries. You are going to have A LOT of luggage. While you may be tempted to pick the budget airline with cheap flights, you may end up spending just as much on extra luggage as you would have if you had just picked the more expensive airline.

IMG_0484

For my move, I found it cheaper and far more comfortable to fly from Brisbane, Australia to Osaka, Japan using Singapore Airlines. Singapore Airlines offered 30kg of check in luggage, food and entertainment. Jetstar (flying from the Gold Coast) had cheaper tickets, BUT they didn’t include any luggage, meals, or entertainment.

Sites like SkyScanner are a great tool for finding cheaper flights and comparing them with other options. It doesn’t always show your luggage allowances etc., so be sure to check with the individual airline to be sure.

 

3. Accommodation

Another one that may seem obvious, but one that can be difficult to organise. For some, organising a long term rental straight off the bat will be easy and the best option. For others, finding a short term option to begin with is the easier way to go. It’s hard to know what’s best, but there are some things you can think about to help you decide.

Do you already have work lined up, or will you be looking once you arrive? If you have work, you can easily find somewhere close by and convenient. If you are yet to find employment, a short term rental may be the way to go. Do you want to live in the main city? Or, do you prefer being out in the suburbs or in country areas? How close do you want to be to public transport? How much space do you want? Will you need a car park?

Another thing to keep in mind is that some places will not allow long term rentals unless you inspect the property in person. There are also some cases where real estate agents want to meet you first, OR worst case scenario, they simply won’t rent to foreigners (Japan, I’m looking at you).

44916467_44916460.jpg

Also keep an eye out for fees, bonds, key money etc that you may not have in your own country. In Japan, many places make you pay not only a bond, but also key money (gift money as a thanks for renting to you) and possibly even a monthly maintenance fee on top of your rent. Each country will have it’s own traditions, rules etc., so do your research beforehand.

For short term rentals, some real estate companies may have furnished options that are designed for people in your situation, so they are definitely worth checking out. Personally, I booked an AirBnB apartment for 1 month and kept my fingers crossed that it would all work out. Not the safest bet, but always an option that can work out a lot cheaper than a hotel, hostel or something similar and that can provide you with a more private and functional space.

 

4. Employment

If you are lucky enough to be moving overseas without a need to find employment, you can skip this section and I will be forever jealous. For most, however, finding employment can be the most stressful part of a big move. Work cultures can differ dramatically between countries, as well as the jobs on offer for someone in your situation. Maybe you don’t speak the local language at a high enough level, or maybe your qualifications aren’t recognised in your new home. It’s a whole new ball game for most people.

The best advice I can give is to start your search before you move. Even if you can’t land a job beforehand, you will have a much better idea of what jobs are on offer, where, the salaries on offer and what jobs you have a chance of being offered.

For many expats in a country with a language other than their own, language teaching is a good way to go. In Japan, and probably many other countries, some companies will allow you to interview over skype and will even help you find accommodation. If you’re lucky enough, some companies will even subsidise part of your rent. Be wary, however. Some companies are known for overworking their employees without overtime pay. Look at the reviews online for various companies but stay objective. Remember that some people may have just had a bad experience with one particular manager and their review may not reflect the entire company. I’ve heard good and bad reviews of the same company, so it’s really down to a bit of luck.

There are various websites designed for expats, so check these out (i.e. gaijinpot.com in Japan). They will generally offer a range of job and apartment advertisements, classifieds and some tips and tricks on living in your new country.

Other things to look out for when searching for employment are health insurance, labour insurance, tax rates etc. These will vary from country to country, so do your research and ask questions. Some companies may pay these automatically for you, others will not include it at all. Remember that although the salary may look enticing, don’t expect that total amount to reflect what will end up in your pocket at the end of the day.

 

5. The rest…

So with the biggest things out of the way, what else do you have to worry about?

