You need to be logged in to MyWorldAbroad to access some of the resources below. Please activate auto login to sign in as a University of Waterloo subscriber. You will not have to create an account if you use the auto login link. Alternatively, you could set-up a free account with your UW email address here. If you are an alumnus, please visit The Alumni E-Community to obtain an alumni email account and then you will be able to register. MyWorldAbroad includes information on enhancing your international skill set, searching for international internships or jobs, and other advice on exploring abroad.
Sign up for the Master Your Job Search workshop and learn how to use successful networking strategies.
Having an international experience provides an opportunity to build skills and personal attributes employers value such as adaptability, cross-cultural communication, and creativity.
As the workplace becomes more diverse and often requires collaboration with colleagues from across the world, the skills gained from an international experience are becoming increasingly relevant to employers.
Finding a job outside of your home country, as rewarding as it is, can be challenging. There are many differences between finding a job in your home country and one internationally, such as different résumé formats, unique interview questions, and professional communication styles. There is also the question of your eligibility to work in another country. Before you begin investing too much time in your job search tools and initiatives, it’s important that you determine how you can acquire the necessary permits to work in your country/countries of choice.
Please contact the issuing authority, which is the local embassy, consulate or application centre for that country, directly, to find current and accurate information about getting the necessary legal authorization (visa / permit). You are responsible for arranging your own visa / permit. You and your employer are expected to do your research on the documentation required for procuring the necessary visa / permit.
For co-op work terms: Please state clearly that this work term / internship is a necessary part of your degree requirements. However, CEE does not consult on the legal process as the type and class of visa / permit is determined by the issuing authority based on your individual circumstances. It is also your responsibility to ensure that the visa / permit you have been provided by the issuing authority allows you to stay legally in the country for the entire length of your work term / internship. Read the instructions on the visa / permit carefully, and ensure you take necessary steps to legally maintain your presence in the country. If you are NOT a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident, or you are a citizen of COUNTRY, please contact the issuing authority directly to confirm the correct process and documentation information and timeline based on your citizenship status, as the above may not apply to you. CEE and UW will provide required documentation that needs to be issued by the university as part of the visa / permit process.
Here are some helpful sites that provide information on types of permits, eligibility, and how to secure permits. Be sure to conduct thorough research and verify your findings through the U.S. Consulate.
For specific information on University of Waterloo co-op work terms in the USA, please visit this site.
Register for the “Getting a U.S. Work Permit” workshop delivered by a U.S. immigration attorney here.
Book a one-hour “Work Search Abroad” appointment with a Career Advisor here.
There are various ways to obtain legal authorization including employer sponsorship, government partnerships, and through organizations whose main purpose is to provide permits for a fee.
Here are some helpful sites that provide information on types of permits, eligibility, and how to secure permits. Be sure to conduct thorough research and verify your findings through the appropriate consulate.
Sponsoring Organizations (Note: co-op work terms should not be facilitated via these sources)
Register for the “Thinking about an International Experience” and “Working Effectively in another culture” workshops through the Centre for Career Development’s workshops site
Book a one-hour “Work Search Abroad” appointment with a Career Advisor here.
How will you finance your international experience? The Budget to Travel (PDF) guide from MyWorldAbroad has some tips on how to prepare for your travels and the potential financial impacts.
The University of Waterloo also encourages students to pursue international opportunities by providing International Experience Awards through the Student Awards and Financial Aid office.
Résumés and cover letters differ from country to country. The structure, length, formatting and information included in a document may vary significantly. For some countries, you may need to include your age, marital status, national origin, photo and other personal details that are not included in the Canadian context. You may also be required to provide additional documents as part of the application process.
It is important that you research what is required in a résumé and cover letter in the country you are applying to. See the following resources for tips on preparing your application package:
If you have experience that is relevant to an international environment, it may also benefit you to include an international skills and experience section on your résumé and/or cover letter to highlight transferable skills such as flexibility, resourcefulness, independence, and adaptability, all of which will be useful in an international environment. For more information on building an international experience section for your international job search, please refer to the following resources:
It may be important to include your eligibility to work in a specific country in your application package. If this is not stated early on in your documents, employers may disregard your application because hiring international workers is often an onerous and costly process.
