Navigating Overseas Employment: A Comprehensive Guide

Lauren McKnight

Living overseas as a military spouse presents a unique set of challenges, one of the most significant being finding employment. The process of securing a job in a foreign country can seem daunting. However, with the right resources and strategies, it’s entirely feasible. Let’s break down the steps to kickstart your job search while living overseas.

Step 1: Determine Your Employment Goals

Before diving into the job market, it’s crucial to define what type of employment you’re seeking and understand the legalities involved. Depending on your status and location, regulations may vary significantly. You will want to familiarize yourself with the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) governing your host country. This agreement outlines the rights and privileges of military personnel and their dependents, including employment provisions.

Step 2: Explore Different Employment Options

Once you’ve clarified your employment goals, it’s time to explore various avenues tailored to your situation:

  • Federal Employment:

If you’re interested in working for the U.S. government, navigating the federal job market can be complex. Fortunately, resources such as USAJobs and specialized federal employment pages on platforms like LinkedIn can help you identify opportunities. Additionally, consider reaching out to Hire Heroes USA Federal Specialists for guidance on crafting federal resumes and navigating the application process.

  • Contractor Employment:

Many overseas installations rely on contractors to fulfill various roles. To find contractor opportunities, utilize resources like community services offices, attend job fairs, and join location-specific social media groups. Transition Assistance Program offices may also provide valuable insights into local contractor listings.

  • Home-Based Business (HBB):

Operating a home-based business overseas requires careful consideration of legal and logistical factors. Seek guidance from legal offices on the installation for assistance with business registration and compliance. Adhere to universal rules for operating a business overseas, including tax obligations and restrictions on using military mail services.

  • US-Based Employment:

If you prefer working for U.S.-based companies while residing overseas, explore remote job opportunities offered by organizations like Deloitte, Comcast, Appen, G-P/Globalization Partners,  Lumen, Leidos, Booz Allen Hamilton, and  Squared Away. These companies often hire remote employees worldwide, providing flexibility for individuals living abroad.

Step 3: Remember that Networking Is Key

Regardless of the employment path you choose, networking remains a vital component of your job search strategy. Actively engage with professionals in your field on platforms like LinkedIn, join industry-specific groups, and participate in local networking events. Building a robust professional network can uncover hidden job opportunities and provide valuable insights into the overseas job market.

Step 4: Seek Support and Resources

Finding employment while living overseas can be overwhelming, but you’re not alone in this journey. Take advantage of resources offered by military installations and Hire Heroes USA such as career counseling services, LinkedIn reviews, and mock interviews. Stay proactive, keep on top of job market trends, and leverage available support to maximize your job search success.

In conclusion, securing employment while living overseas requires diligence, resourcefulness, and a proactive approach. By understanding your employment goals, exploring diverse opportunities, and tapping into available resources, you can navigate the overseas job market with confidence. Remember, with the right strategy and support, your dream job abroad is within reach.

Lauren McKnight is a Transition Specialist with the Serving Spouses Team at Hire Heroes USA. As an Army Spouse, she understands the hardships that come with each PCS. Lauren has been through the fear of not being able to find employment after living overseas and raising her family for a few years. Because of that, she wants to be able to help other spouses overcome those same challenges. Lauren has a background working in nonprofits and higher education. In her most recent experience, she worked in HR and learned recruitment processes. Now, she is able to advise and guide her clients utilizing her recruitment knowledge and HR skills. Lauren has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and is happy to finally be giving back to others in a way that impacts her very own community.