How to apply for a job abroad

Thinking about working abroad? It could be a big life change and involve leaving your friends and moving your family. Whatever your reasons for wanting to work abroad, there are some things you can do to make it easier.


As well as researching the company you are thinking of working for, research the country you are moving to. Each country, especially as you move from continent to continent, will have different cultural nuances when it comes to work ethic. The working week may be Sunday to Thursday or be eighty hours or more.

Some of these changes may affect you outside of work too. The cost of living, medical costs, public transport, store opening hours and social conventions.

You’ll need to look at any documents you’ll need to have before you leave, maybe even before you apply. Applying for Passports, Visas, Work Permits etc can take a long time and it’s best to get them as early as possible.

Also check to see if you need any immunisations for your destination country.


They always say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. But what if you don’t know anyone? Check with ex-colleagues, school friends, friends of friends to see if anyone has any experience, advice or connections.

Luckily, we have the Internet. It’s FULL of expat forums, sites based in your destinations location and larger well known sites like LinkedIn and Facebook.

A Recruitment Agency is like having a built in network for jobs abroad. They will have a relationship with the employer and may be placing lots of employees in their company. They will also help with the language barrier as they will have an open line of communication already.


If you have done your research and networked the best you can, you will know how to write an application for your target country. You’ll probably see that what employers are looking for is the same around the world but the way it’s laid out may differ from country to country.

The Internet can be your friend here too.


The interview process will differ around the world. Usually the first interview will be over the phone no matter what the country. You will need to research what employers in your target country are looking for in an initial interview to help you move forward.

Again, the Internet is your friend.

How to write a follow up letter for a job application

So you applied for a job and you haven’t heard anything yet.

The first thing to do is not to panic. Obviously, it may be bad news but there is a possibility that they haven’t hired anyone yet.

Firstly, were you given a ‘hear by’ date? This is the date you were told you would hear by and quite often you will receive a response before this but you may also have been told you won’t hear anything if you’re unsuccessful. If you don’t get one during an interview you should politely ask for one to help the rest of the application process.

Being in an ‘application limbo’ is quite frustrating, especially if you’re waiting to hear on your first choice job and your second choice job is could contact any day now.

What can you do?

Well, you can send a follow up letter.

What can this do? Well, it can show you are enthusiastic and proactive. But, you could also come across as impatient or attention grabbing… It all depends on your approach.

Firstly, if you haven’t been given a solid ‘hear by’ date, give it a few days. Most people would suggest 3-5 days here but others would suggest 5 business days over even over a week.

This is where your patience will come in. They likely have 10’s or 100’s of applications with the decision process in the hands of someone who isn’t a dedicated HR representative. If they’re fitting this process in around their usual day to day tasks it can be quite hard on them.

There are two types of ‘follow up’ letter…

The Reminder

This will express an appreciation for the interview and for taking time to show interest in you. It will contain the following…

  • Show appreciation for the interview
  • Show again how much you would like the position
  • Reiterate your relevant experience and qualifications
  • Anything relevant you didn’t include in the interview

Again, you don’t want to appear pushy or impatient and while you really want an answer, you don’t know what is happening behind the scenes. Also, if they have 300 applications and a third of those follow up asking for information it would be quite hard to reply to all of them.

To help out, make sure the title includes as much information as possible. A job reference is great here or the exact title of the position will work just fine.

Address the email or letter to the correct person. If you have a name use it or check the company website or LinkedIn profile page to try and find one.

The Thank You

A thank you note can be sent, via post, almost straight away. It will take a day or two to get there and you’re not demanding any information so you don’t have to leave a gap between interview and the note.

The Thank You should thank them for the opportunity for the interview, further enforce your interest in the job and end by saying you hope to see them again.

The great thing about this method is that it enforces your interest in the position, highlights your name but doesn’t ask much of the person receiving the thank you.

Whichever method you choose you should always sign off with a positive statement saying you are looking forward to hearing from them. Try to keep it short and simple while still including all the relevant information required.

Remember, once you have had an interview or have submitted an application, they are in charge. It’s all about patience. There is no need to be overly aggressive. You should be asking a question not demanding an answer.

But how do you send this information over? Do you type a letter, hand write one or send an email?

A typed letter is the most formal but is still appropriate. Type will always be clearly legible and an easy read for the receiver. Handwritten are more personal and still appropriate but be honest with yourself. Is your handwriting clearly legible and does it send the correct message? If so, handwritten letters can be an effective way to stand out. E-mail is also appropriate, especially if you have the direct email to the person you wish to thank.

