Archive for November, 2009

5 Ways To Earn Money Abroad Without A Job

Posted on 30. Nov, 2009 by in Blog, Expat Life, Working Abroad

If you haven’t found work in your host country, or if your current job is not as fulfilling as you’d like it to, have you thought about starting your own business?

From earning your own spending money as an accompanying spouse to creating a full-fledged income stream, here are a few money-making ideas that you can implement pretty much anywhere in the world.

Money abroad

Disclaimer: These suggestions do not consititute legal, financial or fiscal advice. It is your responsibility to make sure that you abide by your host country’s laws and that you properly declare your income for tax purposes. So keep it above board, and beware of get-rich-quick schemes, OK?

5 ways to earn an income abroad (more…)

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What If You Can’t Work In Your Host Country?

Posted on 27. Nov, 2009 by in Blog, Expat Life, Working Abroad

Have you been reading this month’s posts wistfully, wishing that it was at all possible for you to work in your host country?

You may be “unemployable” for a score of reasons. Your spousal visa doesn’t allow you to work. Recruiters won’t consider you because of your age, gender or skin colour. You have disabilities or other special needs that local employers cannot or won’t accommodate.

Oh sure, there are definite perks to not working: you have plenty of free time to explore your new city and socialise with other expats. Job-related stress, burnout and office politics are but a distant memory. You spend a lot more time with your children, you go to the gym regularly and you’re – finally – getting around to finishing the must-read best seller of 2005 (better late than never!)

That’s great, and you should enjoy it for as long as you can. Once the novelty wears off, though, long-term unemployment becomes much less fun, especially if you used to have an interesting job and a rewarding career.

The unemployed workaholic

OK, so you miss working. Now what? (more…)

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Expat Interview: Looking For Work In Vancouver – MĂ©lanie

Posted on 25. Nov, 2009 by in Blog, Expat Life, Interview, Working Abroad

MĂ©lanie Bourquin is a French expat currently living in Vancouver, BC. She is 29.

The following interview is the transcript of a conversation I recorded with MĂ©lanie on November 18, 2009. She has plenty of tips and advice to share with fellow expats, especially those who are looking for a job.

Jobs (painted sign)What attracted you to become an expat? (more…)

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Informational Interviews: What You Need To Find Out

Posted on 23. Nov, 2009 by in Blog, Expat Life, Working Abroad
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After reading about informational interviews in last week’s post, a reader enquired about what questions to ask during these interviews. Aren’t they a tool that young graduates use to find out about possible careers? How do you use them when you’ve already been working in the field for years?

Great question. You need to keep in mind that you may have plenty of professional experience, but as a foreigner, you don’t have much experience with the culture. So here’s what I would recommend you find out, going from the general to the more specific:


Local work culture (more…)

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Looking For A Job Abroad: Don’t Give Up!

Posted on 20. Nov, 2009 by in Blog, Expat Life, Working Abroad

You’ve been looking for work for a while now, and things are not exactly easy. You’re trying your best, yet you can’t seem to find a decent job. Should you give up?

The answer is simple: Heck no! This is an endurance race you’re running, not a sprint. This is why you’ve been planning accordingly, remember? Now you need to maintain your morale over the long run, so that you don’t feel tempted to drop out.


Steel yourself against rejection


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Looking For A Job Abroad: Find Opportunities Through Your Contacts

Posted on 18. Nov, 2009 by in Blog, Expat Life, Working Abroad
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Now that you’ve defined your job search strategy, and you’ve put yourself into the right frame of mind, I bet you’re chomping at the bit – when do you get to do the real stuff, such as, you know, actually sending out applications?

All right, all right! Today, you’re going to take some very concrete steps toward gainful employment – only you won’t be applying for jobs. At least, not in the conventional way.

Piles of resumes

Call on your contacts


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Looking For A Job Abroad: Be Mentally Prepared

Posted on 16. Nov, 2009 by in Blog, Expat Life, Working Abroad

So. You’ve been putting quite a bit of work into getting ready to apply for jobs overseas. You’ve been making connections with new people. You have done your due dilligence. You have brainstormed a number of different options in case you need to get creative with your next career move.

All of this, however, is just a warm-up – like any other endurance sport, job-hunting requires you to be mentally prepared as well if you want to last the distance.

By all means go ahead and start applying for positions that look interesting, but do keep the following in mind so that you don’t fizzle out after a couple of weeks:

The job seeker's survival guide

Keep your expectations realistic (more…)

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Looking For Work Abroad: Getting Creative

Posted on 13. Nov, 2009 by in Blog, Expat Life, Relocation, Tools & Resources, Working Abroad
1 comment

After Monday’s post went up (the one about finding other options if you can’t land a job in your host country), a couple of readers remarked that this was all fine and dandy, but what if you don’t have a clue what you want to do other than your current job?

Or what if you hate your current job and would rather gouge your eyes out than go for the same type of position, thank you very much?

Great points. As always. Please keep the questions coming; I love to hear what’s on your mind! Also, we’re in luck today, because generating ideas is one of my favourite activities in the world, and I do have some good resources for you.

Mind map

Resources, from the predictable to the unexpected


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Looking For Work Abroad: Why You Want To Avoid Entry-Level Jobs

Posted on 11. Nov, 2009 by in Blog, Expat Life, Relocation, Working Abroad

You’ve probably been exposed to what I call the “Fly by the seat of your pants” school of thought when it comes to looking for work overseas: land in your host country without too much advance planning, then find a job – any job, no matter how menial – to pay the rent.

This approach has a certain mystique among international job-seekers: the thrill of the unknown. Earning your expat stripes the hard way. Demonstrating your flexibility and your determination. Isn’t it glamourous?

Well, maybe but it is also dangerous. Not foolhardy dangerous, no – you will find a job once you get there, I am not worried about that – but the unintended consequences kind of dangerous.

Many-sided die

Taking whatever entry-level job you can find is a double-edged sword. In fact, it has far more edges than that, but that would be a funky-looking sword, a bit like those 20-sided dice used for Dungeons & Dragons… let’s not even go there!

Sure, supporting yourself and paying the bills is good. But if you have a bit of a financial cushion (which you definitely should), going after menial jobs is best avoided for at least three reasons.


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Looking For A Job Abroad: More Options

Posted on 09. Nov, 2009 by in Blog, Expat Life, Relocation, Working Abroad

So you’ve done your due diligence. You’ve taken a thorough look at the job market wherever it is that you’re headed to… and realistically, your chances of finding a position similar to your current one don’t look too good.

Or maybe you’ve already been in your dream country for several months, and you just cannot seem to get a job.

Hard at work writing

Now what?

One option, of course, is to give up, and shelve your plans to relocate – or go back home early, depending on your situation.

I have never been one for living with regrets, however, so rather than spending the rest of your life wondering “what if?”, here’s what I would suggest instead:

1. It’s completely normal to feel disappointed, scared, angry, or anxious under these circumstances. Acknowledge your feelings and allow yourself to wallow in them for a while if you need to, but –and this is key- decide ahead of time how long your pity party shall last, and when it’s over, move on!

2. Come up with a contingency plan: for instance, decide that if after 6 months you still haven’t found a decent job, you’re going home. Make sure that you have enough money saved (I’d recommend 6 to 12 months’ worth of living expenses), so that you don’t have to take the first menial job that presents itself.

3. Grab a pen and paper, and get ready to explore other options that will make living and working in your dream country possible.


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