So many times it’s happened that, upon return (if such is in the cards) home, one is left to find a job without much ‘experience’. Maybe you were teaching yoga on a beach in Thailand. Or rehabilitating elephants in India, or building playgrounds in Iceland. Not that these aren’t viable ways to occupy time and help people/animals, but on a resume, it’s not going to look so great.
A lot of people seem to get stuck in the cycle of jobs abroad being limited to “ESL teacher, tutor, fitness teacher, or doing ‘online work’ or ‘freelancing’. All in all, not the most impressive start to a real-world career. Not that one ‘quits the 9-5’ to travel the world to have an impressive real-world career, but for those who never had that 9-5 to begin with, the transition can be full of disappointment.
Some more viable overseas options to develop your real-world skills include:
Journalist: I know that sounds fancy, but overseas there is fewer competition for English speaking journalists, and far more demand, depending on where you are.
This not only looks great on a resume, it’s also fun and a great way to meet people you’d never normally have access to (such as, visiting royalty, presidents, ambassadors, movie stars etc. Not to mention, free concerts!)
Editor: You speak English. They don’t. Who here hasn’t seen a menu/billboard/magazine/candy bar/park sign that couldn’t use a little tweaking? There is a HUGE demand for editing services overseas, and a native-english speaker is GOLD. Double points if you also speak the local language and can translate.
Business consultant: This also sounds scary because who really knows business. But you do, you really do! Especially in terms of overseas companies who are hoping to make it big in Western markets. You’re their best access point to ‘how things are done’ and ‘who to market to’, which leads to the next job…
Marketing/advertising: Social media all day every day? Yes, please. So many companies have NO idea what’s happening in the social media world and how important it is in terms of gaining new clients and reaching new markets. You may have to be “marketing consultant, party of one” for this one if there isn’t a firm or any business established already to be hired to, but the rewards are outstanding.
University teacher: A step up from “I taught adorable 3 year olds how to sing “head and shoulders”, and looks infinitely better on a resume. Also, the opportunity to not just teach language but presentation skills, marketing, social media, culture, or something you have a degree in such as business or history, can go a long way in gaining amazing experience to parlay into a great job when returning home.
A lot of these jobs can be done remotely, of course, giving one more free time to relax and travel and explore the majesty that the world has to offer, without risking that awkward question of “sooo…what have you been doing for the last 6 years?” You don’t risk that oh-so-embarrassing gap in employment, but you also don’t necessarily need to divulge how many hours were spent DOING that job. Maybe your time spent editing was only 5 hours a week, with a good pay-out. No one needs to know that. What they care about was “I was responsible for editing the annual financial report for the Government of Myanmar” or “I was the speechwriter for the President of Indonesia”.
Where to start and list of resources (just make sure if you’re working for yourself, to follow the local regulations and guidelines for tax payments, if applicable):
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