I often hear from people overseas asking how to find a job in retail management in the United States or Canada. The truth is, it's difficult. Extremely difficult. Here are a few things to think about.
First of all, it's important to remember that you need to be legally able to work in whatever country you want to live in, and that's a whole different topic for someone else to write about. I know very little about citizenships, work visas, etc. That's not my area of expertise - I focus on job search skills.
Job searching is a competition
The number one reason it's difficult to secure a job in a different country is because job searching is a competition - it's you against everyone else who applied for the position. How well your qualifications compare to the requirements of the job is just half the battle - how well your qualifications compare to everyone else is the other half.
Say you're in England, India, or somewhere else overseas, and you see a posting online from a company looking for big-box managers in the eastern and southeastern regions of the US, which is where you want to move to. The posting lists all the qualifications they're looking for, including a certain amount of experience in similar size/volume stores, and you meet all those expectations. So you go ahead and apply.
You're probably going to be competing against many other candidates who also meet the requirements of the position, and in all likelihood most of those candidates will live locally in the areas required. Unfortunately, that means it's highly unlikely that you're going to be contacted for an interview. After all, do you offer any special skills, experience, or qualifications that local candidates don't have? Is it worth it for the company to hold the position until you're able to relocate?
In most cases, local candidates will have just as much experience as you do, not to mention familiarity with local markets, and the company won't need to wait so long for them to start.
So what can you do?
Move first and then job search, if possible
I understand this isn't always possible but if you can move first, that may help. One downside to applying for jobs in another country is that you're not present for an in-person interview. That's a major disadvantage. The fact that the company would have to wait for you to physically relocate is another disadvantage.
If you can move first, then you can put a local address on your resume and other job search materials, you can attend job interviews in person, and you can start right away. That would help immensely.
Translate your experience for North American recruiters
I see resumes all the time from people overseas, and they're often quite different from what we do here in the United States and Canada (which is why I personally only work with clients in North America; I'm not an expert in resume writing customs and expectations in other countries). If you're looking for employment in North America, it's critical that recruiters here can understand every aspect of your resume. If they can't, it's just one more roadblock for you.
For example, ask yourself if recruiters in North America would recognize the names of the companies you worked for. If you're certain that they would, fine. If you have doubts, you'll need to explain the type of company they are. After all, if the person who reads your resume has no idea if the store you managed is a small convenience store or a big box sporting goods store, they can't put your experience into any context.
You would also want to use dollars ($) for currency. If you use another form of currency to describe the sales volume that you were accountable for, the reader may not be able to quickly and easily translate it. Make it easy on the reader - give them context by using the currency they're most accustomed to.
Finally, make sure your resume conforms to North American standards. Over here, what is usually expected is a 1-2 page document - maybe 3 at the most. We generally don't include pictures on a resume, or dates of birth or family details. In some other countries, longer resumes are customary and those other elements are often included.
If you want to convince the recruiter that you're ready to hit the ground running in a new country, start with your resume and other job search materials.
Searching for a job in a new country is extremely difficult, but hopefully this article has given you something to think about. First and foremost, make sure you're legally able to work in the country you intend to move to. Then relocate first if at all possible so you're in place and ready to go, and tailor your job search materials to the new country. Finally, be prepared to start in a lower position in order to prove yourself in a new market.
I wish you all the best in your travels!
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