How to Get a Job in Europe as a Non-EU Applicant

by Natalie Severt

Has it always been your dream to travel and live in Europe?

Maybe you should just quit your job and do it. All you have to do is buy the tickets and start an Instagram account, right?

Well, not quite.

If you want to live and work inside the European Union, there are a few things you'll need to know.

First, meet the new monkey on your back - visa paperwork. Mountains of it.

Not to mention language barriers, culture shock, and chronic bouts of homesickness.

Still want to go? Great!

Here are a few tips that will help get you started on the right foot.

Most Countries Have Different Visa Requirements

Start by researching the visa and work requirements for the country of your choice. Each country has different visa laws.

For example, I've lived and worked in Poland for the better part of a decade. I can only work here as long as my employment doesn't take a job away from a Polish citizen.

That means I must have specialized skills that are either non-existent on the market or are inherently impossible for a Polish person to have. Like having a mother tongue other than Polish.

Countries like the UK or Denmark are completely different. Denmark uses a system called the “Positive List” scheme. The UK uses something similar. Both countries look for workers who have skills that are in short supply.

These schemes are point-based and give you priority if you have skills, experience, and education that is above average or highly specialized. Let's put it this way, it's best if you're a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist if you want to work in Denmark.

Once you actually start the visa process, you must prove on a regular basis that you make enough money, have a place to live, and pay your taxes.

Your CV Doesn't Have to be Completely Different

There are two things you should consider when it comes to your CV.

First, putting a professional photograph or hobbies and interests on your CV is standard in countries like Poland. Your CV will look odd without them.

Research CVs in your prospective country to see what the differences are so you can tailor your resume to country requirements.

Second, consider writing your CV both in your native language and in the language of your chosen country. Remember that some European countries, such as Belgium, have more than one official language.

You will especially want multilingual versions of your CV if you're applying for a job that will use your language skills. Send both copies of your CV unless instructed otherwise.

You Should Check Cultural Differences Before Moving

Living in a foreign country isn't for everyone. It can be incredibly alienating and lonely. Make sure that you're moving to a country and city that you like.

It's also good to have some personal connections in place from the beginning. I recommend looking beyond expat groups for friends and contacts. It's best to have someone who can help you out with things like ordering pizza in Hungarian. And no, not everyone in Europe speaks English.

If you're an English native speaker, I recommend picking up at least a few phrases and being prepared to assimilate at least a tiny bit.

Key Takeaway

Working abroad can be a life-changing experience. It can also be overwhelming. The more you've prepared through research and networking the easier it's going to be for you.

About the writer

Natalie is a writer at Assignment Bro and a career expert at Your Resume Builder. She writes about how to create successful essays and resumes so that you can land your dream job. When she isn't writing, she eats tacos and reads complicated novels


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