Competing in an International Job Market

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Making your application more attractive to global employers

Making yourself attractive to overseas employers and competing with applicants from all over the world can be challenging. This article explores two ways of enhancing your chances of successfully applying for jobs overseas. 

Understand the region as though you are a ‘local’

It is vital to become completely familiar with the working environment of the country to which you are applying. You will be competing with ‘locals’ (i.e. natives of the country who are steeped in its education culture) and they will have a detailed knowledge of the key issues affecting universities there.

They will also know details about that university that you are expected to know; what type of university is it? How is it funded? What is its ranking in its own country and worldwide?

You may also have to illustrate that you have the language skills to undertake the role, so find out which languages are used at that institution. Teaching may be done in a different language than the day to day operation of the university.

Researching online is now much easier, so you must become fully aware of the academic culture in your target country. But also make sure you are familiar with life in that country more broadly. Look at some of the Country Profiles on the website to educate yourself about life in a new country.

Make a selling point out of your global identity

However, take advantage of the fact that you are an applicant coming from overseas by stressing what is unique that you can bring to the job. Many universities are keen to hire scholars from overseas because doing so boosts their reputation internationally.

On a practical level as a global jobseeker your expertise can help you to address the internationalisation agenda which is important in many universities across the world. You are in a unique position to be able to encourage liaisons between universities, departments and individual scholars from different countries.

You are also able to speak directly to the agenda of encouraging overseas students to attend this institution. Your connections in your country of origin (or the country where you undertook your postgraduate work) will be useful to the university to which you are applying.

Think about the unique selling point that you can bring to the job. What it is about your educational background and international perspective that will enhance the offerings of this university?

So, in summary, you are trying to do two things. As well as emphasising that your skills and experience are equal to any ‘local’ applicants, you are also using your difference as a selling point, explaining that you would bring something new as an employee. Highlight this explicitly in your covering letter or personal statement and re-emphasise it in your interview.

Please be aware that nationally defined employment law regulates the employment of overseas workers. It is your responsibility to investigate the legal requirements when working overseas. The Human Resources department of your target employer will assist you with this. 

Careers in China

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