Jobs abroad: tips for expats

Those looking for a job abroad usually favor a specific country. But there can also be advantages to approaching the search with an open mind. In this case, for example, the choice of your future home country can be based on where the chances are best to score with your qualifications and professional experience in the respective labor market and to find the job you have always dreamed about. First, however, some questions need to be addressed: Who is being looked for first and foremost? And regionally where exactly? Answers to these questions can be found on the Internet in several places – in particular, what qualifications are currently being sought and what conditions apply to immigrants. We show you where you can get information and what to look out for when you are targeting jobs abroad…

Jobs abroad: tips for expatriates

Jobs abroad: Who is wanted where?

In order to assess which market currently offers you the greatest opportunities, emigrants-to-be should inform themselves early on. A good starting point here is the Zentrale fur Auslands- und Fachvermittlung (ZAV) of the Bundesagentur fur Arbeit (Federal Employment Agency). It already helps quite extensively to identify trends in international labor markets.

Furthermore, the ZAV offers a lot of information for different emigrants, for example academics, professionals, artists or if you are looking for a job in development cooperation.

Jobs abroad: What are the job opportunities??

However, it is often the immigration countries themselves that reveal who they are looking for. In particular, classic and especially popular immigration countries such as Australia, Canada and the USA have set up a few contact points on the Internet that break down currently sought-after qualifications. We have summarized the important information and sources of information for the three popular countries for you.


In Australia, for example, the Department of Immigration and Border Protection regularly publishes the so-called Skilled Occupation List (SOL) with occupations that are currently in demand in Australia. Those who have learned one of these professions have particularly good chances of living and working in Australia in the future.


In Canada there is a regular application procedure – called Express Entry. Well-educated employees are being sought who want to settle in Canada to pursue their activities there. Whether you meet the requirements and have a chance, you can test on the page.

In the USA, the first rule is that you need a concrete job offer before you have a chance to get a visa. In addition, the American company must apply for a work permit. Only when this is approved, you can get a work visa. Here it is therefore essential to first find a suitable job before you worry about other things.

Jobs abroad: Consider regional differences

When researching for a job abroad, hope is often high. Engineers, mechanical engineers, medical personnel and IT specialists are currently in demand. This sounds promising and gives the impression that with the right qualifications you will have no problem finding a suitable job. But these are only trends for the country as a whole. Ultimately, each job market consists of many smaller job markets, which can vary significantly from region to region and city to city.

The German job market also refers to all areas, but depending on whether you want to apply for a job in the Ruhr area or near Munich, sometimes completely different conditions, opportunities and challenges apply to applicants.

You should therefore go into more detail sooner rather than later and see if, for example, the demand for your qualification in the country is concentrated in certain regions and focus your job search on this area.

While finding a country where your professional training is needed is the first important step in pursuing a career abroad, there are many more to follow. Above all, you should be aware that the rules of conduct and formalities on the job market as well as the general rules of coexistence in other countries with different cultures may differ from those in Germany.

In conclusion, we would like to show you what you need to be aware of when you are looking for a job abroad, based on two popular countries.

Jobs abroad: Working in the USA

The USA – for many it is the land of opportunity, where you can go from rags to riches. The American way of life exerts an unbroken attraction on people from all over the world. But working there is not that easy, especially if you organize a job yourself and are not sent by your company. For this a German employee has to overcome two hurdles. He must find a job and needs a work permit.

As mentioned above, you need to have a concrete job offer to get a work permit in the U.S. But proof of one alone is not enough. Your prospective employer will need to petition for a work permit. In it he must prove that there is no comparably qualified American for this position. Another way to get a work permit is to get a green card, but these are only issued in a strictly regulated manner.

The required approval process for employers is costly and burdensome, for this reason he must really care about hiring you. That's why highly qualified professionals are in particular demand. Specialists in their field who bring knowledge and skills that locals lack.

Job search in the USA

Job search must be started while still in Germany, as it is not allowed to enter and look for a job on a tourist visa. Accordingly, most job seekers resort to job boards on the Internet.

