How to Get a Job in Europe as an American - I Love Moving

How to Get a Job in Europe as an American

Posted Country Guides / January 22, 2020
Blake Shaw

Bostonian and residential moving and packing expert. Blake Shaw enjoys bar-hopping, music, and writing insightful content.

Because of the familiar feel and widespread use of the English language, the Old Continent is very popular among expats coming from the US. But before setting your international relocation into motion, you should find out how to get a job in Europe as an American.

It is notably easier to adjust to living abroad if there is an active expat community and no language barrier like in the UK and Ireland. Although the idea of moving to Taiwan may seem more exotic, it may be a lot harder to overcome the difference in living standards, cultural and social norms. The more exotic the place you go, the more challenging adjusting to a new country will be.

Europe is the Old Continent, the mothership of American and Australian settlers, so it’s no wonder you might feel much more at home there. Since it is so diverse and colorful, you’ll have many opportunities to learn a new language, visit places that were the birthplace of modern Western society, have great vacations by the sea, and a very active nightlife. But all these things cost money, so before you set sail across the Atlantic Ocean, let’s see how you can find employment and sustain yourself in Europe.

How to Get a Job in Europe as an American: What Are the Requirements and Where to Look?

The good news is that there are many career opportunities for American citizens in European countries and it is also not very hard to apply for a position and receive a legal work visa, especially in the Schengen area. After all, one in four Americans that leave the States move to live and work in the Old Continent. Besides, you should also apply for a residency visa for you and your family if you are moving with them.

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First Step – Know What Type of Work to Look For in Europe

Most young professionals that relocate to European countries are working in the IT sector or land a position in teaching English as a foreign language. Other professions in high demand include doctors, engineers, certain mechanics, etc.

How to Polish Your Resume: a Foolproof Method to Get a New Position in Europe

Although applying for a position in one of the European countries doesn’t differ that much from doing it in the US, there are still some slight adjustments that should be made in your resume:

  • The tone is a bit more informal and friendlier
  • It usually contains 2-4 pages
  • You can, and sometimes really should include your marital status and gender
  • You need a photo on the header of your resume
  • Emphasize that the international relocation is not a problem for you

The template for an EU CV is a bit different, and it might be best to stick to it if you aren’t sure how to do it properly at first. Later on, you’ll learn how to customize it.

Questions Related to Work and Living Arrangements You Should Ask Your Employer

Once you land a perfect opportunity, you would still have to determine some details with your potential employer. In many big international companies, employers cover the whole process of relocation and they are obliged to assist their foreign employees in acquiring a legal work visa. However, it is never a bad idea to get an in-depth insight into the whole agreement you are going to make with the company. You should know your obligations and the details concerning your relocation and legal stay and employment in the country. These are only short snippets of the most important questions you should ask your employer:

  • What is your career path in the company?
  • What is the cost of living in the country?
  • What is a living standard like?
  • What are your obligations and what is the company policy like?
  • How much of the relocation process will the employer be able to take on?
  • Will they make at least temporary living arrangements for you?
  • What is the health care package like?
  • Does the relocation package include your family?
  • What are the penalties if you terminate your contract sooner?

What Do You Need to Apply for a Position and Get a Work Visa for European Countries

The answer to this question will largely depend on the specific country in the Old World you’re planning to settle in. Although there is no universal work visa for the whole continent, it is a pretty straightforward procedure that is very similar for most countries. In most of them, you will need to acquire and fill out the following:

  • A completed application form and one photocopy
  • Two identical photos of you
  • A valid passport
  • A return flight reservation
  • Medical insurance
  • Proof of accommodation
  • An employment contract
  • Proof of any academic qualifications
  • Any proof of language knowledge

What Are the Best Places in the Old World to Move to for Work and a Different Lifestyle

Maybe it goes without saying, but the best places for Americans to land a position here are the English-speaking nations. Nevertheless, there are also many other popular locations among US citizens where Spanish, French or German are official languages. Besides moving to the UK, which is a top choice for US expats, other popular European countries to consider relocating to are:

Working and Living Overseas: Things You Should Know

Before you finalize your decision to move, you should be aware of a few things. It is never easy to move far away from home, and even if you take it as an adventure that will bring new opportunities, tread carefully. Get as much information about your potential destination as possible before you move. Even if something seems like a perfect fit at first glance, it might disappoint you in the long run:

  • Check the living standard and the living environment
  • Political and social structure are more important than you might think initially
  • Climate is a big factor that will influence your daily life; you may not be able to cope with some of the harsher weather conditions
  • You would want to know all the required procedures for your legal stay and employment
  • Culture and social norms may not be to your liking
  • Language is an important factor
  • If you are moving with pets, you should know all the requirements you have to fulfill to get them into the country
  • If you are moving alone, you should know how hard it would be to make acquaintances and friends

Now That You Know How to Get a Job in Europe as an American, You’re Going to Need Some Packing and Moving Tips

When you are relocating, especially if it’s somewhere abroad, you should have a specific set of rules to serve as at least as some kind of guide. It is never easy to pack your belongings and start your life elsewhere, but if you organize properly, it shouldn’t be much of a problem either. Here are some handy international relocation tips to help you with that:

  • Create a packing and moving agenda
  • Declutter your home and don’t bring excess with you
  • Get informed on the regulations of the country you are moving to; you may not be able to bring all your belongings
  • Hire a reliable international shipping company if you want your belongings to arrive on time to the intended destination
  • Gather boxes and other moving supplies
  • Pack your daily necessities and bring them with you.

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