So, you’re thinking of leaving the US for somewhere different? Maybe you’re craving more sunshine. Maybe you want a better work-life balance. Maybe you’re looking for somewhere cheaper to raise a family. Whatever the reason, the great news is that there are loads of jobs abroad for Americans.
Want to know what you might be doing and where you might be going? Keep reading on and I’ll even share how to get a job overseas and find international jobs for Americans in a few simple steps!
Who Can Work Abroad?
Honestly, this is a question that I get asked a lot, and realistically, pretty much anyone with the right mindset can work abroad.
You might need to save up some money before you go or get a job lined up depending on visa requirements, but really, Americans move abroad all the time and sometimes just with a backpack and a rough idea of where they want to go.
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Obviously the more planning you can do the better. If you have qualifications or experience that can translate to jobs that are in demand in your target location, that’s a huge tick in the box. Similarly, if you can speak the language of your new country that always helps.
The main thing that might stand in your way is if you have a criminal record, but honestly, it depends on the country that you’re going to, the crime that you committed, and how long ago it was. It’s always best to check with the visa section on your target country’s website and they’ll be able to guide you from there.
The fact is working abroad as an American is super doable with the right planning and attitude. So, do you want to find out what kind of jobs you might be doing when you move abroad? Okay, let’s dive in.
What Can I Do as Work Abroad? Working Abroad as an American in 5 Different Industries
So, this obviously depends on where you’re planning on moving to. Some countries have more opportunities in certain industries than others and some countries might not have a super-stimulated job market which can be an issue.
In general, these jobs are super popular either due to having a western education, links to businesses, or knowledge of the US economy and culture, or due to tourism in your new home country.
That’s why these five industries are probably the most popular jobs abroad for American expats.
I‘ve lived abroad for many years and love helping others find work abroad and figure out their “Move Abroad Plan.” Check out my class below to get you started ASAP!
First up, a career in business can be very lucrative if you have the experience or the connections. Specific roles under the business umbrella include finance and accounting, consultant, management, and recruitment.
If you have an interest or experience in any of these fields then you have a great chance of continuing in this career in your chosen new location.
It’s also worth considering if your current organization has international offices or a remote working agreement that would allow you to have a seamless transition to living abroad.
Post-pandemic, many businesses are more flexible in their working arrangements so this might be a question worth asking before you hand in your notice altogether!
The reason that these roles are in demand all around the world is that a lot of countries and multinationals deal with the US market in one way or another, so having a team member with some kind of insight into the US way of working can be invaluable.
Think of yourself like the US trade and culture whisperer.
Similarly to if you have experience in business, any work experience in marketing would come in very handy when applying for jobs abroad.
As marketing is a pretty global industry anyway, if you know your SEO from your PPC and your CRM from your CMS, you can pretty much slot into any team.
Of course, advertising regulations and channels of choice might change slightly from country to country, but the bones are the same.
Again, you have the added bonus of bringing experience from the US market which often offers bigger budgets as well as being a market that many international businesses will be wanting to expand into. You can definitely leverage this specialist knowledge into a better remuneration package or job title.
Much like the business roles that I’ve mentioned, you might be able to keep your existing job and move to another office or work remotely. It’s always worth checking before starting the dreaded search for another job!
Got a passion for research or a specialism in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics otherwise known as STEM? Well, then there might be a new position or grant with your name on it in a new country.
Depending on your chosen field, you might already know of different labs or companies elsewhere in the world that you’d be a great fit for – you might have even met your potential new co-workers on the conference or journal circuit before now.
The STEM community is quite a tight-knit one once you find your specialty!
With the disparity in funding in different countries, your target country might not have the funds or facilities to develop and train new scientists, engineers, or mathematicians, so hiring from abroad is the main way to keep their talent pool at the cutting edge.
If you’re currently working for an organization, school, or lab, see if they have any partnership or sabbatical programs that you can take advantage of or if they know of any places that they would be willing to recommend. It’s always good to have an in, especially in academic fields.
Okay, so education is a classic work abroad job. Teaching English in a different country has been a way that expats have been moving abroad for years and years.
Whether your specialty lies in language teaching or another area of the education system, teaching is important no matter what country you’re in and there are always vacancies if you have the experience or a college degree.
Some schemes and countries will allow native speakers of English, like most Americans, to teach without formal training and give them the opportunity to gain their TEFL qualifications at the same time.
This is what a lot of younger travelers or those looking to switch up their career choices do when they move abroad.
The good thing about teaching abroad is that it’s one of those industries that give you a lot of support when you first move out there.
Most schools will run orientations for new teachers, help with accommodation and visa applications, and even sometimes offer language lessons. If you’re looking for a fairly stress-free move abroad, teaching is a good industry to be in.
