5 Strategies to Find Your First International Job or Internship

Posted on Jan 28, 2014 | 2 comments

By Meg Wallace, Social Media Manager, Passport Career

International Career


Applying for your first job or internship can be nerve-racking—especially when seeking an internationalposition.  Here are some tips to build a strong foundation and get you started!

  1. Step Back & Reflect
    In order to identify the appropriate jobs or internships in other countries, you first need to take some time to reflect and answer these 4 questions. 

    1. What are you goals?  Think of this as a checklist for your ideal position.              What are your must have requirements?  What can you live without?  What are you not willing to compromise on?
    2. What are your strengths and value-added? Start by listing out all of the things you are good at or that you enjoy doing. Then, break down this list to develop a list of your strengths and abilities.
    3. What are your weaknesses?  In most countries, the interviewer will ask you about your weaknesses in some sort of culturally-appropriate way. We all have them.  The key is being able to recognize your weaknesses and develop a plan on how to both address them and how to convey to the interviewer the positive outcome in addressing them.
  2. Research & Brainstorm Global Career Options
    If you have access to Passport Career, there are several sections in each the Country Portfolios that will help you research options. Be sure to read through the Job Search Overview, the Top Employers, and/or the Internships sections to identify the key employment/internship areas for the country and cities of interest to you. If you don’t have access to Passport Career, then you’ll want to identify employment trends and needs in your country and city of interest by researching business-related websites, speaking with professionals who live or previously lived there, and brainstorming possibilities by exploring  job posting sites (not for the purpose of applying, but for researching general opportunities).

  3. Draft a Country-Specific Resume/CV
    You will want to create a draft of your resume/CV as you will need to tailor it to meet the needs and interests of each employer. Write down all of your experience—both paid and unpaid. You will need to draft a resume/CV specific to the style of your destination country. Every country has its own style of resume, and many countries refer to it as a “CV.” Passport Career members will find detailed guidance, analyses and samples of country-specific resumes for 80 countries in the Country Portfolios.  If you do not have access to Passport Career, you will need to identify the general format and style for your country of interest and develop it according to their expectations. Some countries, such as Germany, expect a photo on your CV and some countries expect you to include your birthdate, marital status and a variety of other personal information.

  4. Identify International Jobs & Internships
    Once you have completed the first three steps, start looking for different positions and internships in your country of interest.  Reach out to industry leaders or mentors for suggested job or internship sites in your field. If you have access to Passport Career, check out the jobs and internships on the International Job/Internship Portal, which is updated daily with more than one million opportunities in 203 countries. You will also find country-specific and city-specific job boards that are recommended by global career experts. These are found in each of the Country Portfolios, and will provide you access to millions of additional opportunities around the world. Passport Career members should also attend the weekly Global Career Webinars for tips and strategies on international job searches. If you attend the International Resumes/CV Webinar, you can submit your country-specific resume/CV for a free review by a global career expert!
  5. It’s Time to Apply for International Jobs & Internships!
    Once you have identified a job or internship that you want to apply for, sit down with your resume/CV and highlight the most relevant skills and experience. Be sure there are no unexplained time gaps, but feel free to highlight different key responsibilities or relevant courses for each application.  Do the same for your cover letter, using your goals, strengths and weaknesses as a guideline.  Be sure to identify your motivation for applying to the position or internship as well as what you will bring to the table—your value-added!  Employers want skilled and dedicated employees, not one or the other.  Don’t forget to spell check your resume, application and cover letter before you send it. Always be sure to get a second set of eyes to review it for clarity, spelling and appropriateness (for the country, culture and position).



Passport Career provides more detailed career and cultural information and extensive resources about finding a job, internship, or alternative career opportunity in over 80 countries. If your organization, embassy, university/college, library, or other institution would like access to our country portfolios (15,000+ pages of expert content for 80+ countries and 250+ cities) to share with your students, employees, spouses/partners, and others managing a national or international career transition, please click here to contact us (or send an email to: info@passportcareer.com) regarding a free, live, online demo and details on how to obtain a license to access Passport Career.





  1. Great post for anyone looking on trying to improve their cover letter. I will make sure to add this site to my favorites!

  2. Awesome post! This reminds me of when I worked in the airlines. Although I never had an international job the company took me all over the world and I had some nice lay overs. Since then I’ve wanted to work overseas so i’m glad you’ve outlined some tips for finding an international job.

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