The confidence to work abroad

Feb 02, 2022
The Confidence to work abroad 4 tips

 Did COVID travel restrictions put a kibosh on your career plans? Were your daydreams of working abroad scuppered by ScoMo or binned by Boris?

 Dying for the latest series of ‘Wanted Down-Under’ to drop as you’ve seen every past episode 1,567 times?

Having done the switch of living and working in Australia and the UK a few times, here's 4 tips on how to confidently get you priority boarding to your first-class career in a different country.

Are your seatbelts fastened? It's time for take-off.


  1. Be clear on your destination

The thought of sunning yourself on white sandy beaches at the weekends can be intoxicating. Sauntering through cobbled streets soaking in the history-seeped architecture on a Sunday might be more your thing.

But don’t forget the other five days of the week. The ones where you’ll most likely be working in an office sitting next to an identical rubber plant and colleague who speaks too loud on Zoom. It’s the same old stuff, just a different place.

Make sure you know enough of what your WHOLE life will look like, not just the weekends.

And soon enough you’ll be catching up with your family on Skype and trying not to brag about how good it is.

Confidence hack #1:

Before you even start applying for visas, find out as much as you can from other people who have actually lived and worked in that country, city or organisation.  But whatever you do, don’t rely on reports from your Tequila-fuelled backpacking buddies who sleep in a hostel and live off a lentil. It’s not the same.


2) Give your online image a mini-makeover

 You’ve probably heard it before, but I’ll say it again.

Before you even start searching for jobs, check that your online persona matches what you want to portray from a work perspective. Don’t be fooled into thinking future employers won’t stalk vet you on Instagram. It’s time to cull the trout-pout selfies of the moonlit rave in Kho Pi Pi. Or at least put your Social accounts on private.

You don’t need to get expensive studio snaps taken, but make sure your profile picture on LinkedIn looks profesh and the words match what you’re trying to advertise yourself as. This stuff matters.

Confidence hack #2 :

Get someone you trust to give your CV/resume and social profiles a look over. Temporarily unfriend/unfollow them. Get them to Google you. Then ask them to send you screenshots of what they see in those searches. This really helps as they’ll be seeing it from the eyes of a member of public.


3) Expect culture shock

Expat employee culture shock is a thing.

This is one of the things I didn’t expect AT ALL the first time I worked in a different country, way back in the day. After all, I was going from one English-speaking, middle-class, mainly-male office environment to another. How different could they be?

Turns out….quite!

Different countries, organisations and groups of people have different styles of communication, management, and leadership. You might be highly respected in your current workplace and then struggle to gain a foothold in your new one, as a result.

Add the fact that nobody knows you from Eve, you’ll most likely have to build your new network from scratch. This can lead to the dreaded #Imposter Syndrome. You know, where you question yourself and your abilities, and wonder at what point you’ll get ‘found out’.

It can put a dent in even the most confident person’s ego.

You may even find your new organisation’s systems and processes seem ‘behind-the-times’ or scarily ‘cutting edge’ in comparison to what you’re used to. Yes, #Comparisonitis will be rife in your first few months in your new role.  

Now I don’t want to alarm you, but both these ailments are almost inevitable side effects of becoming an expat. But there are some things you can do to alleviate them.

Confidence boost tip #3:

Accept that culture shock WILL happen. Once you do this, you’ll be watching out for it. You can nip the thoughts of not-being-good-enough in the bud and focus on learning as much as you can about your new environment from the people around you. And whatever you do, don’t be the annoying one (like I was) who keeps saying, ‘where I used to work, we did it this way…’. Cringe.


4) Have a back-up plan

There's nothing like turning up in a new country, new city and new job, to find out your team are non-existent, your boss is bonkers and you've been catfished by the job description.

Confidence boost tip #4 : You'll be at your most vulnerable in the first 3 months of your new life. Save up so your basic needs are covered for the first 6 months and you have enough for a one way ticket back home if it all goes completely pear-shaped.


Working in a different country isn’t for the faint hearted, but once you take the plunge, it can bring a plethora of amazing opportunities and experiences.

If you want a bit more in-flight assistance, I'm offering a limited number of 1:1 mentor sessions at an introductory rate (GBP and AUS options available)!

Catch me over at and we can talk about how to grow your confidence to match your dreams with reality.

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