Application tips for overseas candidates

By Kamahl Connor

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​It’s time to be smart about how you approach applying for jobs abroad. It's time to slap a recruiter square in the jaw with your application.

Lots of recruiters have been burned both in time, expense and commitment by offshore candidates, so the prevailing view is that it's best not to bother with them. It's not about whether you're good for the job. It's about whether you are committed to move to a specific location.

Within the first 5 seconds of looking at your application, recruiters will more than likely delete your CV because the odds aren't favorable. However, within that 5 seconds, we look for certain ‘tells’ that give away whether you’re serious about relocating before we hit the delete key.

Here are some tips which will increase your chances by a large margin:

1. Get a visa

Now, this seems obvious, but it is the most effective way to get noticed. If you DO already have a visa, then plaster it everywhere on your application. Even suffix your name with the visa that you have. Once is definitely NOT enough. Treat recruiters as if we are blind.

2. Create a local number using Skype

Don't put your overseas number ANYWHERE on your application, as this is the number one giveaway that will result in a recruiter deleting your CV. Having a local number will make a recruiter look twice at your application and actually open your CV. Often, we will think you're in the local area. When you do get a call, take it and explain the situation. This may seem underhanded, but we don't care. It shows that you're serious about moving and you have done your research.

3. Be ready to go at 3:32 am in the morning

You can't be precious about taking a call or having an interview in the early hours. You will usually only get one chance and if you are hesitant about this because you need your beauty sleep, then you'll be shelved for good.

4. Create an email address which includes the specific country name

I.e. JohnDoe_NZ@gmail.com if you're looking for jobs in New Zealand.

5. Use local slang/language

For example, using Kia ora in place of Hello is a big tell that you know a bit about New Zealand...another one, cheers instead of thanks. Little things like this go a long way. It shows that you're making the effort to fit in culturally, which is a typical employer concern when hiring overseas candidates.

6. Use specifics about the location where you'd like to work

If you want to work in New Zealand, then in your cover letter you should make sure to say what it is you like about New Zealand and why it is the only country you're considering. For example, if you have family here, if you've visited in the past, if you enjoy the culture, if you like our Prime Minister. Anything specific will catch the eyes of the recruiter. If you can narrow the specifics down to a particular city, then even better.

7. Use the job site particulars to plead your case, not just attachments

You may think attaching a cover letter is enough, but IT ISN'T. You should use everything available to you on the job site. Recruiters have the job site's particulars shoved down their throats before we can even get to the CV or cover letter, so it's the first thing we see. For example, below is what Seek's email UI looks like for us. Don't be afraid to utilise these fields for something else than their original purpose. Use them to maximise your application, as it'll be what you are judged by. Some have a comments section or cover letter field to type in details...USE IT.

Trust me, if you use these tips, then you will have far more success than what you're currently experiencing.

Looking forward to seeing your SLAPplications come through! (Sorry)