Moving abroad to work is a big decision and you want to ensure you have done enough research to pick a job which meets (and hopefully exceeds) your expectations. To make sure that you are applying for jobs which are right for you, I would recommend asking yourself the following 6 questions to help you narrow down your search.
1) Do I want to have a job lined up before I leave?
Your answer to this question will most likely depend on how much money you already have saved up and how organised you like to be. Do you feel comfortable landing in a new country and then trying to find a job? This may give you time to get to know an area and double check you like it, before you get a job, but obviously there will be a lot of uncertainty and it is a bit more risky.
If you want to secure a job before you go, then you need to figure out where you want to go, ensure you can get a visa and then decide on the type of job you want to do. If you line up a job before you leave home, then this will allow you to be more organised, such as finding somewhere to live and researching the country/area you will be moving to in advance.
2) Where Can I Get a Visa to Work?
The key thing is to ensure that you can legally work in your chosen destination before you start spending too much time researching and applying for jobs, to then find out that you can't get a visa. When you apply for your job, if you have any questions then ask questions in your interview, particularly if you want the company to pay for your visa documents. Gov.uk, particularly the foreign travel section is really helpful. Different countries inside and outside the EU have different requirements, depending on various factors.
3) How long do I want to work for?
You need to have a rough idea of how long you want to work for, so you can narrow down your search. Some jobs will last for a month, while others could be up to a year, so you need to decide how long you want to commit to the role. Some people will work for six months and try to save as much money as possible to enable you to continue to travel for a further six months. If you know you only want to work for a maximum of 6 months, double check the job description to ensure it's not over this period, so you don't waste your time applying.
4) How Much Do I Want to Save?
After you have decided where you want to work and for how long, you can start to figure out how much you need to save. It will also depend if you want to continue travelling after you have finished your job abroad. Where you decide to work will also heavily impact on how much you need to save, for example you won't need as much if you work in India compared to Japan. Obviously the salaries will be lower in places like India, but your living costs should be a lot less than at home.
You need to make the decision if your aim is to break even and have the experiences or if you want to come away with savings and are in it for the money. I have a detailed blog on how I saved money to travel the world, which you can read here.
5) What Jobs match my Interests?
Rather than just applying for jobs because of the salary, you should make sure your new job matches your interests, as you don't want to take a job for the money and find out after a week that you hate it. Is your priority to travel or is it professional development? You may have to make a compromise on either money or your professional development so this is why you need decide what your priority is before you start your search. More importantly, you want to make sure that you enjoy your time off, rather than rushing into something that you regret.
6) What new skills do I want to learn?
Moving abroad to work is a great opportunity to learn new skills or develop pre-existing skills. Write a list of skills that you want to develop during your time off and have these in mind when researching jobs. It may be a good idea to link these skills back to your profession, so when you return home from abroad, you will have transferable skills. By way of example, you may want to increase your confidence or public speaking and teaching abroad could help you with this.
Finding a job abroad is a daunting process and it can take a lot of research and time to make sure that you find the right opportunity for you. Moving abroad to work is a big decision and shouldn't be rushed.
Asking yourself these six questions in advance will hopefully help you with your search and to narrow down the type of jobs which are right for you. Make sure you are clear in your head about what you want to gain from the job and keep researching until you happy you have found the right role.