Moving Checklist March 1, 2020

How to Get a Job in Europe as an American – a Complete Guide

Kate Holland

A true grunge and rock music fan born in Seattle, Kate has moved across the country and started writing about her experience.

It wasn’t an easy decision, but you have made it – you want to relocate to Europe and begin a new life there. But then you’ve come to the question of how to get a job in Europe as an American. An excellent employment opportunity is one of the main factors when choosing your future home, so you should address this issue before you take any other steps.

Wherever you’re relocating, there will be certain requirements to meet. These are of particular importance when moving to Europe, so you should become familiar with all potential differences and learn what you might be required to prepare for the job-hunting process. Let’s see what the first step on your quest for employment abroad should be.

You Don’t Know How to Get a Job in Europe as an American? Step One: Research European Countries

Before you start gathering all the documents needed to travel abroad, you should find a country that meets your expectations to be your future home. Many European countries have a thriving job market, but not all of them will be the right fit for you. So, to be able to actually secure employment as an American, you need to know where to look. Do your research of the most popular destinations among Americans and learn what makes each of them favorable for you.

Do Thorough Research of Every Field Related to Your Qualifications

Some of the most popular choices among Americans include Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Even though these countries offer excellent jobs, that doesn’t mean that you’ll necessarily find what you’re looking for in each of them. Look for the perfect country according to your qualifications. So, to narrow your choice down, do further research only of those destinations where you are qualified enough to find a secure position and pursue your career goals.

making plans for the move
Before you start planning your move to the future home, check the most popular destinations and what makes them so desirable.

Find out What Visa Requirements You’re Supposed to Meet to Work in Europe

The first requirement you need to meet if you’re relocating somewhere in the Schengen area is to obtain a Schengen visa, which covers 22 our of 27 EU countries, as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. However, this is not enough to be eligible for employment. To do that, you are required to obtain the European Blue Card (equivalent to the Green Card in the US). Now, there are different employment laws governing each country’s employment system, so some general rules will only get you as far.

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Answer Questions About Country-Specific Requirements to Be Able to Move on to the Next Step and Apply for a Work Visa

You should find out everything there is to know about all the specifics well in advance to know precisely what you’re required to apply for a work visa. In Germany, for instance, US residents are required to obtain a residence visa to live and work for more than 90 days, but you can enter the country without a work permit and apply for one there. In Sweden, however, you have to have a job offer to be able to move there, to begin with.

Apart from these specific requirements, remember that it is also always a good idea to learn the language spoken there, as this will increase your chances of finding work, as well as make it easier to fit in and make friends.

send help sign
Take all the time you need to explore all requirements to the smallest detail before you go for one option or another.

Never Underestimate the Power of the Internet

If you’re moving to a place like Sweden, for instance, and you simply have to think about employment before you can begin to think about international moving, you will need to search for your dream position online. This is an excellent method regardless of your profession, especially because you can combine various boards to find your perfect fit.

If You’re New to This, Using Specific Job Boards Is an Excellent Method

Industry-specific boards can make your quest so much easier and faster. That way, you can weed out all the jobs you’re not interested in and speed up the process. For instance, you can look through Go Abroad or Eurojobs and search by your preferred country.

click here for your dream job
Industry-specific boards online can lead you to an excellent position, so look carefully.

Don’t Forget That Some Aspects of Working Might Be Different

When you are finally selected for an interview, you should show your potential employer that you are familiar with the differences between working in the US and the Old Continent. That will show your interest in the company and willingness to fit in their working regime and not let any differences affect your productivity.

Learn About the Work Ethic

Keep in mind that the European work ethic can be quite different from what you’re used to. This will be a positive change, especially when it comes to work-life balance, as Europeans normally don’t work as long hours as Americans do. And if you’re considering Mediterranean countries, be prepared for rather long lunch breaks. Of course, you shouldn’t assume that they are not working hard there, it’s just all about efficiency.

woman holding a meeting with her coworkers
Consider potential differences to fit in and get used to your future workplace more quickly.


There is a wide array of jobs on the Old Continent. You should only take time to explore the options and find a good fit for yourself. Then move on to bureaucracy matters, take care of visa requirements, start learning the language, and you’ll be ready to ship your car overseas. When you have a secure position waiting for you, you can get down to packing for your international relocation or hire experts to provide you with professional packing services and look forward to your life in a new home.

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