Q&A: How To Land A Job From Abroad

Here’s a tough one. How do you land a job here when you a) have gumption but little experience, b) are living in a foreign country and c) will need to convince an employer to sponsor you to work in the US?

That is the dilemma facing one young recent grad in Lebanon. He wrote to Laurel Touby for advice, and with his permission, we are posting the text of their conversation here. Any other suggestions for this guy, please leave them in the comments or Tweet us and we’ll try to get them to the grad.

The question:

I have graduated from the Lebanese American University with BA in Communication Arts (emphasis Radio/TV/Film). I am seeking a major change in my life Ms. Touby….However, I am trying to find a job abroad but it seems like it is a tough mission that needs guiding. I am really interested in working in New York however all the jobs I am landing need minimum of three years of experience and I am a fresh graduate.

do you have any idea how to go around that?

N:B: I have registered to mediabistro.com but I am facing the same problem and I think I would face a problem of finding an employer willing to sponsor me. If there are jobs for Arabs, or that require Arabic language or anything that might be an incentive for employers.

hopefully you are aware of how hard my situation in here,
your early response is highly appreciated,

thanks for any assistance,

And Laurel’s response:

Thanks for writing, however I don’t have good news. I’m sorry, A. I don’t have any solutions to this problem.
As you know, we are coming out of a recession. So, there are few jobs even for US candidates; you are trying to leap over a great hurdle having no work experience AND needing to be sponsored.
I strongly suggest you try to get some work experience either in Lebanon or somewhere else in the region. You can also try to do work online. There are sites like eLance and others that offer freelance work, which is not region-centric.
I would also suggest you repackage yourself as a “translator” or “local reporter” — and approach European or US TV stations offering to help them with local coverage. You have access and language skills that they don’t and they value this. You need to do work via LinkedIn/Facebook, etc., to find the names/contact info. of executive producers/bookers, etc. who need someone with boots on the ground in your region.
Finally, you should also build up your own work/reputation on a personal blog and start tweeting, start a FB page, etc. Upload photos/videos/audio interviews, CONTENT, lots of content. Pretend you already HAVE the job you are dreaming of and become a regional reporter for yourself. Then, point TV/radio producers to your site to show them the quality of reportage you could do for them.
Good luck!

What would you add to this advice?