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6 steps to starting a professional career abroad: Part 1

02 July 2019


Step #1: Finding information on jobs abroad

There are lots of job portals, websites and employment services out there, so it’s likely that t European employers use different ones. While you can visit individual sites, there are also a number of European-level organisations and websites to give you a helping hand.

Public employment services and EURES:

  • It’s likely that there’s a local or regional employment office in your area. They’re a great source of advice and there may also be a EURES Staff member based there who can provide personalised one-to-one assistance.


  • EURES organises a range of employer presentations, skills workshops and job fairs in countries across the EU. Visiting these can give you direct access to opportunities, support and advice.


  • The living and working conditions section of the EURES website provides a range of useful information about the realities and practicalities of working in another country.


  • The EURES portal also has a useful ‘Find a job’ search engine where you can define your search by a set of criteria such as country, profession and type of contract. The job vacancies are mainly imported from national databases or submitted directly by European employers. They cover 31 European countries and are updated in real-time to ensure that you always have access to the latest opportunities.


International organisations:

  • Open positions in national and international public institutions are usually published on their respective websites. The EURES portal has a list of international organisations in all the EU Member States and that could also be a great starting point.


  • Details of job vacancies at the European Institutions can be found on the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) website.


Private employment agencies and recruitment agencies:

  • Many EU Member States have both private employment agencies and recruitment agencies, which can offer a wide range of information and support.


Other information sources:

  • Specialised events, websites or online search engines can also be a great way of locating opportunities for recent graduates. The EURES portal has a list of useful links in this area.


  • This list also covers traineeship and work placement opportunities, which means that you can spend some valuable time in the country of your choice while also gaining work experience.


Step #2: Practical and legal aspects of mobility

Moving abroad always comes with practical and legal aspects that need to be considered. Here we look at some of the main questions that you might have.

  • How can I match my skills to a foreign job vacancy? Firstly, try to be flexible about the type of position you’re looking for, as this will give you access to more opportunities. Focus on what your current skills are and how interested you are in learning new ones. Remember that employers are often more interested in your soft skills than your degree or diploma.
  • Is language a problem? 

    Speaking the local language is always going to be an advantage, as are basic English language skills. However, the actual language skills that are required will differ on a job-by-job basis. Whatever the situation, it’s probably worth investing some time in language learning in order to improve your knowledge.


  • Can I keep my unemployment benefit rights in my home country while in another EU Member State and looking for a job? 

    In general, you can transfer your unemployment benefits for three months, although there are strict rules and conditions. Your local employment service or benefits agency should be able to advise you and the

    EURES portal also has some useful information.

  • What legal documents do I need to move abroad? 

    A valid ID card or passport is essential for moving within the EU (and the European Economic Area (EEA)), and there also may be visa and/or work permit requirements if you’d like to go beyond Europe. Your local EURES Staff member and the EURES portal should be able to provide support with this enquiry.


  • What if I’m a non-EU citizen? The EURES online services are open to anyone with access to the internet. However, there are likely to be legal obligations and administrative procedures that apply to non-EU citizens looking to work in the EU/EEA. Ministries of Foreign Affairs can often supply information on legal and administrative requirements.


on the EURES website

Find out more about steps 1 and 2 on the EURES website , and keep an eye out for parts 2 and 3 of this series. Topics under discussion will be applying for a job abroad, interviews and settling in a new country.

Read more:

European Job Days


Find EURES Staff

Living and working conditions in EURES countries

EURES Jobs Database

EURES services for employers

EURES Events Calendar

Upcoming Online Events

EURES on Facebook

EURES on Twitter

EURES on LinkedIn


Please note that neither EURES nor the European Commission endorse any of the third party websites mentioned above