International Opportunities

1. What are the challenges and benefits of working internationally?
2. Who are major international employers?
3. What additional steps are required for international opportunities?
4. How do I find foreign owned companies operating in the U.S.?
5. How do I find U.S. owned companies operating in foreign countries?
6. What resources are available for locating job and internship opportunities abroad?

1.  What are the challenges and benefits of working internationally?

Challenges

Although this may seem contrary to your objective, many successful international professionals began their careers in domestic positions. One of the best ways to break into the international job market, especially in the area of private business, is to pinpoint organizations conducting international activities of some sort, and then apply for a domestic position within that company. There will more likely be opportunities for promotion into the international side after you have paid your dues.

Working internationally presents some hurdles that do not exist with domestic employment. Insiders agree that you should start an international job search earlier than you would a domestic search. Obstacles such as work authorization, medical evaluations, security clearances, fierce competition, and foreign bureaucracy can make the procedure time-consuming and difficult.

Benefits

Working internationally gives you the opportunity to develop a myriad of skills beneficial to your personal and professional development, including: cultural sensitivity, flexibility, interpersonal skills, patience, independence, assertiveness, self-confidence, open-mindedness, and strong communication skills. Additionally, you will improve your language skills and develop cross-cultural competencies. Living independently in another part of the world will challenge you and help you grow. Finally, employers in the global economy will value the initiative, maturity, and flexibility that result from your international experience.

2.   Who are major international employers?

Teaching Abroad

Teaching abroad is one of the easiest ways to break into the international arena. A number of U.S. and foreign educational organizations, such as JET and WorldTeach, offer structured teaching positions, which include training, job placement, and housing. Experienced teachers seeking K-12 positions can find jobs in all subject matters, as well as administration, with U.S. Department of State Schools, Department of Defense Schools, and schools established by American businesses abroad (e.g. Exxon and Texaco).

Government and International Organizations

Many of the varied agencies and departments of the federal government are heavily involved in foreign affairs, from administering foreign aid, to setting foreign policy, to monitoring economic and military developments throughout the world. While many entry-level government positions are based in the States, there are a few other routes to take if you want to move abroad more rapidly. The Foreign Service and the Peace Corps offer opportunities for entry-level personnel to live and work abroad almost immediately. Familiarity with a foreign language, experience abroad, and a superior academic record can certainly help you get a foot in the door. International organizations, such as the United Nations and World Bank, are more competitive to break into and require specialized skills and advanced degrees.

Nonprofits

Nonprofit organizations are the missionaries of the international arena and the major agents of change in developing third and fourth world countries. Nonprofits offer the opportunity to get involved in a number of important international causes and programs, including healthcare, human rights, environmental concerns, and education. Paid overseas positions are competitive, requiring language skills, specialized training, and advanced degrees. If you’re solely interested in beginning a career in international development work, your best bets are either to volunteer for a non-profit organization abroad (sometimes there is a fee), or to find an entry-level paid position in one of the numerous international nonprofits headquartered in the United States.

Private Business

While multinational organizations offer many international opportunities, it pays to think “small” as well. Many import-export companies, contracting and consulting firms, educational tour organizations, and a host of other private businesses are increasing their international interests and activities. While the actual job possibilities are as varied internationally as they are nationally, chances are slim that you’ll be able to find a paid position abroad right after college. It’s more likely that you will begin your international career in the U.S., with the chance to be involved in international affairs and possible short-term travel.

Other

There are a host of service and hospitality opportunities available all over the world. Hotels, restaurants, resorts, retail shops, and bars are only some of the organizations offering employment for the student or recent graduate seeking a temporary international experience. Work abroad programs, such as BUNAC, are helpful in securing a work authorization for these types of positions. Another popular option is to be an au pair or nanny, which offers paid employment as well as a place to live. If you’re not interested in any of these traditional job opportunities, grants can provide an alternative way of raising the money you need to pursue international research, education, or travel.

3.   What additional steps are required for international opportunities?

Work Visas
If you plan to work, you will likely need to secure a work visa. In some cases, this can be accomplished through the program through which you are securing the work experience. In other cases, it will be necessary to work with the embassy of your target country to secure a work visa. To learn more and apply online, visit your country’s embassy or visa website as well as check out the country guides in Going Global for an overview of the H-1B work visa process. 

Curriculum Vitae (CV)
The resume that you’ve created for use in the United States is a good starting point, but you will find that many countries have different expectations for what we call a resume. In most cases, it will be necessary for you to create a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and it may be necessary for you to adjust the CV on a country-by-country basis. Gain insight on resume and CV writing from Going Global or Passport Career with information tailored to each country. Look for the Résumé/CV Guidelines associated with the countries in which you are interested.

4. How do I find foreign owned companies operating in the U.S.?

  • Go to the ZSR Library website, http://zsr.wfu.edu.
  • Select Find a Database, then under Business and Economics, select Company Directories.
  • Select Corporate Affiliations.
  • From the tool bar, select the Subscriber Tools pull down menu.
  • Select Company Search, then Advanced Search.
  • On the first line under Criterion click on the drop down menu and select “Parent Country,” then on the adjacent line under “Value” type in the name of the country in which you are interested.
  • On the second line under Criterion click on the drop down menu and select “Country,” then on the adjacent line under Value type in “United States.”
  • Select “Search.”

5. How do I find U.S. owned companies operating in foreign countries? 

  • Go to the ZSR Library website, http://zsr.wfu.edu.
  • Select Find a Database, then under Business and Economics, select Company Directories.
  • Select Corporate Affiliations.
  • From the tool bar, select the Subscriber Tools pull down menu.
  • Select Company Search, then Advanced Search.
  • On the first line under Criterion click on the drop down menu and select “Parent Country,” then on the adjacent line under Value type “United States.”
  • On the second line under Criterion click on the drop down menu and select “Country,” then on the adjacent line under Value type in the name of the foreign country in which you are interested.
  • Select “Search”.

6.    What additional programs or organizations offer job and internship opportunities abroad?

**Some of the following organizations and programs may require that you pay a fee for participation.**

Jobs and Internships

Volunteer

Teaching

Scholarships