Here are two recommended American job boards:

    At this job board you can not only search for a suitable position, but also create a profile. In this profile you can upload your resume and apply directly with it. With the profile you can also save where you have already applied and thus keep track of everything.
  • careeronestop: This job board allows you to search by job title as well as in specific regions. Already on the home page you will find a list of US states. Once you have chosen one, you will be redirected to the state's job program. This is practical if you already have a concrete idea in which region you would like to work – for example, if your qualifications are in demand there. The site also offers information about the salary for various jobs. This will give you a first orientation for salary negotiations.

Application in the USA

The application documents for a job in the USA are not as comprehensive as in Germany. Certificates are not usually enclosed. It consists of cover letter, "resume" and references. The cover letter, which corresponds to the German cover letter, should not be longer than one DIN-A4 page. Briefly and succinctly present the motivations behind your application. The resume is your curriculum vitae showing how much work experience you have and what qualifications you bring to the table.

Here are the most important differences to a German application

  • No application photos. In the USA it is rather unusual to attach a photo to the resume. This is done to guarantee equal opportunities.
  • No information about age or marital status. This is also waived to prevent possible discrimination.
  • The curriculum vitae is antichronological. Academic and professional stations are listed in reverse order. This puts your last job at the top.
  • References must be provided. In the "Resume" you should mention at least two references. References play an important role in the application and are always required in the U.S. Your references should be strong advocates for you, which can meaningfully prove your suitability. You should provide full details of the reference so that he or she can be contacted. You can find out who is eligible as a reference here.

Jobs abroad: Which visa do I need in the USA??

Getting an overview and finding the right visa for you is not easy. Because there are a lot of different visas in the USA. Here is a brief summary:

  • Exchange students, au pairs, interns: J visa
  • Students: F-Visa
  • Employees who are posted by the company: L visa
  • Workers who are not sent by their own company: H visa
  • Trainees (non-medical, non-academic): H-3 visa
  • Artists: O-Visa
  • Athletes: P-Visa
  • Journalists: I-Visa

Jobs abroad: working in Canada

Canada is not only large, but also diverse. Vibrant metropolises in the west, lonely countryside in the north and a European-influenced, French-speaking part in the east. Canada has a unique charm that attracts millions of visitors each year. Some come only as tourists, others want to emigrate and look for a job there. But is it that easy? After all, that's exactly what you can't do in the USA, for example.

In Canada, you have it a little easier as a German citizen: The entry is quite unproblematic. You do not need a visa, just a valid passport. As a tourist you are allowed to stay up to six months in the country. You are not allowed to work during this time. But unlike in the U.S., you're allowed to go job hunting.

Job search in Canada

Being on the ground gives you many advantages in your job search. Similar to Germany, you can also look for job advertisements in newspapers and apply directly. Less common in Germany, on the other hand, is the possibility of introducing oneself directly to an employer of one's choice. This method can be especially successful in retail or the restaurant industry. Grab your resume and ask directly and openly if they are currently looking for an employee. You can also check with employment agencies to see which companies are currently looking for staff.

Of course, you can also search job portals on the Internet:

  • Job Bank: The online job exchange "Job Bank" of the Canadian government offers the possibility to search specifically for categories, for example for Youth & Students or for Newcomers. It also provides information about job trends in the individual Canadian provinces.
  • Canadajobs: At the job board "" you can search by industry and by region. It is also possible to mix both categories.

Job application in Canada

In this point the USA and Canada are very similar. Also in Canada the application documents consist of a cover letter, the resume as well as references. The differences to the German application are also similar to those of an application in the USA: No application photo, no indication of age and marital status and an antichronological structure of the curriculum vitae.

Canada attaches great importance to its bilingualism. Since 1970 both English and French are official languages in Canada. Many Canadian companies are looking for workers who speak both languages. Fluency in French and English will give you a decisive advantage in your job search. So write your documents in both languages.