Trailing Spouses – Looking for Work

If you’re a spouse planning to work in a new overseas location then it’s important to start your research as soon as you can and certainly long before your departure.  Here are some tips; many came from the presentation made at the FIGT Conference by Susan Musich of Passport Career.


Can you work legally?  Many countries restrict the visas of accompanying spouses, some don’t even allow unpaid (volunteer) work.  If you face this situation, investigate whether you can obtain your own independent work visa if you are able to find employment.  It may be possible to exit the country and re-enter on a new employment visa.


  • Is there a demand for your profession/skills in your new location?
  • Are there nationality restrictions in certain job sectors?
  • What is the local business culture?  Think dress code, verbal and non-verbal communications (greetings, eye contact, shaking hands), punctuality, gender and age.
  • If applying to an international company, do they hire locally or from head office?


The importance of networking cannot be overstressed.  It’s generally accepted that only 20% of jobs are advertised.  If you don’t network you are missing a huge pool of opportunities.

  • Reach out to your existing contacts (colleagues, friends, relatives) and ask them in turn to use their networks.  Do they know anyone who can provide you with insight, ideas or leads?  It’s surprising once you start getting into friends of friends how far you can reach.
  • If you’re not already using social media, now is definitely the time to start.  LinkedIn in particular is a great way to connect with people in your industry and in the country you’re moving to.  Don’t just set up an online profile – join groups, participate in discussions, answer questions and request recommendations from clients and colleagues.  Hiring managers now search for candidates online and for sure will “Google” you once an introduction has been made.  Many positions are advertised on LinkedIn, both in their Jobs section and within individual Groups. 
  • Once at your destination, join real-world groups in order to network face-to-face.  You may be able to locate them online before arriving.  Look for groups associated with your profession, local chambers of commerce and international groups such as and

In my next post I’ll look at ways to create your own job while overseas.

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