A fair bit. Sorry…

Basically, get your affairs in order in your home country. Bank accounts, mail, licencing etc. Ensure that you can pay any remaining bills in your home country and ensure that your bank knows that you are heading overseas for two reasons. One, so that they can contact you if needed, and two, so that they don’t freak out if your account activity shows transactions occurring overseas. The last thing you need is for you money to be frozen because they have assumed that your card has been stolen.
Also make sure you have all of your passwords either in your mind or kept safely somewhere. Through personal experience, I learnt that resetting an Australian password (for my bank, government websites etc.) can be next to impossible! I have racked up huge phone bills having to call my banks in Australia to sort out something that I should have done in Australia but completely forgot about.

In regards to mail, it can be a great idea to have your mail forwarded, or have your address changed to a family members house if this is an option. That way, you will still receive any correspondence that banks, the government etc may send you.

Licencing. Will you need your drivers licence in your new home? Does your licence need renewing anytime soon? If you’re planning on driving after you move, check out getting an international licence and if it applies in the country you’re moving to. Sometimes, getting a licence in a foreign country can be a very expensive affair, so an international licence can be a great way to avoid this, at least for a while.

Money. You’ve save up all this money for the big move, but how can you access it all once you arrive? So many options. I personally went for a Travelex Cash Passport. Not the cheapest option, but it was very convenient not having yet set up a bank account in Japan. You can always take cash and exchange it but, not only is this very risky, if you have over a certain amount you may be stopped at customs, so be aware of the limits.

Medications. Sort out any perscriptions you have / need and check with the requirements and rules in your new country. Japan, for example, has a ban on codeine, a common ingredient in stronger pain killers in Australia. Don’t get stuck at customs because you didn’t check! Also make sure you have enough to last yourself a while so you allow yourself a bit of time to settle in, sort out health insurance if needed etc.. Also check costs in your new country. What may be cheap and easily accessible at home, may not be where you are moving. Once you know, you can arrange to stock up in advance.

Aside from getting your affairs in order in your home country, you also need to be looking at what you will need to set up in your new home. I will do a post on this at a later date, but it is important to start thinking about things like getting a bank account, how you can transfer money between countries, getting a phone number and internet connection etc.. Many of these things cannot be arranged until you arrive, so do your research. It can be very helpful to know what you’re looking for and what to expect before you arrive. This can help you budget more efficiently and you won’t get a rude shock.

Remember that many people before you have walked this path and have some great advice to offer. Also remember that by doing enough research, you may be able to find an even better deal. Don’t rely on just one source. When I arranged my phone and internet in Japan, the struggle was mainly them not allowing foreigners with visas under a certain period to sign up to their plans. Furthermore, staff may not even want to try and deal with you because of the language barrier. Even when I had an extended visa AND told them that my boyfriend was a Japanese citizen (all in Japanese), they wanted to talk to him and wanted very little to do with me. I even struggled to get a brochure off the lady! Don’t be deterred, you’ll get there eventually!

It really is a mission trying to organise it all, but try not to stress too much! If you forget something, that’s ok. For many of these things, it can be fixed with a little time and effort. I found it helpful to create a bit of a ‘To Do’ list on my phone. Every time I thought of another minor thing I needed to sort out, I’d add it to this list, no matter how small. With so much going on, it’s easy to forget the small things.

One more thing…

SPEND TIME WITH YOUR LOVED ONES!

At the end of my time in Australia, I was running out of time. Never underestimate your friends and families ability to leave it to the last minute. Particularly in your last week, you will be busy. Your loved ones will call and text saying, ‘Hey! Let’s catch up! We need to say goodbye!’. It can leave you feeling guilty when your time is running out for both socialising AND packing. Organise your time in advance and ensure your loved ones know that your last week will be a hectic and busy time. You will miss them when you leave, and they will be your support network when you’re feeling down in a new land. Make the most of your time with them and enjoy it. Soak it all up. It won’t be the same for a while. And, while everyone says they will come and visit soon, don’t rely on it. Just enjoy it while you can!

img_0257                  img_0463img_0386

So! That’s the basics. Remember that this is a very brief outline, so please don’t rely on this and this alone! If you have any other points, or if there is something I missed, please comment below and let me know! Share your own experiences, tips and tricks. We’re all here to learn.