Many employers use social media as part of their recruiting practices; it will benefit you to have a professional online presence. This can include professional networking websites such as LinkedIn, as well as general social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Research the popular social media platforms for the country in which you are applying and build your online presence accordingly.
LinkedIn is a platform that is used in over 200 countries. Many recruiters use LinkedIn to search for talented candidates, many of whom are students or recent graduates. If you choose to use this platform here are two resources to get you started:
Since employers are now likely to look at a job candidate’s social media before making an interview or job offer, it’s extremely important to check your social media for any information that may be deemed unprofessional. If you are concerned, consider modifying your privacy settings for each social media account to control what information employers can see.
It is common for employers to require references when considering candidates for a job. In North America, references are collected during the final offer stage of an interview process. However, in some countries you may need to have references prepared prior to, or during, the interview itself.
It is important to research the specific type of references that you will be expected to provide (e.g. personal reference/professional reference) and when it will be required for your country of interest.
You may also wish to prepare written or verbal references from former landlords when searching for international positions, to assist with the relocation process.
There are a number of ways to conduct your international work search, including:
It is important to understand the local recruitment practices of each country of interest. A few considerations include:
Terminology: The terms used to describe recruitment processes may differ between countries. For example, the term CV and résumé could be used interchangeably or could refer to different documents.
Speed of recruitment process: The speed of hiring may vary greatly between countries. You may need to be prepared to relocate on short notice, or it may take a few months for a final hiring decision.
Questions to consider in terms of the recruitment timeline:
Contract type: In some countries, it may be more common for employees to work on temporary contracts. In other countries it may be more common to hire for long-term or permanent roles.
Résumé/cover letter: The documents you submit will need to be modified to meet the local document requirements. For example, you may or may not need to add a professional photograph of yourself on your résumé.
Method of job searching: Personal relationships are highly valued in some cultures and networking may be essential to a successful job search. Organizations in other countries may primarily use recruitment agencies or online applications as a source of talent.
Interviews: The style of interview, best practices, and types of questions will vary from country to country. It is important to do your research and be prepared.
There are a variety of methods and platforms you can use when searching for an international experience:
You may be able to apply similar strategies for networking in Canada to networking outside Canada, keeping in mind that there may be important cultural norms and expectations to consider (e.g. religious, cultural and gender behaviours). To get you started, review the best practices for networking in Canada.
Tactics to network without leaving your current country.
When networking, it is particularly important to consider communication styles. Research the particular communication styles of the country you are applying to, paying particular attention to professional greetings and the preferred mode of communication (i.e. phone versus email). Research the particular communication styles of the country/countries you are applying to paying particular attention to professional greetings and the preferred mode of communication (i.e. phone versus email). For more information on communicating with employers directly on the international stage please refer to Contacting Employers Directly (MyWorldAbroad).
There are many ways to conduct an effective job search while abroad.
Work search while travelling: Is it possible to conduct a job search while visiting a country as a tourist? Yes! With careful planning, you can arrange to network with professionals in your field, visit a job fair, and sign up with a local recruitment agency, all during a short vacation.
For additional tips on conducting a work search while abroad, see the Career Tips During Your Travels Abroad guide (PDF) from MyWorldAbroad
Work search while volunteering: There are volunteer opportunities to suit everyone’s preference. These can come in a wide variety of opportunities such as:
Looking for the right volunteer organization to meet your goals?
Work search while completing an internship: Perhaps you have already managed to secure a short-term internship but want to stay in the country longer; you can continue your job search while you are working. Use this time effectively to network and apply for additional roles within or outside of your current organization.
For advice about conducting an effective work search while working as an intern, read this Job Hunting During Your International Internship guide (PDF).
Work search while working: A popular method of searching for work while working abroad is to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) in your new country. This could be a path into a number of careers abroad.
