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Do you want to pursue a career abroad? Tips for selection processes around the world

Experiences of an expatriate UX designer in selection processes for opportunities abroad.c


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Thiago Vieira

a year ago | 5 min read

I write this post motivated by some chats I had with designer friends, who asked me for tips and advice on how to get a job in Europe participating in the distance selection process, in my case, in Brazil.

In general terms, my experience can apply to professionals from other areas, so even if you are not a designer, stay here, because the tips are for you too.

My story so far I can tell in another opportunity, but in this post I will focus on the selection processes I went through and the lessons I learned during them, which helped me to win a job at EVBox, where I have been working until then.

Bonus: useful links at the end.

Before applying
Language
First, if you intend to work outside Brazil, mainly in the technology area, you will have to learn English, as the major centers are concentrated in Europe and the USA, English at a conversational level is essential. Study and practice to lose your fear, let go and have more confidence in interviews, and of course in everyday work - and in life.

My process to be secure with the language included three years of studies twice a week, with a private teacher. But your process can be different, and even faster.
LinkedIn is a showcase

It may seem obvious, but first I cross-referenced the vacancies that interested me with my skills, to understand how big the challenge would be to follow the process and know what my chances would be. For this, LinkedIn was essential, as in Europe it is widely used, both by contractors and by contractors, it is not just an online resume, but a social network aimed at work. So keeping LinkedIn up and running is a minimum, invest in it!

For some positions I even had the required skill developed, but it was not described in my LinkedIn profile as I hadn't thought to enter it until then, or simply because the positions I had already worked in did not mention such a requirement. So when updating or translating yours, research what skills you have, and which ones you may be forgetting.

Study the vacancy, the company and the location/city

This will give you a lot of content to prepare an attractive cover letter, as well as articulate good conversations during the selection process. Topics such as work environment, work flow and routine, city routine, infrastructure, career plan, etc. can be addressed, and preparing especially for each vacancy is essential.
Motivation vs. Risk of hiring foreigners

This is a very strong point that companies that are willing to hire foreigners evaluate during the process, so you need to be really motivated by the vacancy, company and location before applying, besides, of course, demonstrating this in your cover letter and in the interviews during the process. At this stage they want to minimize the risks of bringing you here and not adapting to the location, role to be played, company culture and giving up.

It is worth mentioning in the interviews that you already know the city, have friends, or that your greatest desire is to live there. Something that makes them understand that you are sure of what you want and where you want it.

There was a case in which the company made it clear that it would not hire me because it realized that I had chosen the city and not the company itself. So I suggest you dedicate yourself to making this clear and well aligned with the opportunity.
Cover Letter

Cover letter is not traditional in Brazil, but in Europe it is, so it is essential that Cover Letter is objective and at the same time presents you and sells you as a good person to enter the selection process. Searching on Google you can find several tips on how to write a good cover letter, here I will quote my personal ones, which structure the Cover Letter in 4 paragraphs:
How did you find the vacancy and why it makes sense to you (if you have someone recommending you, this is where you take the opportunity to name the person);
Your most recent professional experiences and most developed skills that relate to the job requirements;
Your professional and personal plans that relate to the role you will play, the city/country in which the company is located and you intend to live, as well as international experience, intentions and motivations;
Finish the letter by leaving it open for interviews, with your contacts such as email, phone (don't forget the country code) and skype.

Curriculum Vitae (Summary)

Thinking about consuming as little as possible of a talent selection professional, I recommend preparing a curriculum with a maximum of 2 pages.
Remember that you should not put as much information as possible in it, but only information that is necessary and relevant to the vacancies you are willing to apply for.
As a designer, a prerequisite is that your resume is not merely in text format on Google Docs, but something more elaborate that showcases some of your skills as a designer as well.
Portfolio
Just as programmers have a beautiful GitHub full of projects and source codes to be appreciated, a designer needs to have a beautiful portfolio, not only attractive for the beauty of the pieces, but especially with projects that express their creative process, approach to problems and design constraints , application of methodology, mastery of concepts, tools used and results achieved.

Don't forget to spread your portfolio link across all other points of contact (cover letter, resume, email signature, LinkedIn profile) consistently, as well as your contact details.

Speech (Pitch)
You need to have a consistent and well-braided speech, exploring and exposing your full potential and how valuable you are, but instead of talking about an idea, you will talk about yourself. Briefly tell your story, how you got here, main professional achievements and what is the next step you are looking for in your career.

When certain interviewer profiles.
I did the interview, now what?

Not all companies have such a clear selection process, and even if they do, not all of them expose it to candidates, so from the first contact with someone, feel free to ask what the steps of the selection process will be and what is the expectation time for the entire process, this will help you manage your expectations and anxiety, as well as the recruiters' commitment to get back to you within the stipulated deadlines.

After the interview, there is no harm in sending an e-mail to whoever is recruiting you, thanking you for the opportunity to talk to the person, mentioning how good the conversation was, what matters were discussed and mentioning that you are waiting for the contact to the next step.

If they don't answer you in 2 days, you can send another email (motivated) reinforcing the first one, but don't be boring.

Ask for feedback

As with any selection process, you may not be selected and receive a negative. But calm down, all is not lost! This is the opportunity you have to learn and improve for the next processes, so if the refusal (which can be by phone, skype, email...) does not justify the reason why you were not selected, ask them, and say that you are interested in learning to improve and become a better candidate.

With the reasons in hand, you can consider whether or not they make sense to you and then seek to improve them for future opportunities.

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Thiago Vieira


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