5 Things NOT to Say When Introducing Yourself to a Potential Employer Abroad

Posted on Jul 15, 2015 | 1 comment

5 Things NOT to Say When Introducing Yourself to a Potential Employer Abroad

When you move to a new country, you’ll be meeting a lot of people for the first time. Some will turn out to be acquaintances, some friends, and a few may be your potential employer. It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of moving and not be your usual self in those first few months. Social situations even can feel overwhelming. To keep yourself on track and ensure that you make a positive impression, avoid saying these five things when introducing yourself.


1. “I don’t like it here.”

If you’re currently living overseas, we all know someone like this. This person complains all the time about the people, the culture, the weather, the food, and anything else they can think of. She’s a Negative Nancy and it’s hard to feel good about where you live when she’s around. It’s tough to work with someone like that. Even if that person is an optimist in her home country, she appears to be a pessimist. If you are having a tough time loving where you live, come up with at least one positive aspect of where you live and keep that at the front of your mind. Save your complaints and difficulties for close friends who can help you work through them.


2. “I’m not going to be here for very long.”

A lot of people self-sabotage by telling everyone that they won’t be around too long. By saying this, you are giving other people an excuse not to hire you. You are saying that you won’t be around long enough to make it worth it. Let your future employers decide if they are willing to hire you despite the length of your stay.


3. “My spouse is the one who made us move here.”

Many people are overseas because of their spouses’ work. They may or may not have been part of the decision making process and sometimes can feel that they were dragged along to their new country against their will. The problem with saying this to an employer is that it makes it look as if you are not in control of your own situation. The fact is that you could have stayed home. Yes, it may have meant living separately from your spouse for a time or a financial loss but you did make a decision to go along. Figure out why you made that decision. Was it the adventure? Opportunities for travel? Foreign language? Extra pay? Even if you don’t feel in control at this very moment, figure out why you are here. This is going to help you not only with employers but also to be content in your new situation.


4. “It’s all about my kids.”

All parents know that the role of mother or father can be all-consuming, especially when you move overseas and your kids are going through a transition. Our kids need us more than ever when we are new to a country. But, if you are looking for a job, you are not only a parent. You are also a professional and someone who is looking for an additional role. Don’t typecast yourself as “parent” when you are so much more.


5. “I don’t have any experience working outside of my home country.”

If it’s your first time living overseas, you may feel that you don’t have enough experience to try to find work. I challenge you on that thought. When I first moved overseas, I filled out an application that asked about my overseas experience. At that time, I had not stepped foot out of my home country. I didn’t want to leave the answer blank, and I certainly didn’t want to say I had no experience at all. So I thought about it. I realized that I had worked with a lot of foreigners in my home country. I thought about the number of other countries I had studied (either for school or just because I was interested) and I thought about my lifelong dream to leave my home country and travel. With examples of particular interactions that clearly demonstrated differences in cultures, I answered the question. Yes, living in a foreign country and meeting foreigners in your home country is a bit different but, in my answer, I was able to demonstrate how I was open to differences between people and cultures and prove that I would be able to adapt in challenging circumstances. I got the job.


I’m going to bet that you have an example like that too. If the employer decides that you don’t have enough experience, that’s one thing. You shouldn’t be the one to sell yourself short and take yourself off the market.



Passport Career provides more detailed career information and extensive resources about networking, finding a job, internship, or alternative career opportunity. 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 contact us (or send email to: info@passportcareer.com) regarding a free, live, online demo and details on how to obtain a license to access Passport Career.

Anna Sparks, Expert Global Career Consultant

One Comment

  1. Appreciate the recommendation. Let me try it out.

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