Until next time,

 

Rinnie M.

My expat story…

Hi. Hello. Hey.

So I thought it might help to give you a little bit of an intro to my expat story.

I moved to Japan in August of 2016 from my home in Australia at the age of 24. I grew up near the city of Brisbane and graduated university with the feeling that I wanted to experience more. Having majored in International Business and Japanese, I always figured I would eventually make the move overseas.

After graduating university, finding work in my chosen field was next to impossible, unless I wanted to PAY to do an internship (yeh, right).  So, I found myself going full-time in the same job I worked at during my time at university. I worked in retail in a store that specialises in car parts and accessories. Having an interest in cars, I loved it, but after being in a male dominated field and fighting to get ahead within the company, I made the decision I had been contemplating for years prior. I moved to Japan.

So, I studied Japanese before moving to Japan. Great! Must have been easy then right? Nope. My level of Japanese is intermediate at best. University could in no way prepare me for slang, keigo (formal language), or Osaka-ben (Osaka local dialect).

Oh. But I moved here with my Japanese boyfriend! Problem solved! Right?
Nope. Although born in Japan, he was raised in Australia from the age of 3. His level of Japanese is about the same as mine. Between the two of us, we get by alright.

My boyfriend and I packed our bags and started our journey, each for our own reasons. We both moved with nothing but an airBnB booked for a month. No jobs. No interviews. No apartment. Just our suitcases, our savings, and our motivation.

We had both visited Japan previously on multiple occasions, so we had an idea of what to expect. If you want to move somewhere completely out of your comfort zone, with a culture very different from your own, I definitely recommend holidaying prior to get a feel of it all. Not always an option, but it can be helpful.

We checked into our airBnB and it was TINY! 2 people. 1 very small couch. 1 futon. 1 month. Trust me when I say, photos do not show the reality of how small this apartment is. Open 2 suitcases and boom! No floor. That couch? I don’t recommend sleeping on it. That kitchen? Forget cooking.

 

 

 

 

 

We managed and surprisingly, we didn’t kill each other.

Once we settled in, the job and apartment hunt was on. I’ll delve into that more in another post.

It’s been almost 10 months and it’s been an experience. It’s been exciting, hard, tiring, stressful, fun, educational, and it’s been lonely (moving with another person doesn’t always make it easier or less lonely). But, it’s worth it. At this point, I don’t have a plan to go home. I don’t feel like I have gotten enough out of the experience yet. My Japanese has a long way to go, I have a lot to learn and experiences yet to be had. It’s all a part of the fun.

Until next time,

Rinnie M.

img_0790img_0720img_0049

Want to see more photos? Check out my Instagram, @rinnie_m.

Hey. こんにちは。Kamusta.

Hello and Welcome!

Today marks the beginning of my online journey and the start of this blog. I’m super excited to share my experiences with you and to hopefully offer some useful advice or tips to help you on your own expat journey. 

BUT, I’m no expert. I’m also here to learn and to help build a space where expats can gather and share their own stories. I want YOU to be a part of this blog too. A blog is nothing without its readers and contributors. 

So! What I hope to do is share my personal experiences and to have you share your own experiences and opinions too. As I currently reside in Japan, a lot of content I post will be Japan specific. However, as an expat I feel that there are a lot of experiences and feelings that we all share, regardless of where in the world we may be, or where in the world we come from. 

I will be on the look out for people to write guest articles, so if you have something to share, don’t hesitate to contact me! My info can be found on the About Me page of this blog. No matter where you’re from or where you are, I want to hear your stories! 

If you want to know a bit more about me, or see what my expat journey looks like so far, feel free to head on over to my Instagram, @rinnie_m. 

Until next time! 

Rinnie.