Dual career couples: successful job search abroad

For the partners of employees relocating overseas, maintaining a career can be a challenge. Alessandra Gnudi, Executive Director of FOCUS, an organisation that specialises in supporting relocating expats, offers some practical tips for partners aiming to secure that all-important first overseas position.

Festival of Global People Supporter Focus
Dual career couples are these days the norm rather than the exception and this is particularly true for internationally mobile couples. While a relocation overseas may have an impact on partners’ careers, it is possible for them to secure a job in line with their career goals and expectations.Watch highlights from the 2019 Festival:

Transferable skills

An international move can be for partners the perfect excuse to assess their career and provide an opportunity to reinvent themselves. If their professional qualifications aren’t recognised in the new country, they should look at their skill sets and how they could be transferable and relevant for the desired role. Nowadays, it is possible to do something new and completely different than previously, such as work flexibly, if this is something more suitable to the actual lifestyle and personal situation.One of the main challenges that partners face in a new country is understanding the local job market and becoming familiar with the recruitment process. While this can be quite daunting, it is encouraging to know that there is great demand for people with international experience.


In today’s competitive and fast-paced market it is essential that a CV stands out and job seekers should try to sell their international experience as well as their professional expertise and skills to prospective employers. Working with a professional career coach who is familiar with the local job market can help to create an impactful CV that will catch the eye of recruiters and employers and lead to an interview.

Research the job market

The difference in interview process and time frame of a job search, as well as the salary range, can also come as a surprise when looking for work in the UK. We recommend that job seekers take the time to research their industry, identify the local professional bodies and understand career progression in the new market, to have a foundation of local knowledge when they begin searching for a new job.Looking for work requires a lot of perseverance and energy, but playing by the local rules will lead to success. Remember, people are more employable if they are already employed so we encourage partners to take the first good opportunity that is offered, even if it is not the ideal job. Moving on to the next job will be quicker and easier. Taking a volunteer position can deliver local experience (the UK experience that all employers here are looking for!) and often leads to a paid position.


FOCUS is a community for expats by expats. Operating as a non-profit, we are proud to have been providing an award winning support to our members for over 37 years.Their Career Development Programme (CDP) for spouses and partners includes Career Workshops, One-to-One Coaching & Career Seminars and provides all the practical information needed to pursue a career in the UK. For more information please contact office@focus-info.org; www.focus-info.org

Focus is a supporter of the Relocate Awards and Festival of Global People 2019. 

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