Check out this list of other jobs available for English speakers abroad!
Another classic industry that lends itself well to moving abroad is the hospitality industry. Even if you’re moving to a small town in the middle of nowhere, chances are that there might be one bar or restaurant where you can try and get a job – especially if you have previous experience.
If you’re moving to a bigger city or a touristy area, then hospitality is a great choice with ample job opportunities.
From cafes to hostels to resorts to customer service there are plenty of roles to choose from with varying levels of experience needed. If you don’t have any work experience, hospitality tends to be where a lot of people get their start.
Obviously, if you’re moving to a place where English is not the first language and you’re looking for a customer-facing hospitality role, you’re going to want to learn more of the native language. After all, even in touristy spots, you still have to be able to converse and serve the locals!
As with most job markets, the bigger the place, the more likelihood of you finding a role.
Hospitality is one of those industries that has near continual turnover, so whether you’re a chef, a maid, a barista, a maitre d’, or anyone else, there’s bound to be a relevant role coming up in your dream area sometime soon.
Where Can I Find Jobs in Other Countries for Americans?
Okay, so now you know what kind of jobs that you might be looking into when you take the leap and move abroad – but where will you potentially be moving to? Let’s have a look at some favorite locations for expat Americans to set up their new lives and find international jobs.
1. New Zealand
Now, everyone knows that New Zealand is a great holiday destination with loads of nature, great cities, and a pretty laid-back vibe. It’s no wonder that so many American choose to make it their new home.
Already, so many tech moguls have moved there to enjoy a more sustainable lifestyle and gain the work-life balance that the country is so famous for.
If you’re working in business, marketing, research, or hospitality then you’re going to be able to find a job fairly easily there. It’s worth noting that New Zealand has a pretty high cost of living and that getting work outside of the main cities or tourist areas can be tricky, so factor that into your plans.
There’s also the major benefit that English is the main language in New Zealand, taking away that language barrier immediately. It’s also got quite a lot of parallels in terms of culture with the US, Canada, Australia, and the UK, so you might not get as much of a culture shock as you would with many other countries.
2. The Czech Republic
If you’re wanting to move to Europe, Czechia, or the Czech Republic as it’s also known, is an ideal spot in central Europe that gives you easy transport links around the continent.
You’re probably most familiar with its beautiful and historic capital, Prague, which has been a popular interrailing and city break destination for years now.
One of the best things about Czechia is that it has a pretty low cost of living for central Europe but high job security. Especially if you’re planning to work in research, education, or business and marketing, there are plenty of roles available for English speakers.
It’s rare that English teaching jobs come up in central Europe, as it’s pretty much a bilingual if not trilingual education system over there, however the Czech Republic in general and Prague specifically often have vacancies and programs designed to immerse you in the European teaching style.
For more jobs in Europe specifically for Americans, read this post.
3. Costa Rica
Sun, sea, tropical rainforests, and some of the world’s foremost biodiversity? I mean who wouldn’t want to live in Costa Rica?
It’s one of the main countries that Americans move to for all of those reasons and more. There is a relaxed work-life balance that is massively appealing as well as a huge tourism market that underpins the economy of the country.
With such a huge tourism industry, obviously, hospitality roles are always available from small towns to boutique hotels to massive internationally recognized resorts.
Also with the influx of Western and North American tourists, English teachers are also in high demand, with more local businesses trying to become bilingual to deal with visitors who don’t always have the best Spanish speaking skills.
If you’re in the research industry, Costa Rica is also one of the best places to be. The importance that the country places on biodiversity, environmental issues as well as the impact of tourism on the climate, means that there is a lot of funding and grants available for these fields.
Costa Rica is also home to some types of wildlife and plant life that can’t be found anywhere else on the planet, so if you’re working in a biological field, this place is going to be a paradise for you.
Looking to move to Asia but not sure which country is for you? Why not check out Taiwan – it has one of the highest levels of job satisfaction in the world.
As its business industry is growing rapidly as well as the tech sector, it’s the perfect time to get in and make some money while the economy is still growing and booming.
If you’re looking to teach English, Taiwan offers some of the best wages in the world for native English-speaking teachers. Not only that but they’ll help you with visas, accommodations, and even flights.
Teachers are massively respected in many Asian countries, so schools and businesses tend to go above and beyond to make new teachers feel at home.
Away from the skyscrapers and city center of Taipei, Taiwan also offers beautiful beach escapes including Isle Formosa, so hospitality is also a big industry here.
It also helps if you have experience in dealing with US business clientele as the business travel industry is starting to pick up again post-pandemic.
