How to Find Work Outside the U.S.

In other words, YOU need to get hip to the business environment, political climate, social customs and cultural nuances of the region you're hoping to live and work in.

"It is far more likely that a French bank will transfer you to its Paris branch if you demonstrate communication skills in French and a cultural understanding of the work environment, with the potential taboos," said Gregory Hubbs, editor-in-chief of Transitions Abroad, a clearinghouse for international job information and opportunities.

One of the quickest ways to blow an interview for an international gig is to come off as overly American-centric, warned Steve Watson, managing director of the Dallas office of Stanton Chase International, a global executive search firm.

"Whenever I'm talking to an executive and they start talking about July in the summertime, I start to question, 'Are you a global thinker?'" Watson said.

Of course, experts say, true awareness of a nation's culture is best gained through an extended stay there.

"It's one thing to read news from all over the world," said Rubel. "It's another to actually plant yourself in a different culture and get that firsthand experience."

What if you're a hopeful U.S. expat with zero experience traveling, studying, working or volunteering abroad?

"Go out and get some," Rubel said.

Brush Up on Your Language Skills

Obviously, speaking the local language of the country you hope to call home can only help your cause. But in many cases, Watson said, being bilingual isn't necessary.

"With most multinational corporations, English is now the language used," he said.

What if you're practically fluent in the local tongue? Should you bother taking your language skills to the next level?

"If you are close to business-level proficiency in the local language of the country to which you want to relocate, spend a couple months polishing your skills before approaching the local job market so that you can interview confidently in that language," Laurie Lebrun, a Toyko-based consultant with Major, Lindsey & Africa, an international placement firm for legal professionals, said via e-mail.

Otherwise, Lebrun said, there's no need to hold up your job search for months and months until you're fluent, unless there aren't any opportunities in your field for those who only speak English.

That said, you should always be prepared to acquire a second language on the job.

"Your willingness to learn that language is very important, especially in lower-level jobs" said Watson. "If you're an individual contributor or a first-line or second-line manager, you're going to be expected to converse in the native language to a lot of the workers there."

Visit Your Country of Choice

If you want to step up your international job search, experts say planting yourself in your country of choice and networking your heart out is the way to go.

"If possible, buy a cheap plane ticket and dedicate a week or more to meeting with potential employers in person," Lebrun said. "It will be the best money you ever spent. Waiting for an employer to buy you a ticket can make the difference between you and another candidate getting the job."

Before your trip, Watson said, get in touch with international recruiters and any contacts you can find at the companies you covet to see if you can set up some interviews or informational meetings.

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