When you have spent the time to find a job on-line, you just need to be patient, be polite and be understanding and your future employer will surely get back to you.

How to avoid online job search scams

While searching for a job on-line is great, there are always people looking to take advantage of you on the Internet. There are 2 main types of scam running on-line at the moment…

1 – Fake Employer Websites

This is creating a site to look like the official site to gather information from the user. This could include taking Bank Details and National Insurance details for “Security Checks”.

While it could be hard to spot the site is fake, you shouldn’t be asked for bank details until you’re ready to start work and get paid.

Go to the official site and see if you can navigate to the job pages that way. Also, you could find their phone number and call to make sure it is genuine.

2 – E-Mail

Usually it is claimed they found your CV on a job site and they have the perfect job for you. Again, they will probably ask for security check information and may even ask for a copy of your Birth Certificate or Passport.

You can check the email address used. The email address should be with the “” part of the email being the official URL to the site. Even in this case a sender can ‘spoof’ an email address by making it seem like the email address is genuine.

Again, finding the phone number on the official site and calling them to see if it’s genuine is one easy way of checking.

The rule is, if you are unsure, always check first.

How to get job with a Criminal Record

There is only really two questions here…

  • How can I get employers to look past my criminal record?
  • How can I promote myself in a positive way?

Well, nothing really changes here too much. You still need to highlight your qualifications, experience and skills you will bring to the role. But let’s look at each of these in detail…

How can I get employers to look past my Criminal Record?

You will need to show that you are a reliable employee that an employer can trust.

You can do this by completing voluntary work. This will show you have good time keeping, can follow instructions, can work alone or with a team etc All those things employers look for. You could also take a lower paid job, anything to build that trust.

Completing a training course can not only get you a reference from your tutor, but also add valuable job skills to your CV. It will also show you’re keeping up to date with your skills if you’re looking to get back into your previous role.

Both of these will allow you to get a positive, recent reference from an employer or tutor. They will also allow a job interview to move forward past your history and in to the present.

When applying for jobs, be selective. Apply for fewer jobs, spending the extra time to get the application form right. Check the specification for the role and make sure you’re a good fit first.

Also, check the job to make sure your past won’t disqualify you from the job. But on the other hand, do your research and don’t assume anything.

How can I promote myself in a positive way?

Showing an employer you are moving in a positive direction (using the tips from the previous question will help) is the best way to achieve this.

If your criminal record is old, or you can show you have moved on with responsibilities like a house or family this can help.

If you’re asked about your crime you can add a positive light on your answers. If it’s not relevant to the job, you pleaded guilty, it sounds worse than it is or there were extreme circumstances this can help add a positive spin. Of course, don’t try to make excuses but accept responsibility and show you’re trying to move on.

A tricky part is getting the balance between saying/writing enough and saying/writing too much. You don’t want to hide your past but at the same time you need to show that today is a new chapter in your life.

Hopefully these tips will help you move forward in the job market.

How to find work while suffering from a Medical condition

If you’re suffering from a medical condition day to day life may be difficult enough. But, you still need to carry on with life where possible and of course, everyone needs an income.

If you are able to do this of course depends on your illness but there you can still find full time employment.

Of course, it’s not always as Black and White as we will describe here but hopefully these tips will help.

Understand Yourself

Whatever your condition you will probably know your limitations. It would also be worth visiting a healthcare professional for any extra advice.

With this information, you will be able to show your potential employer that you fully understand yourself and your condition and any limitations you may have.

Know your Job

Research your job role to see if the typical tasks of that role are within your limitations. Each job role will have certain physical and mental demands and knowing this, along with knowing yourself as we mentioned earlier, will make sure you’re suitable for the job.

Fill your CV

Part Time and Volunteer work is a great way to fill gaps in your CV if possible. A ‘work from home’ job is a good way to work during recovery or rehabilitation or even period of illness. Gaps of months in your CV can be filled this way.

Concentrate on the Positives

Focus on what you can do and not what you are unable to do. There are 1000’s of jobs available and while you may not be able to do you dream job, you should be able to find something you enjoy doing.

Check the Company Policy

Find out your prospective companies policy if possible. Also, find out if they have any previous ‘issues’ with staff members and health problems.

Know your Rights

You may not have to disclose any information about yourself. On the other hand you may need to disclose some information. Find out where you stand (this varies country to country) to avoid any complications in the future.

