I read an article recently on MonsterCollege ranking the 10 best cities for recent college grads to start their careers. Naturally, all 10 of the cities they listed were in the U.S. Now, maybe that’s because Monster makes its money selling job placement services to companies and people in the U.S. Or maybe they really think there’s no point looking beyond the U.S. for work.
The reality is, there are over 14 million out of work people with far more experience than you competing for some of the same jobs you want. And that doesn’t even count the folks who have jobs and are looking for something new.
Average Job Search Takes 8 Months
So my question to you is, “In the face of the worst U.S. job market in a generation, why limit yourself to looking for work in the U.S.? Why not broaden your horizons and look beyond your hometown, even beyond North America and go overseas?”
That’s what I did back in the ’90s. When I was getting ready to graduate from college the job market was weak, but it wasn’t nearly as weak as the job market you’re facing. Today, the average job search takes eight months! How many people do you know who have been looking even longer than that?
5 BIG Reasons I Started My Career Abroad
- Start working right away – The fact is, if you are a native speaker of English and have a four-year college degree you can get a job overseas teaching conversational English to speakers of other languages right away. There are employers in countries like South Korea, Japan, Thailand and China who will hire you, pay your airfare over, set you up with a place to live and put you to work almost immediately. The whole process, from getting hired, getting your work visa to starting work typically takes a couple months. If you’ve got student loans to pay back, getting income quickly is important. It was for me.
- Differentiate yourself from other job candidates when you come back to the U.S. – Having overseas work experience can set you apart from your competition. It shows employers that you’re adaptable, a self-starter and able to get creative and work independently. I speak from experience here, too. After working abroad for seven years after college I came back to the U.S., immediately got interviews with four firms and accepted a marketing position at a major financial services company within 30 days.
- See the world while you’re still young – One of the things that I’m most grateful for is the travel opportunities I took advantage of while still in my 20s. I got to experience places and do things that I probably wouldn’t be able to convince my spouse to do with me and I wouldn’t want to drag my young kids along for. The reality is, all these things add constraints to your time and mobility that you don’t have right now. Take advantage of that freedom while you can. While I was living and working in South Korea, I traveled to more than 20 countries in Asia, Europe and Australia.
- Opportunities to discover your passion – Staying where you’re at, and where you’ve been most of your life, can tend to limit the opportunities you open yourself up to. Launching my career abroad enabled me to get out of my comfort zone and try a lot of different things that I probably wouldn’t have if I had stayed home. In my first three years living in South Korea, I had opportunities to teach English as a second language, work as a consultant for a U.S. company looking to export its products to Korea, edit a book, consult for a Korean company importing products from the U.S. and write freelance travel articles for a newspaper. Those varied experiences enabled me to discover what kinds of work played to my strengths and then I was able to focus on finding other similar types of work.
- More disposable income – One thing I’ve learned after moving back to the U.S. is that people who can actually put some money away at the end of the month are a tiny minority. Most people in the U.S. (and Canada, England and Australia, for that matter) live paycheck to paycheck. For most American (or Canadian, English or Australian) expatriates that’s just not the case. For Americans, your first $92,900 in foreign-earned income is excluded from U.S. tax in 2011, and tax rates and real cost of living in many countries are significantly lower than in the U.S. So, even if you earn a smaller income before taxes, in many overseas markets you’re putting more of what you make in your pocket (or your bank account).
Those are five things that moving to Hartford or St. Louis, two of the cities on the MonsterCollege list, won’t get you. Most likely, what taking a job in one of the places on that list will get you is what it gets most Americans these days: More debt and the feeling that you’re working just to pay your bills – instead of working to enjoy your life.
“The sun is always shining somewhere.” – Stanley Ho
And if you’re ready to get serious about working abroad you can download my free guide, “Get A Job Overseas In 90 Days” — [http://www.RecentGradsOnly.com/get-a-job-overseas-in-90-days]
Dylan Alford is publisher of [http://www.RecentGradsOnly.com], the leading website and newsletter dedicated to the empowerment of recent college graduates.