See this quick guide (PDF) for information about Teaching English Overseas and how it can help your international career.
Note: To teach English as a Second Language you may need to complete a short course and obtain a recognized international certificate. The type of qualifications may be different, depending on your country of origin or study and where you plan to teach. For information about ESL qualifications offered at the University of Waterloo.
The University of Waterloo continues to be concerned with your health and safety while you are traveling to an international location / participating in your work term abroad.
Visit the UWaterloo International Travel Safety and Security page for knowledge and resources to mitigate risks and to experience peace of mind before, during, and after your trip.
For destination specific travel information or to learn about countries or regions to avoid during your international experience search, visit the Government of Canada’s Travel Advice and Advisories page.
Finding and applying for an international job is the first step, but for some roles it will be equally important to demonstrate your value as an international candidate when competing with local candidates.
It is important to understand recruitment from the perspective of a recruiter or hiring manager. Recruitment processes can be long and expensive. Additionally, there are many considerations when hiring an international candidate, such as relocation. You should address these potential concerns for the hiring manager by demonstrating that you are already fully prepared to move and live in a foreign country for the duration of the employment.
In order to do this, be prepared to demonstrate knowledge or experience in the following areas:
Being able to easily navigate conversations around the topics outlined above, and demonstrating that you are well researched and prepared will help convince an international employer that you are serious about this opportunity.
To see if you are ready for an international opportunity, review the Ready to Work Abroad checklist and reflect on your level of preparedness.
The style of interview, best practices, and types of questions will vary from country to country. It is important to do your research and be prepared. If interviewing long distance, keep in mind the time difference and allow time for any technical difficulties.
Be aware of how to interact in a culturally appropriate manner. For introductions, some cultures may shake hands, whereas others may bow. In some cultures, your answers should focus on the achievements you have displayed personally, whereas others may prefer the answer to focus on your team contributions.
It is also worth bearing in mind that some interview questions may be permissible in one country but illegal in others. For example, questions regarding marital status or age may be a standard part of the interview conversation outside Canada. Appropriate topics for small talk may also vary throughout an interview process, especially during a lunch or dinner interview.
Communicating in another language may also be a requirement for the job. It will be important to practice interview questions in both languages and focus on clear communication.
For tips on preparing for and succeeding at international job interviews, including sample questions, visit Interviewing for an International Job.
Negotiating an international job offer may be similar to the approach taken in Canada. For general advice on this aspect of your work search:
Here are some additional aspects to keep in mind when accepting or negotiating an international job offer:
Salary: What are your salary expectations? Are you willing to accept a slightly lower salary than the competitive market offers in order to obtain your first international position? Use websites such as Monster, Glassdoor etc. to identify what a reasonable salary is for the specific job, in the specific country.
Benefit packages: In North America and Europe, it may be possible for a benefits package to include phones or company cars, while in other countries you may receive assistance with accommodation or subsidized cafeterias in the workplace. If relocation assistance is being offered, it is important to carefully read the contract as some may require you to pay a portion of this back if you leave within a certain period of time.
Health plan: health care for illness or injury can be very expensive when working internationally. Make sure to identify your health plan options. This may be provided by your company, or you may need to arrange this on your own.
There are many exciting places around the world to travel, work, volunteer and study. One of the best ways to learn about these places is to hear directly from students, staff, faculty and alumni who have traveled to or lived in these locations. This webinar series provides information about each of these cities to help you make informed decisions about where you would like to take your next adventure.
Live, Work and Play in Hong Kong & Singapore by Alumni Jon Kwan
In this webinar (located below), Jon comes to you live from Asia with an overview of what it is really like to live, work and play in two of the most popular and expensive cities in the World. While these two places are often compared, he talks about how different and yet similar they really are. He also gives you a little insight into the different partner universities while highlighting some of the key areas in the local job market.
Learn about living and working in San Francisco by Alumni Jack Forbes
In this webinar, Jack gives an overview of what it is like to live and work in San Francisco. You will learn about living arrangements, how to get around the city, what the food is like, where you can find networking opportunities and more.