Applying for Jobs Outside of the US: A Few Places to Start and Some Things to Consider

by Yandee Vazquez, former Head Editor, INALJ Texas
previously published 10/28/13 & 10/2/2014

Applying for Jobs Outside of the US: A Few Places to Start and Some things to Consider 

yandeevI love living in Texas, but sometimes the itch to move starts setting in. It’s a need for new adventures, new experiences, a new place. Or maybe for you it’s a wish to re-connect with distant family or start life over in a completely different place. For whatever reason you’re interested in working outside of the United States, but where to begin?

Here are a few tips when beginning your search:

Make sure your degree is widely accepted wherever you want to go.

This is the first, most obvious step you need to consider before you even begin looking for jobs. It would be a considerable waste of time to apply for out of the country jobs with a degree that won’t be accepted. This applies for your MLIS/MIS/MSLIS and to your Bachelor’s degree or other Master’s if you have one. Requirements may differ slightly, making you a small amount of class work behind or, if you’re lucky, a bit ahead. The best places to find this kind of information will be the professional organizations in that country. The ALA, for example, has an agreement with CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) and LIANZA (Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa), among others, that makes ALA qualifications valid in those countries.

Check the professional organizations of the country.

I cannot stress this one enough. Professional organizations are the most likely place to find any educational requirements (for any of your degrees) and their forums can be great places to find out more about the state of the profession in your chosen country. Don’t forget to look for special library international organizations, like the International Association of Law Libraries, which can provide information on particular areas of librarianship around the world. Another important use of professional organizations is to get an idea for the country’s standard CV/resume/cover letter formats and the kind of information they need to contain.

Always keep the legal implications in mind.

Immigration paperwork and taxation hassles are the points to consider here. Are you bringing a pet? Your spouse? What kind of special requirements does the country you’re considering place? Does one of your degrees fall under an “extremely needed” category that could expedite the visa process? All the legalese is one of the most difficult parts. Always remember to keep copies and written records of the entire process, as paperwork is always lost. Once you’ve managed the intricacies of moving to a different country come the issues with staying there–what are taxes like, how to open a bank account or renting a place to live as a foreign national–and the issues with being an American abroad–figuring out how to pay taxes to the US as well as the country you live in, finding your consulate (just in case), owning land in the US but living abroad. It is can be extremely frustrating, but make sure you don’t ignore legal stuff.

Maybe you don’t have to work abroad to work abroad.

This one sounds a little odd, but if the legal issues sound a bit too much, it may be a good path to consider. By not working abroad to work abroad I mean consider options that are run by American companies, institutions, or governmental agencies but that operate abroad, such as private international schools. Military bases, or American universities with campuses abroad. You would need to look very carefully at the terms of employment, but this might be an easier option of exploring the world.

Hope I’ve given you some food for thought and, possibly, for travel!