|If only it was that easy. From virtualvocations.com|
1) Decide what you're willing to doIf you want to pursue your current career in Spain, it's worth getting your Spanish up to scratch before you move. While there are plenty of international companies in Madrid and Barcelona who may claim that their working language is English, it'll really help your cause if you can communicate with colleagues easily in castellano. A rough guide for a minimum level to work (reasonably) comfortably in another language is B2 level. If you can get this certified, so much the better: it shows a willingness to learn and that you're taking your move seriously. You can take the official Spanish exams, the Diploma de Español como Lengua Extranjera, at Instituto Cervantes centres around the world. The exams cover all four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) and are offered at all CEFR levels, although A2, B2 and C2 are the most common. It's worth looking into a specific preparation course to increase your chances of passing, or you can find mock exams here if you'd rather go it alone.
Unless you've avoided all contact with the news over the past few years, you'll know that Spain's in a rather unhealthy financial situation and unemployment is high, so it's important to be realistic when job hunting, and to know that you may not be able to find exactly the same type of position as you had back home, or at the same level. The Local's list of top jobs for expats in Spain suggests that the industries with the most demand are customer services, digital marketing, engineering, IT, finance and English teaching.
If you just want to find a job quickly and relatively easily and aren't too concerned about what you do, play to your strength as a native English speaker and become an English teacher. I'm not suggesting that teaching is an easy option or a career you can coast in, but for many expats (especially those with minimal Spanish) it's a realistic way of earning a living. You need to get yourself some training and a qualification: the CELTA is the gold standard of the TEFL world, and is highly regarded by all teaching centres. It's more expensive than many TEFL courses, sure – but it's the only one that's certified by Cambridge University. Anyone can offer a TEFL course: after all, the acronym just means teaching English as a foreign language. While standards obviously vary, some courses are definitely not worth the money in terms of the preparation they give you. And when you're standing up in front of an expectant classroom, you'll want to be prepared. The Trinity TEFL certificate is certified by Trinity College London and is also well regarded. It includes a section focusing on young learners, so if you want to teach kids this course is worth considering. As to whether to take your TEFL course before you move or whether to do it on arrival, there are pros and cons. In England the courses are cheaper due to a government limit on the price for short courses, but if you do your course locally you get to meet fellow expats (I'm still friends with several people from my course) and there's a chance you'll find work through the language school where you study.
And if you fancy yourself as an entrepreneur? Be prepared for an uphill struggle. Setting up your own business or going freelance is by no means impossible, but Spain doesn't make it easy. There is plenty of bureaucracy involved, and to work freelance you'll have to pay monthly autónomo fees (in addition to tax). If you're thinking about starting a business, take a look at Lauren of Madrid Food Tour's experience. I'll be looking more at being autónomo in a future posts.
|Well, it's one option. From personalbrandingblog.com|
2) Prepare your CV & Linkedin profile
Once you've identified the area you're going to aim for, get yourself good CVs in both English and Spanish. If your Spanish is shaky, it's worth getting a translator to help you. CVs in Spain are short: ideally just one page, and never more than two. Nobody needs to know that you once had a summer job at the supermarket: keep it relevant and highlight all your skills and experience that relate to the field you're aiming at. Spanish CVs also typically include a photo, and you should include your passport number or NIE. Age is a valid selection criteria in Spain (yes, you can advertise for a certain age of employee), so you can also provide this on your CV (or else you may be asked at interview).
Recruitment in Spain is increasingly done through Linkedin, especially for international companies. Create yourself a profile either in English or a bilingual one: the type of employers who hire through Linkedin are probably more concerned with checking your English than your Spanish, but make sure to showcase your language skills in the relevant section, and don't forget to include that DELE qualification if you've got it. Even if you're camera-shy, it's worth including a photo: profiles with photos get a lot more views than those without (and a lot of connection requests from Indian men, in my case). Make sure the photo is work-appropriate: don't use a photo of yourself on a night out, it just doesn't give the right impression.
It may also be worth creating a profile on Infojobs, one of Spain's main job ad sites. Create this profile in Spanish if possible.
As you're preparing to start your search, you also need to prepare yourself practically by getting a NIE and a social security number, as both are needed to work legally in Spain.