Over the past month, I've had several Resume Raiders clients from foreign countries seeking resume services and job search consulting in preparation for a move to another country. International job searches are clearly more complicated than sending an application to the company down the street, and there are a handful of things you need to keep in mind.
I'm not going to get into legal advice about immigration law and visas and such because that will vary by country and I'm not a lawyer, but here are some quick tips if you are looking for a job in another land.
Let's say that you are looking to move to Canada for some reason, but aren't specifically looking to move to any one city. Unfortunately, this might put you at some potential disadvantage. Why?
If you target a huge geographic area like Canada, and you apply to jobs in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Vancouver, the chances that you will end up in any one of those cities are relatively low. Saying, "I'm moving to Canada" won't really provide much incentive for recruiters or hiring companies in Toronto to invest time (or money) in speaking to you, as the recruiter knows you may not even end up in the Toronto market.
Job seekers in this situation need to provide at least some reassurance that an interested company has a shot at them. Including a target location on both the resume and cover letter (or submission email) gives the reader a reason to call.
If you're working with a third-party recruiter who is geographically focused, this is of the utmost importance. A recruiter who specializes in Toronto will take great interest in attractive candidates seeking relocation to Toronto, as the recruiter may have multiple open positions in that market and will feel a high degree of confidence that you will result in a fee. That same recruiter will show much less enthusiasm for candidates searching in multiple markets, as the chances of a fee diminish significantly.
Networking and Local Knowledge
Reaching out to user groups and meetup leaders is a great way to find out about positions that may not be listed on every job board in the world. User group leaders are frequently contacted by recruiters and hiring companies looking to find some new talent, so these leaders are often in the know about who is hiring and what the local market is like for that skill.
Using LinkedIn to find a local agency recruiter is another way to get some quick action on the search. Open up an advanced search on LinkedIn and type "recruiter" and one of your primary skills (programming language, usually) in the "Keywords" field, then set the "Location" dropdown to "Located in or near" and enter a postal code in the desired city. All recruiters have LinkedIn profiles, and many will have some technical keywords on their profiles to list areas of specialty.
Find some recruiters with experience and reach out to them. Those with long careers should know the market well and provide insight on companies to target (probably their clients, so do your own homework!), those to avoid, and the market rate for your skills.
Companies are usually willing to provide some form of compensation for moving expenses when the employer makes the approach, but relo money isn't always an easy topic to discuss when the candidate has chosen to move. Customs and tax laws in different countries will also vary regarding relocation assistance, so do a bit of research on what you might expect. Relo packages may be a fixed amount or simply reimbursement of costs incurred.
Interview Expenses and Timing
There are many companies today that will hire you based entirely on virtual interviews (phone, webcam, online coding exercises, testing, etc.) due to the cost of international travel and the availability of interviewing technology. Even if you don't expect to fly in for interviews, it's still strategic to try and time your search so that you are at the offer stage with all suitors at the same time.
Vacation and Remote Work Policy
If you expect to want to return to your home country to visit friends and family for extended periods, be sure to express this to potential employers and ask about the ability to work remotely in these situations.