How to Work Abroad Without Experience

Getting a job abroad can be a lot simpler than getting a job at home—even if you want to work abroad without experience. These eight steps will help turn you into an open-minded, motivated and, ultimately, hirable prospective employee.

For those who have what it takes to say goodbye to the familiarities, securities and comforts of home for a life overseas, working abroad makes travel financially feasible.

And the good news is that finding work overseas can oftentimes be even easier than finding work at home. This is especially true for those without any work experience in the States. You essentially need experience to get experience and, overseas, there isn’t quite the same catch-22.

So how do you get work abroad without experience? In short: Professionalism and persistence.

1. Get Certified to Work Abroad Without Experience

OK, there isn’t actually a certification for working abroad without experience. However, getting certified to do something will make you far more hireable.

You could get an RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) certification to travel and work in Australia in the hospitality sector (it’s literally a one day class). Or you could get a plumbing certification. Or, really, a certification in any field that shows you have a skill and take it seriously.

These certifications give you the one up over everyone else and oftentimes they don’t take much effort to get. Even if your qualification isn’t accepted in the country you’re traveling to, it proves—without a reasonable doubt—that you have some idea about what you’re doing.

Working abroad can take you all over the world
Getting the necessary qualifications is the first step to working abroad without experience

Many of the readily available jobs abroad are openings for English teachers since the use of the English language is evermore widespread across the globe. In fact, about 375 million people speak English around the world, and there are more than 50 English-speaking countries in which English is either the official or primary language.

This means that, for native English-speakers, it’s quite easy to get by in most corners of the globe. For non-English speakers, knowledge of the language is considered a coveted skill.

While it could certainly help you get a job, you don’t need to be a teacher or have a degree to teach English classes overseas. What you might need, however, are some qualifications for teaching English abroad.

Though some schools don’t necessarily require any qualifications if you have an impressive résumé and are fluent in the language, preference tends to be given to those who have some sort of certification.

The Two Most Popular ESL Qualifications:

  • TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate
  • CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults)

The most common and easiest qualification for those interested in teaching English abroad is the former, which is a 120-hour online course.

I recommend getting your TEFL certificate through a program called i-to-i because it’s reasonably priced and it gives you access to an extensive job board upon completion. There are other companies which are slightly cheaper, but they don’t offer the same kind of access to around-the-world job placements.

Ultimately, the TEFL course will give you a good idea of what to expect as a teacher and will prepare you for lesson plan ideas, behavior management skills and cultural sensitivity training.

You have potential to make some great money as an English teacher in the UAE
You have potential to make some great money as an English teacher in the UAE

Courses for a CELTA are more expensive and far more demanding. So you may want to research the school to find out more about their qualification preferences. Then decide which route to go.

Teaching English abroad is popular, but it isn’t the only work abroad option. Anything that requires you to get a simple certification or any other easy qualification—run and get it.

This can be your golden ticket to working abroad without experience. And it doesn’t involve having to sell your soul at a crappy job to gain experience beforehand!

2. Keep an Open Mind

Beggars can’t be choosers, right?

Okay, maybe you’re not actually begging for a job overseas, as enticing as a life abroad sounds. But if you’re at all interested, you still need to keep an open mind about the jobs available to you because the fact of the matter is: You’re trying to get work abroad without experience.

Inevitably, a lack of experience limits your options—as in, you might not be able to land a job in some specialized field building AI robots, curing pandemic diseases or filing people’s taxes (because who really understands how to do that even with experience!?).

But your lack of experience doesn’t make landing a job an impossible feat. You just need to be open to different types of work.

You could work abroad on a cruise ship and get views like these!
You could work abroad on a cruise ship and get views like these!

Many of the readily available jobs overseas are part-time gigs like hostel work (which usually comes in exchange for free accommodation, too), manual labor like farming in Costa Rica, serving or bartending in Australia, care-taking in Italy or running tours or adventure activities in Thailand.

The most popular overseas jobs, according to Go Overseas, include teaching English, supporting a family as an au pair, WWOOF-ing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, a network through which independent farms welcome international workers in exchange for food and accommodation), fostering tourism as a hostel employee and working as a freelancer in some way.

3. Consider Volunteering First

Maybe you don’t have paid experience just yet, but having any kind of experience is hugely advantageous. Volunteering, for one, proves that you’re a hard worker who is keenly interested in working in whatever field in which you choose to volunteer because you’ve spent your free time doing it without compensation anyway.

There is a wealth of volunteer work available, both at home and overseas. And the fact that you want work abroad without experience is often totally fine since you’re not getting paid. They can’t be too picky, right?

Hiking in Viñales
Volunteer work can be a stepping stone to obtaining work abroad without experience

You can volunteer before you travel or go to your destination of interest and volunteer while you’re there. If you choose to do the latter, you might even have the option to move up. You could go from a volunteer to a paid employee eventually.

Most volunteer programs will pick you up, put you up and feed you; you usually just have to cover the cost of getting there. Travel and medical insurance are often added bonuses, plus support from on-site staff.

