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Life after graduation (I) – Find a job abroad without work experience

Jun 11, 2021 by Monica Garcia

We have already mentioned why everybody should live and work abroad at least once in a lifetime. Indeed, it takes a lot of courage and determination, but the personal and professional benefits from the experience definitely outweigh all the challenges you might encounter! But, what if you are a recent graduate without previous work experience? Is there still a chance to get a job abroad? With effort and perseverance, you already have the attitude to succeed! 

Girls celebrating graduation

Work experience - create your own definition!

Graduating from high school or university means opening the door to a new stage of life. This can be a bit intimidating, and you might feel completely lost in your job search. How are you supposed to get a job if (almost) all jobs require you to have some experience? The key here is thinking about the term “experience” beyond the labour market. You don’t need a resumé with an extensive list of unique roles to claim that you have experience in a field! In other words, the soft and hard skills you have gained in other aspects of your life can count as an experience, and they are totally valid.

Showcase your side projects & related skills

Your side projects are all the extra-curricular activities you have done so far, which can prove that you have acquired some valuable skills doing them. The good practice is to emphasize those skills that are related to the position you are about to apply for, so you tailor your CV to the job.Some of the activities you can add are:

  • Studies abroad - if you want a first job experience abroad and you have already studied or lived abroad, you definitely “must” include this in your CV!
  • Volunteering - it’s definitely an unpaid work experience, and it says a lot about you: that you are brave, proactive and like to be challenged. 
  • Scholarly work / Competitions - everyone has done all kinds of projects at school or university. You can create a portfolio with the most relevant ones. There you can also include pieces of work you have presented to a contest (and you might have even won!)
  • Training / Playing in a sports team - Being part of a team is an excellent way to prove everything from teamwork to dedication, so why not mention it in your CV?
  • Part of a music or theatre group - Same here. Being involved in this kind of activity can show the recruiters that you are brave, confident and assertive, necessary skills for many roles related to customer service or sales!
  • Hobbies and interests - you can also sell yourself by explaining your hobbies and interests. For example, do you like cooking or drawing? It can tell that you are a creative person that can think “out of the box”!

Don’t get overwhelmed by job descriptions

It's true - the requirements defined in a job description still matter in the end. However, keep in mind that those requirements only describe the dream profile for that role. In fact, all companies know that most of their applicants won't check off every single requirement, and it's the soft skills and attitude that will determine if a candidate is appropriate or not for that position. Therefore, it's vital to avoid feeling overwhelmed or discouraged from the requirements. Stay positive, believe in yourself and apply despite feeling like you shouldn't!

Nevertheless, the key here is to find a balance between aiming too high and aiming too low. For instance, it's great to be ambitious, but applying for mid-senior level positions might not be the best strategy (you might feel even more disappointed with the results). On the contrary, think of the companies' flexibility when they require some years of experience in an entry-level position. Apply anyway! 

young man looking for a job abroad

Friends abroad? Contact them!

Besides all the help you can get through Workwide Recruit as a candidate, telling the world that you are currently looking for a job abroad can lead to valuable connections and can be a way to create a precious source of help. Don’t just sit back and watch. Be proactive and reach out to those friends abroad or those who have been abroad, not only to hear if they know about a job you could apply for but also to ask them about their experience and how to approach your job search. Getting to know other expats’ experiences directly can be an inspiration and can make you feel more prepared and confident in your way of chasing a job in your dream location!

In addition, although European cultures are pretty similar and don’t differ that much, there are still some differences to remember when applying for a job. Being aware of the cultural context can give you an edge over other applicants in landing that long-awaited job interview. As a general example, while organisations in Southern European countries value a well-structured CV, companies in Scandinavia tend to care more about what you include in the cover letter. So make sure that your application upholds the standards of the country you are applying to. Even for entry-level international jobs, you will need to tailor your resumé for international jobs, including the entry-level positions. 

Friends looking for a job with no work experience

Consider an internship abroad…

As a recent graduate, it’s reasonable that you want to start working in your chosen field as soon as possible. However, you might not feel ready to apply for an entry-level position yet and prefer to look for an opportunity to put into practice all the knowledge you have acquired in the past years. In this case, securing an internship abroad is indeed an option to consider. It would allow you to accelerate your development, expand your horizons from the beginning and, ultimately, become an ideal career candidate! All balanced with the discovery of a new culture and your love for travel. 

...or find a position within these fields!

Nevertheless, you don’t need to put pressure on yourself and focus only on finding a job or an internship abroad within your field of study. If you are convinced that an experience abroad is your top priority, be open to applying for jobs within other areas! Although they might not be directly related to your background, they will still allow you to embark on an enriching experience from a professional and personal sense.

At Workwide Recruit, we daily list plenty of entry-level positions abroad in different fields, where your native language will be your strongest skill and your competitive advantage! 

  • Customer service:  There are countless customer service jobs available in different countries, and most of them don’t require previous experience! In fact, the training you get before starting working prepares you well enough for all the work tasks. So, if you like talking to people and are a problem solver, this might be the perfect job abroad (and first work experience) for you! 
  • Sales development: The specific work tasks in a sales job will vary depending on the area you are trained in. For instance, if you get a job on a telephone sales service, your job duties will be to arouse interest in a service or even sell it by telephone. The impression you give to potential customers is crucial, so interpersonal skills and being a good listener are essential in this kind of role.

Hospitality (Tourism&Travel): another area where most of the roles do not require previous experience and where the opportunities abound, especially during summer. This field offers many chances for people to work their way up from entry-level roles to management positions! The most important requirement here is to have outstanding communications and teamwork skills, as degrees are optional. Most of the companies offer onboarding sessions at the beginning, but you learn most of your tasks on the job.

Find a job abroad without work experience – is it possible?

Let’s be clear - a job search journey is an emotional rollercoaster and the fact that you lack work experience probably doesn’t make it any better. However, no matter how you go about finding a job abroad, remember that persistence and determination is key. It is not going to be an easy task, but it’s not impossible either. Put in the time and effort, do your research, tailor your CV for the jobs you want to apply for and stay positive!