How to use Social Media to get a job

Social Networks are more valuable a resource that sharing pictures of your food or pictures of cats. Social Media sites can be a great resource for finding that ‘in’ to jobs. You can get your name out there and showing potential employers you’re interested in them so when an opening occurs, you could already be top of their list.

So what can you do?

Create Profiles

Find networks to create profiles on, obvious really. Include your interests and job history up 15 or so years. Each profile should show what your strengths are and what you have to offer future employers.

Keep your Personal and Professional Separate

Your potential employer will see everything you put so it may be a good idea to have a Professional profile separate from your Professional one. If you have a ‘clean’ professional profile you can hide anything that an employer may see as disruptive or potentially offensive. You don’t want to lose out on a job because of a picture a friend posted on your timeline right?

If you don’t want to separate them, just set yourself rules and keep in mind that your next employer might see what you put.

Look Interested

Follow companies you are interested in working for but also other companies in the field. This way, you show your interest beyond your ‘foot in the door’. Following companies and joining in conversation will help you get your name out there and demonstrate your knowledge.

Be Known

If you engage with people, answering questions, introducing people and sharing relevant content you show your helpful side. If you take take take from Social Media you’ll most likely be another name on the page.

Try and give 3-4 times for every time you take, people will respect you more and you’re more likely to get noticed.

Make Contact

Contact people you know from your past and present, connect with them and ask for a recommendation. Be friendly and take part in discussions to show your knowledge to the people of your future.

What Social Networks can you use?


Fill with your employment and education history… check your spelling! Connect with companies and people who work for them and read the ‘Member Stories’ to see how other people found success.

The best part of LinkedIn is being able to get Endorsements and Recommendations from your colleagues. These could be the difference between getting an interview or not. Also, LinkedIn is a great place to add articles you have written to prove your knowledge of the Industry.


Twitter allows you to search for professional topics and people as well as relevant hashtags. You can also use applications to alert you when something is on Twitter you should see.

Twitter is a great way for you to directly connect with companies and their employees and if you’re engaging and interesting you could get them to follow you… now you have their attention.


‘Like’ pages to get updates and stay up-to-date with your companies of interests activities. Make sure your work and education info is complete and the settings of your profile let others view it.

So using this information, you can connect with companies and get your name out there so when they list a job on a job site you’ll be a step ahead of the competition.

How to set up a Mock Interview

It’s easy to think you know exactly what you look like and how you sound when speaking to other people. But only you know your intentions and sometimes you are thinking one thing but give out another.

This is important in job interviews where you only have a limited time to make the right impression.

Once you’ve done the hard work and been offered the interview it doesn’t just stop there. You still need to sell yourself and this may require a bit of practice.

It could be very useful to have objective feedback on how you come across to someone across a desk in a formal setting… Maybe you need honest feedback from someone you trust?

These are the things you’ll need to know…

Do you give the right impression?
Do you give nervous responses?
Do you give non-committal answers?
Do you have too much confidence?
Do you ever ask for feedback?

This is where a mock interview can help. Having a ‘practice’ interview this way can help you make mistakes and learn lessons before the real thing. You can do this with another person or just find a list of interview questions online and record yourself answering them.

Setting up a mock interview is easy.


Somewhere you feel relaxed but professional. Stay on a chair and off the bed if you can help it. If you’re feeling self conscious, try to find a place where you won’t be disturbed.


I said stay off the bed for a reason. Try to pick a chair with a high back which will likely match the one in your real interview. This helps you judge your posture while being interviewed.


Have a list of Interview Questions ready to go, pick a few and you’re good to go. It may be a good idea to write them on flash cards and shuffle them up to give yourself a bit of a surprise if you’re interviewing yourself.

Also, if you’re recording yourself you might want to read out the question before answering, or incorporate the question into your answer. This just helps you remember which question you are answering.


It might be a good idea to wear those interview clothes when practicing, especially if you’re not used to them. it also helps the interview be as close to the real thing as possible.

Second Opinion

If someone is interviewing you then you can get feedback from them. But if you’ve recorded it you can always get someone to give it a watch to see what they think. They might see things you don’t and provide valuable feedback.

If you can, get them to write this feedback down so you read it and take it in. It’s easy to dismiss verbal feedback.

Second Look

With this new feedback in mind, re-watch your interview and see if this enlightens you. Also compare notes with your interview partner and look for overlaps. Watch it over again a couple of days later with fresh eyes to see if you spot anything new.

Second Time

Now you have this new information, have another go and you should see great improvements.

So there you go, that’s how a couple of mock interviews can go a long way to improving that one chance you have of impressing your next employer.