By in Country Guides April 14, 2020

Every change in life is difficult, but if you’re planning to find a job across the sea, you’re in for a particularly demanding process. It means saying goodbye to your old way of life and welcoming an entirely new lifestyle. Nevertheless, working in Europe as an American can provide you with a chance to advance your career, or maybe start a new one in a completely different field. But before immersing yourself into a foreign labor market and a different professional culture, you should be clear on everything you are going to need to start your career abroad.

You can choose among many European countries depending on your requirements, skills, and the receptiveness of their job markets to foreign workers. There are plenty of employment opportunities when living in Europe as an American, but you should be familiar with the set of employment laws since they can vary from state to state. We’d like to share with you a handy guide on how to find a job in the Old Continent and what to expect during employee relocation.

Finding your dream occupation in the Old Continent is possible, but be prepared to deal with some paperwork

What to Expect If You’re Planning on Working in Europe as an American

If you think that it’s time to set new goals and tackle new challenges, then crossing the Atlantic could be the perfect next step for you. Especially so if you are familiar with the fact that there are plenty of places struggling with a shortage of highly-skilled professionals. People with a rich professional background and digital experience are usually welcomed with open arms. Here are several useful tips on how to make this process both efficient and stress-free from the beginning until the end.

Americans with IT experience could find the desired position easily

How to Find a Job

If you’re yearning for a successful career in the Old Continent, there are high chances of finding the occupation that suits you the most – you just need to think carefully about several factors.

They are related to your skills, ambitions, and your character because work across the sea, far away from your homeland, requires adjusting to a new country. First things first, you should ask yourself whether you are ready to meet all that is required of you.

You Should Speak the Language of Your New Country

Although English is the most widely spoken language in the world and the unofficial lingua franca of business communication, your employment opportunities could be somewhat limited if you don’t know at least the basics of the local language.

Besides, as a foreign citizen, your employment rights won’t be the same as if you were a native. Before packing your belongings and finding the right answer to the question of how to move overseas, think twice about what kind of jobs you may expect. If you want to find the position that will make you happy regardless of your communication skills, then learning a couple of words and phrases commonly used in your prospective place should be your primary goal.

As a native English speaker, you could have a serious competitive edge if you’re looking for positions where such ability is in high demand, such as:

  • Teaching English
  • Tourism
  • Digital technology
  • Any vocation in the UK and Ireland

Find the Right Job in the Right Place

If you don’t know where to start, big cities should be your first choice due to the sheer number of employment opportunities and the presence of major employers. Of course, the Old Continent has its fair share of bustling capitals and metropolises, but if you prefer a more tranquil environment, islands and northern Scandinavia could be your best bet. Knowing the ambiance and rhythm of the place you are heading to is just as important as having a clear picture of your desired vocation.

If you’re planning to relocate for good, then finding permanent employment options is probably your main goal. However, there are temporary solutions, as well as low-paid or high-paid professions. In any case, before applying for a position, you should format your resume to fit European profession search standards:

  • Your photo is a must, except in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Sweden
  • Limit the length to 2-4 pages
  • The tone should be a bit informal compared to the one used in the US

In case you’re employed in an international company, transferring to one of its foreign offices or branches in Europe could be the least painful and most straightforward way to work out your career and home issues.

The Online Method of Searching for Work

If you’re searching for your employment via employment websites, the method is the same – you should register, complete questionnaires, and finally attach a resume and a cover letter. Some of the best sites for finding jobs for Americans in Europe are:

  • LinkedIn
  • Monster Worldwide
  • Go Abroad
  • Career Jet
  • Going Global
  • Eurojobs
  • JobsIn Network
When moving abroad for work, finding the right place and occupation is paramount.

Most European Countries Demand a Work Visa

Before organizing an international move, there are documents needed to travel abroad you should take care of – a valid Schengen visa or a visa for the non-Schengen area.

In Germany, for instance, Americans can enter without a visa and apply for an employment permit after that. In the UK, on the other hand, there are much stricter controls. You need to have a job lined up for you in the place you’re moving to and a valid UK employment permit before you set foot in the country.

There isn’t a universal permit and a set of employment regulations for the whole EU, even though there’s something called a Blue Card. It is an EU-wide permit, inspired by the US Green Card, which allows highly-skilled workers to live and work in any EU member state, except for Denmark and Ireland.

You’ll Need to Learn About These Visa Requirements

Before going abroad, keep in mind that every region has its own set of rules for foreign citizens whose wish is to start a career within its borders. Luckily, there are several requirements you should expect as mandatory wherever you decide to settle down in the Old Continent:

  • A completed application form and one copy
  • Two photos of you
  • A valid passport
  • A return flight reservation to your starting point
  • Medical insurance
  • Proof of accommodation
  • An employment contract
  • Proof of academic qualifications
  • Proof of language proficiency
If you’re looking for a job in foreign countries, employment permit is mandatory

A Certain Sum of Money Should Be Guaranteed for a Work Permit

If your plan is moving to the UK or Sweden, you need to have a secure position waiting for you. In the UK, you can submit an application for a general visa just in case you are sponsored by your employer – but your prospective salary shouldn’t be lower than $37,500 on average per year. One more requirement related to moving to the UK has to do with your ability to support yourself when you arrive – your personal savings should be at least $1,200.

Before you enter Sweden, for example, you must be offered an employment contract – that’s a condition for getting an employment permit. Your salary shouldn’t be lower than $1,300 per month before taxes. Also, your insurance (life, health, employment, pension) should be provided by your employer.

You should have a position waiting for you before crossing the Atlantic

You and Europe Are Separated By the Atlantic Ocean – and a Few Documents

As we’ve seen, if your dream is to find your home and dream career in Europe, you must meet several conditions. Apart from your strong desire, your profession should be in demand in your destined nation. If you are a skilled worker with extensive experience, that’s just the first step in achieving your goal. Another requirement is knowledge of the local language, and only then can you move on to obtaining the actual work permit. Keep in mind that rules and stipulations for granting employment permits differ from country to country.

Working in Europe as an American has its advantages if an employer offers you a new position. Still, in case your vocation doesn’t appear on the shortage occupation list, finding the right position could be difficult. However, that doesn’t mean there won’t be anything for you – there are still plenty of opportunities for seasonal, freelance, and short-term jobs. Fortune favors the bold – don’t forget that. So dive into your European adventure and find the best European country to live in and start a new career.