Through programs like Worldpackers, Go Overseas, Go Abroad, Projects Abroad and Cross-Cultural Solutions, you can sort your many options by country, price or cause.

4. Make Yourself Easy to Hire

The application process for a lot of jobs can be grueling and, oftentimes, long. You may have to go through multiple rounds of interviews since the job is located abroad and, therefore, your employers won’t necessarily get to meet you in person before they hand the job over to you.

They’ll want to feel confident that they’re hiring someone they can trust to do the job and do it well, but they’ll need to build that trust virtually, which can take some more time and effort.

You can make this process easier for them by having all of your documents ready before even applying—this shows them that you are both prepared and eager to work.

If you haven’t gotten your passport yet, that should be the first thing you acquire. Without it, forget getting work abroad without experience since you won’t even make it on a plane!

You should also make sure you have any necessary qualifications the job requires, as well as any certificates to prove those qualifications, at the ready.

Mount Fitz Roy in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field
Many people choose to work abroad in South America

Then, if you go to a country’s official government website, it’ll tell you what your work visa options are based on if already have a job offer, your citizenship and your age.

You may also want to gather information like your bank account and routing numbers or have a PayPal account already set up, depending on how the company for which you’ll work pays employees. While this may seem like jumping the gun, you don’t want to waste anyone’s time during the application or on-boarding process.

At the end of the day, you’re trying to obtain work abroad without experience. Make the process as seamless as possible for the employer so you are a more enticing hire.

5. Go Through a Working Holiday Program

To take some of the edge off, there are programs that help expats find work overseas while they’re abroad.

First, you’ll need to get yourself a working holiday visa like this one in New Zealand or this one in Australia. Once you obtain a proper visa, you can join programs that would help you to more easily find odd work abroad without experience.

Programs like Placement International, for example, will give you access to job portals and a staff that can help place you. Green Heart is another organization that will actually hire and host you, so you’ll get a job and a place to post up. That’s hard to beat!

6. Harness the Skills You Already Have

Boast the experience you do already have—and we all have experience in something, whether those are skills applicable to a teaching position or a career as a digital nomad of some kind.

Whatever it is that you can do well, put together a portfolio to showcase those skills.

Someone may not pay you at first, but you have to start somewhere! You should have something tangible to prove to prospective employers that you are, indeed, a practiced professional.

How to Get a New Zealand Working Holiday Visa
There are worse places to work abroad than New Zealand…

If you have a niche skill, you should look into obtaining a work visa for it. Some countries actually provide work visas for certain skillsets.

If you’re thinking about finding work abroad without in experience in New Zealand, for example, first look into the aforementioned Working Holiday program. And if that doesn’t suit, you might be able to apply to one of the following visas depending on your skillset:

  • The Skilled Migrant Category Resident Visa—for people with skills, experience and qualifications for New Zealand to grow its economy
  • The Essential Skills Work Visa—for those offered full-time jobs in New Zealand by employers who’ve already checked if any New Zealanders were available to do the work
  • The Specific Purpose Work Visa—for those who have skills or expertise that’ll benefit New Zealand
  • The Post Study Work Visa—for recent graduates who studied in New Zealand and were offered an opportunity to work in the same area as their qualification
  • And plenty more, too!

You may possess a needed skill and not even know it yet! New Zealand and Australia are two of the easiest countries to work abroad for Americans. But, depending on your circumstances, there may be other countries you’re eligible to work in, too.

7. Be Willing to Accept the Risk, and Reap the Rewards of Working Abroad

You won’t always get the exact job you want the first time around. And you can’t always get jobs before you travel. Sometimes, you just have to show up and wing it.

Seasoned travelers seldom have fixed plans. And, as someone who is going to be working and living in a new place for an extended period of time, you cannot have the mindset of someone who’s just on vacation.

That means no stress. No strict agenda. And no fixed timeline by which to abide—just be willing to go out there and give it your best shot. You have to be open to what happens.

Fist pump at the lake
Got a job—fist pump!

When you get there, you need to be confident and persistent. You should be just as you when applying for jobs at home. That means sending hundreds of applications to the gaping abyss that is the internet.

Bring copies of your résumé with you as you roam the city. Stop in to speak with managers at bars and restaurants, at tour companies, in schools and more. Just put it out there that you are looking for work.

When we put things out into the universe, it conspires to help us.

The more people you speak with, the more connections you’ll make. Eventually, someone will know someone who will know someone who needs a worker. And that worker will be you.

8. Take Advantage of Your Social Networks

Social networks are called social networks for a reason—they exist to connect people. Utilize networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook. You can connect with hiring managers or people who’ve worked abroad where you want to work. Then they could possibly recommend you.

You could also join Facebook groups for specific niches within particular regions (i.e. bartenders in Melbourne, jobs in Queenstown, NZ). Leverage those groups to help yourself find work by letting people know that you are coming and looking for employment. A lot of these groups are solely for helping people find work and helping managers find employees.

