There are a few traditional industries that tend to offer in-demand jobs abroad depending on where we go, like humanitarian work in Africa, but what if our background and experience don’t fit that or it simply isn’t our thing?
Luckily, we don’t have to volunteer if we dream of working abroad. I’ve found that there are more jobs abroad that are not well-known but still in demand. For example:
List of in-demand jobs abroad
- Hospitality in the Caribbean
- Software developers tend to be in demand everywhere
- Engineering work in energy or construction in the Middle East and Asia
- Outsourcing in Asia
- Tech startups in South America, Africa and Asia
- Cyber security in Israel
- Teaching English in Asia
- The Oil and gas industry in the Middle East
- Humanitarian work in Africa
Let’s dive into each one a bit deeper before I’ll show you how the pros land jobs abroad.
1. Hospitality in the Caribbean
Hospitality and tourism have long been well-known industries to work in abroad. There are unskilled jobs like a tourist guide but there are also professional career jobs such as a marketing manager or sales director for luxury hotels and resorts selling packages to business travelers.
The Caribbean is a well-known destination for a luxury holiday but there are also jobs on yachts that sail across the globe, and destinations like Greece and Thailand where hospitality is well developed and open to foreigners.
2. Software developers tend to be in demand everywhere
Software developers tend to be in demand everywhere we look, usually in tech startups but not only there. It can be skilled ones moving to Europe to a hot spot like Berlin or those highly experienced looking to advance their career in developing nations often in Asia or South America.
3. Engineering work in energy or construction in the Middle East and Asia
Some regions tend to build more structures than others. While Europe doesn’t do much construction these days, regions like the Middle East and Asia are booming and that requires engineers and architects to help.
Many of those same countries are also focused on building the renewable energy sector, often with solar panels, water turbines or wind energy.
4. Outsourcing in Asia
Outsourcing can sound really broad and what I’m referring to specifically is graphic production and programming work. There are many multinational corporations that leverage outsourcing hubs to save on cost whether that is through their own subsidiary, satellite office, or through an agency partner.
They are often looking for help with project management and client relations from foreigners to increase sales and ensure things run smoothly.
5. Tech startups in South America, Africa and Asia
Tech startups are the odd one out as there are so many different industries. Common for many of them is that hard work can make up for a lack of credentials, and there is often a way for us to leverage our background and language skills so long as we look for the right startup in the right country.
That could for example be in the language learning industry with companies like Babbel or Duolingo, or startups in developing nations that want help from people who’ve been building a similar type of startup in another country.
6. Cyber security in Israel
Israel has positioned themself as a startup hup and especially in the cyber security industry. The industry is constantly growing and often hires for all types of roles from programming to marketing or finance.
7. Teaching English in Asia
Teaching English in Asia is one of the classic in-demand jobs abroad. It is possible to get both jobs as a certified teacher with a background in the field and as a “walk-in” as long as you look like a western foreigner (apparently). A background in the field can offer a better paying job with much better conditions but overall there is a lot of demand for learning English in Asia.
8. The oil and gas industry in the Middle East
It’s no surprise that there is a lot of oil extraction in the Middle East. For a long time, there has been demand for engineers and others familiar with the industry and with experience from other nations with development in the field.
9. Humanitarian work in Africa
Humanitarian work is always in demand all over the world and especially in Africa. The difference compared with the other examples is that it usually doesn’t pay well–or any at all. Often those working in the field choose it for other reasons than to build their professional career.
If all you wanted is a list of jobs you could do abroad, well… there you have it. The question we often ask ourselves is: now what?
The thing is that just because a job is in demand doesn’t mean that it’s a good fit for us. Let’s look at the challenge with landing jobs abroad, what to do if we are not in demand for those jobs and how the pros go about landing them.
The problem with in-demand jobs abroad
The big problem with other articles around the topic is that they are clickbaity and listing things with no source, meaning that they tend to be based on feeling rather than real facts (exactly as this article just did). As I was researching why that is and looking for real sources for you, I realized that there are no statistics or other in-depth research on the topic, meaning that this is all a guesstimate based on personal experience and networking.
