Working abroad

You could spend some time working abroad – whether it’s short-term or part of your longer-term career plans.

Getting work experience while travelling – who wouldn’t?! While it presents lots of opportunities and advantages, there are additional factors to think about. 

When is the best time to work abroad? 

Are you hoping to work abroad temporarily, or is this part of your long-term career plan? There are hundreds of different options, from completing an internship or fixed-term position, to relocating to another country for a couple of years or even permanently.  

Some multinational companies may also provide the opportunity to work temporarily in other offices around the world. Spending some time considering and defining your priorities and preferences means you are more likely to be successful. 

Where should I work abroad? 

You need to have a clear idea of the countries which interest you. If you are unclear, it will be very difficult to do the necessary research required to be successful.   

Be aware of cultural differences and differing application methods. Explore requirements for specific countries to help you get a better idea. 

You should also look at visa/ work permit regulations and the practical implications of travel and relocation. 

What jobs can I do abroad? 

Equally important is to have some idea of the type of work you wish to do and in which employment sector.  

If you are seeking work at a graduate or professional level, you are much more likely to be successful if you are focusing on a few options and therefore able to sufficiently target your applications. 

Make sure to regularly explore MyCareer for a range of excellent vacancies and job opportunities. Search for (in the vacancy type) 'Global Careers' to identify range of excellent opportunities abroad.

How can I make an application stand out to global employers?

If you’re planning to work outside the UK after graduation, here are some tips about how your experience of studying in Leeds can be a great advantage for your future career:

1. Make your Leeds experience matter

Your qualification from the University of Leeds will certainly attract the attention of graduate employers. Besides a world recognised qualification, studying in Leeds has most definitely provided you with a range of skills that employers will truly appreciate.

It is very likely that after your studies you are now more self-confident, independent and you adjust to new environments easily. Think about what skills you have gained from your everyday life, studies, extra-curricular activities or work in Leeds and make sure to emphasise them when applying for jobs abroad. 

2. Emphasise your knowledge of other languages and cultures

More and more employers are seeking out ‘global graduates’, culturally aware and experienced employees who can work effectively in an increasingly global workplace.

There are several ways in which you can impress future employers. Make sure to mention any knowledge of other languagues you might have; involvement in activities that aim at bringing students from different cultural backgrounds together; any short or long Global Opportunities or Global Community initiatives you’ve taken up during your degree. 

Visit the Language Zone to find way to keep up your language skills or if you’d like to get some knowledge of another language. 

Make any knowledge of other languages and cultures stand out, employers will notice them.

3. Keep in touch with your academic tutors and employers 

References written by your university supervisors or previous employers will look very strong on your job applications. Make sure you ask them for recommendations about your work.

Keeping in touch with them can lead to new opportunities and partnerships so make the most of the contacts you already have. You can use LinkedIn to help you do this, particularly the alumni tool.

Things to consider when choosing to work abroad 

The clearer your objectives are, the more likely you are to be successful. Consider the following questions: 

  • How competitive is the job market in your chosen field?  

  • Do you have the necessary skills including the required language skills

  • Are your qualifications recognised in your target country? 

  • Do you need relevant work experience? 

  • Is a further qualification necessary or advantageous? 

  • Are your prepared to work at a lower level initially?  

  • If so, what are the chances of progressing? 

Useful resources for working abroad

  • TargetJobs: working abroad - Tips for working in different countries and answers to your working abroad queries. 

  • Prospects: working abroad - Information on what to consider, the various options and vacancy sources. 

  • University of Leeds Global Community - Get to know students from over 140 different countries and get an insight into different cultures by coming along to the Global Café. 

  • Global Graduates - Advice on taking advantage of global opportunities, including articles from students about their experiences. 

  • GoinGlobal - which has advice on working in different countries and a database of opportunities. You must use the GoinGlobal link in the 'Resources' tab of your MyCareer account to access via our subscription.  

  • Global Careers - we are regularly hosting workshops, webinars, presentations and info session focused on global careers and world of work abroad. Majority of the events are recorded so you can listen to them again. Explore our employer-led or alumni-led webinars, skills-based webinars and more - and see what you could learn. For any upcoming events, head to MyCareer and in events search for 'Global Careers'. 

  • GetHighered - Offering you access to thousands of opportunities, internships and jobs overseas. You can also attend many events, browse through country guides and even access a dedicated 'jobs in China' portal.

  • MyCareer - Make sure you regularly explore MyCareer for a range of excellent vacancies and job opportunities. Search for 'Global Careers' (in the vacancy type) to find a range of excellent opportunities abroad.