Knowledge of US culture is a huge benefit if you want to work in an international hotel or as a customer service agent, as more American tourists are discovering Taiwan as a destination.
How to Get a Job Overseas as an American in 5 Steps
So, now you’ve been inspired by potential jobs and locations, how do you actually get a job overseas? Well, follow these simple steps and you’ll be living your dream US expat life and working abroad as an American in no time.
1. Pick Your Destination
Honestly, it’s all about location, location, location. Have a look at where you actually want to live, see if you can hit their visa requirements, and use that as a jumping-off point.
If a country needs something really specific to allow Americans to move there, you need to make sure you can hit that target before getting your heart set on a certain location.
On the other hand, you don’t want to pick a location solely on job availability. It obviously helps, but you don’t want to be living somewhere terrible because it has a low cost of living and plenty of hospitality work.
Here are a few countries that you can start looking into:
2. Get Your Resume Up to Standard
Once you know where you’re going and what you need to achieve to get a visa in your chosen country, you can start to tailor your resume accordingly.
Different cultures place importance on different traits, so the attitude and wording that worked to get a job in America might not be appropriate for getting a job in, say, Taiwan.
Also, if you haven’t applied for a job for a while, it might be worth getting a second pair of eyes on your resume to make sure you’re ticking all the boxes before you start applying.
3. Get On Those Job Boards
For many industries now, jobs are widely advertised online. Even though each country might have its preferred job site, there are some international standards like LinkedIn Jobs.
Check expat forums for your chosen country to see what the best job boards are for that specific location. You’ll also be able to get tips about where are the best places and where not to apply!
Also if you’re working in a specific industry or field, there may be a different job board that’s just industry-based.
For example, there are plenty of TEFL and TESOL job boards where you can filter by country.
Similarly, there are marketing and creative job boards, as well as hospitality ones. Find the job boards that are suitable for your needs and create profiles on all of them.
Once you’ve found a vacancy that you think you’d be great for just apply!
Chances are you’ll have to apply for a load of jobs before you find the perfect fit and get a job offer, so don’t just fire three applications off and assume you’ll get something out of it.
Finding a job is a numbers game as much as anything else, so give yourself the best chance of employment and up those application numbers!
5. Book your flights and pack your bags!
So, you’ve got a job offer and visa sponsorship if necessary – congrats! All that’s left to do is book your flights, pack your bags and get ready to start your new life in paradise. You’re going to love it!
Want Help with Your Move Abroad?
Three times a year I run LIVE workshops to help people transition their life abroad. You’ll go through my 5-week ‘Move Abroad’ Master Class independently and then we’ll meet at the end of the week to go over content, themes, and any specific questions you might have!
You can complete this class at any time throughout the year and then jump into the live classes whenever you’re ready.
Hear From Past Students!
Final Tips for Finding Jobs Abroad as an American
With all this information you should be good to go with your international job hunt, but here are some final things to consider before you make your big move!
1. Visas Are a Hassle, But Necessary
Look, I know that paperwork isn’t fun or sexy, but sometimes, if we want to live out our work abroad dreams, it needs to be done. Of course, different places have different visa rules and even inside the same country, there might be a dozen working visas to choose from.
It can be a lot, but if you head to the government website, they should be able to point you towards the right visa for you.
A lot of the time, unless you have familial ties to the country, you’ll need work-based sponsorship to move abroad. So, that’s why it’s a good idea to check your visa rules before you start looking for a job.
Not every company will want to offer sponsorship or even know that they’d have to, so it’s definitely something to bring up in an interview scenario.
Another thing to think about is that if you are on a work sponsorship-based visa if you decide to leave that role for another business, you need to make sure that your new job will take over your sponsorship otherwise your visa might be canceled.
Finally, check if there’s a minimum income amount that you need to hit each month to remain in the country.
Many visas are contingent on this because the country wants to make sure that you can support yourself and have enough left over to contribute to the local economy. This figure has to be your absolute minimum for wages after taxes and any other deductions.
2. Know How Long You Want to Be Abroad
You’ve also got to consider if this is a permanent move, a try it and see kinda move, or a sabbatical with a set time on it. This will inform not only your visa options but the accommodation you’re going to want to need and how much you’re willing to invest in moving your stuff to a whole new country.
3. Are You Bringing Family?
Another big question is are you traveling alone, with a partner, or with an entire family? If it’s more than just you, you’ll have to look at if there’s a higher income requirement for multiple people on your visa, different school systems, and multiple jobs for you and your other half.
It’s not necessarily an issue, just more things to think about! Moving abroad is a big deal and it’s probably going to be one of the best things you ever do – you’ve just got to be prepared!