So what does someone who is truly serious about getting a job abroad do? We could look at general in-demand jobs by country but that doesn’t mean they are open to foreigners and since a good chunk of jobs is found via networking, they are unlikely to be in the statistics which would likely skew the numbers considerably.
On top of that, those we find may not fit our background or we might simply not be interested in them.
If you want to see which jobs are in demand abroad right now, one trick is to search for jobs on Linkedin in your country of choice and look for patterns in the jobs that are open right now. For example, if our background is in digital marketing and we are looking to work in Singapore, we can get a baseline overview of what kind of companies are looking to hire and which types of jobs they are looking for.
For those who are serious about landing a job abroad
The reality is that just because a job is in demand, it doesn’t mean that they are going to hire us or that the company is in demand for us.
For those of us who are serious about finding in demand jobs abroad, we benefit from narrowing down the search by getting specific because it is more difficult to get SOME job abroad than something we are well-qualified for. Shocking, I know.
When employers relocate staff to work abroad, they also wonder if there is someone local who can do the same job or if there’s someone better qualified for it, since they have to make the extra effort anyway. So it will be hard for us to persuade them to choose us if we don’t have some unique edge or advantage that makes them confident in us instead of someone else.
To increase our chances, we need to go for in-demand jobs with an in-demand profile. The best approach here is to focus on our industry of choice and research which countries tend to lead the industry since there is a better chance that more jobs will pop up there than somewhere new.
For example, if we want to work in hospitality, it might make sense to go to a country like Greece where it is the backbone of the economy rather than hope it will become a thing in Afghanistan.
We can again use the guiding examples of industries in demand by country or location from earlier. But that does not mean they will continue to be in demand as things change over time. We need to do our own research based on our specific background and dreams.
Once we have our eyes on which countries and industries we’d like to join, we can do targeted research based on our background to find jobs that are in demand abroad AND that we are able to land.
I’ve found that applying for fewer but more relevant jobs is less stressful and a lot more effective since life gets a lot easier if we are the top choice for the job. The problem comes when we are not the top applicant for any job because our background is too diverse. It’s a balance between finding our sweet spot and doubling down to dominate it.
In the next section, I’ll show you how the pros get new ideas for their dream job abroad and how they get a leg up in landing it. But first, if you already know what you’d like to do I suggest creating LinkedIn job alerts based on your interest like I showed earlier.
Some (dare I say smart) companies create the option to get job alerts when new relevant jobs become available automatically. For example, here’s an example for Wise and their office in Singapore.
We can also set up those job alerts with companies that we are particularly interested in, and we’ll automatically be in the know when they open up. However, the pros, the top performers, take it one step further.
How the pros get job ideas and land their dream job
I discovered that the pros do two extra steps:
a) meet new friends with a professional outlook and learn what kind of jobs and industries they work with to discover new job ideas and insights
b) keep in contact their target companies so they are first in line when (or even before) a new job opens up abroad
The best approach tends to be a systematic one that is easy for us to follow over time. We can set up a system using a simple spreadsheet for it over the course of a weekend, and to make it easy we can create a few basic habits to help us maintain it over the coming months.
When you find a particular company (or sub office) in a certain country that you are interested in, reach out to some of the foreign staff via Linkedin and ask them what process they took to work there. Here’s an example script you can start by using when reaching out:
I’m NAME and I’m on a quest for my dream job abroad. I noticed that you work at COMPANY and I’d love to learn about your experience and which steps you took to get hired there as a foreigner.
Would it be okay if I send 3 quick questions?
Thanks! I’m looking forward to it,
- How did you first hear about your current job?
- In your own opinion, what made you stand out and land the job?
- How do you suggest someone else can best position themselves for a similar job abroad?
After speaking to a few you’ll begin to form a pattern that you can replicate to land your own job which is great because you know it already works.
- There are lots of jobs abroad but it doesn’t help if we are not interested in them or they are not a good fit
- Going the extra mile to get to know the people working at companies you are interested will give you a huge advantage when the right job comes along