If you conduct yourself like a professional and persist, you will find work abroad without experience. And you’ll work your way up if it’s not the job you wanted. Keep an open mind and keep confident, and you could travel the world and make money while doing it.

Are you thinking about working abroad but don’t have any experience? Let us know what your sticking points are in the comments below!

Work Abroad FAQs

How can I work in another country with no experience?

Getting a TEFL certification is one of the best ways to work in another country without work experience.

Can you work and travel?

Absolutely. There are many different career options that allow you to work and travel at the same time.

Which job is best for Traveling?

Some of the best travel jobs include bartending, teaching English online, freelancing, or working on a cruise ship or yacht.

How can I make money while traveling?

Ways to make money while traveling include picking up short-term jobs, teaching English online, starting a blog, or becoming a freelancer.

What is the highest paid traveling job?

Working as a remote software engineer is one of the highest-paying jobs that allows you freedom to travel.

About the Author

AnnaMarie Houlis

AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for solo travel. She's an editor by day and a travel blogger at by night.
  1. Thanks a lot for this wonderful info, Some people especially in Africa travel abroad for work and they fail to follow rules and regulations and this may lead to deportation.

    Thanks very much.


  2. my name is Daniel Alfeus. I’m originally in South Africa. i went through Internet to search for overseas jobs, I ain’t have any qualifications because i grow up poor..i always work hard to search for any job which it can make me help my family and i’m a hard worker as well

  3. Great post. There are a lot of great jobs abroad. We’ve lived and worked abroad for 10 years between Spain and Japan. Best part is living rent free because the companies we’ve worked for have always paid for housing. Recently my wife and I created a video( identifying the Top 5 Companies Always Hiring Abroad. We made the video to inspire others to pursue a career abroad and to show them just how easy it is to find a job.

    The video can be found on YouTube at our Channel: Our Rich Journey.

    Look for “Working Abroad – Top Five Companies Always Hiring”

    1. Hello friend’s nice to share experience find the job oversea’s. Hopefully we will succeed together. God Bless Us.

  4. Hello I’m 34 and trying to start again in life. I have had health issues and had to put my life on hold until now. Is it impossible to get opportunities at this age without experience? I don’t have a degree yet.

  5. Hi Thenkyou very much for your advice.. Am on it am a go getter, keep up. your awesome one of a kind to give us such an important tips .

  6. hello im still searching jobs i really want to work in new zealand but they dont have job to suit for me as well my skills is to cleaning the house and also taking care of child.

  7. My name Hilarius Sudi, my experience as maintenance manager for American Company for 24 year’s. I would like to find job oversea’s even I was 54 years old. Is it possible to get the job for me? I am health and fit. Thanks

  8. Hi I am living currently in south Africa my husband is looking for an auto electrician job a broad I am very good in the financial side and are a good cook and live kids as wel we both can drive and are healty very gym crazy. We want to go abroad if there is a good Samaritan to to help us. We have our own business but want to leave south africa

  9. Hello my name is Carolyne
    I’m from Africa,
    Am a Kenyan,
    I have been working as a Nanny for 5 years, am good with kid’s , I can help with their studies, I can do house chores, furthermore am friendly.
    I would be so happy to get any full-time live in opportunity.
    Thanks in advance.

  10. Hi I am from India looking for job abroad in country like Australia or New Zealand. It can be any kind of work. I would be heartly thankfull if any one of you could provide be a good job.

  11. Hi there , l am Zandie female adult 29 currently in the civil servant sector in Zimbabwe wishing to have a carrier growth abroad ,l don’t mind exploring and learn more in different job categories anyone with help on how l can engage or steps to voluntary work abroad eg U.K

  12. Hi my name is Primerose. I am Zimbabwean lady aged 30 qualified as a refrigeration and airconditioning mechanic willing to work abroad .Currently I am staying in South Africa

  13. The benefits of working abroad besides earning money, you can also experience new places and meet new people. And this experience is you will never soon to forget. I’m going to try all of the tips that you’ve mentioned above. Thank you so much!

  14. Hi I’m Joicy Mandizvidza from Zimbabwe I’m 49 years old.I’m a nail technician but I’m looking for any job abroad,I also worked as a host on a guest house I can do any job.

  15. i am working as a waiter at five star hotel,but because corona the tourism isn’t like before,so i am looking forward to work abroad ,i would like to inform you that my English language is good and i am 55 years old.i would grateful if you help me or guide me to the right way.thank you

  16. Hi my name is Edwina Galant im a 25year old from South africa i search the interner to find work abroad i dong have any qulifications except my high school sertidicit i have working experience in factory work for 5 years.If you can apply me with any kind off job i dont mind exploring and learning…

  17. Hi my name is Edwina Galant im a South African woman..i am looking to find work abroad ….i have been working in a factory for 5 years .I have an matrick sertificit…..i would love to work in a countrys like Australia and New could be any kind off job….i dont mind exploring and learning more…i am an hard working woman and does not mind working on weekends …..

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