Helping Chefs in London Get Hired

Working overseas to boost your chef career

24 Feb, 2018

Working overseas to boost your chef career

Chefs working overseas

At some point many chefs consider working overseas to add a boost to their career, experience new cultures, learn new cooking techniques and gain valuable life experiences.

However, the reality of just upping sticks and moving abroad is often not quite as easy! So to help, we’ve put together a list of things you should consider before making a decision to relocate and also the benefits that working abroad can have on your longer-term career.

Expanding your skill set

Without doubt, time spent abroad will, in most instances be a huge plus point for recruiters and employers viewing your CV. Rather than it slipping to the bottom of a shortlist pile it can help you stand out from other chefs and straight onto the interview list. Having an international perspective can help broaden your horizons and give you a unique understanding of the skill sets (both technical and personal) that are required by so many of today’s employers. Furthermore, time spent working overseas can demonstrate to future employers that you have the ability to adapt to diverse workplaces and situations.

Things to consider:

  • What country’s seek people with your current skill set? Would you consider working in any / all of these locations?
  • Do you need to obtain new skills before being able to make a move abroad to your country of choice?
  • What skills are you looking to expand on and what new ones do you want to learn while away?
  • How could these new skills be used to your advantage when you return to the UK?


Financial implications

Many chefs who choose to work abroad do so because the pay can appear to be very lucrative – especially if the cost of living in the country you’re moving to is lower than in the UK. And this is especially the case in countries where you’re paid tax free – the UAE, for example. However, before making any decision ensure you know exactly how your salary will be calculated. It’s all too easy to think you’ll automatically be paid and taxed according to the local rate so it’s well worth researching this in detail.

Things to consider:

  • What are the overall costs of moving and the financial implications you will face when living in a new country.
  • If you have children, how will they contend with a new education system and what are the costs of schooling abroad.
  • Speak to someone who has already made the move to find out if the cost of living is as cheap as the guide books and recruiters would have you believe.
  • While there are businesses which will bear the cost of shipping your belongings and pay for air fares for example, this is not always the case so double check these details before you sign on the dotted line.


Culture

Spending time abroad can hugely increase your cultural awareness if you’re willing to immerse yourself into the local way of life – rather than purely hang out in expat bars! Gaining a real understanding and appreciation of local customs and traditions will not only make your life easier, but will also equip you with a broader understanding of how culture affects both food and business – a real plus for future employers.

Things to consider:

  • How will the local culture affect you and your family? Have you got prior experience of visiting the country you’re interested in working in, and what did you like / dislike about it?
  • Are there people who work in your target country that you can have an honest discussion with as to the pros and cons of living and working in a new culture?
  • Will the culture you’ll become part of support some of the things you currently enjoy? If so, great. If not, will this be something you’re willing to accept as part of your move.


Fast track career move

We often see chefs who have used their time overseas as a way to fast track their career and take the next step up. International exposure can certainly accelerate your promotion prospects and lead to enhanced reward packages. This is because chefs working abroad tend to be faced with a whole host of challenges and opportunities that there counterparts with no overseas exposure may not experience.

Things to consider:

  • If you’re working abroad and ultimately intend on returning to the UK, it’s worth setting a target return date which can be reviewed against the objectives you want to meet while away. Your goals and the time it takes you to achieve them can always be moved!
  • Think about how you can network effectively during you’re time working abroad. You’re bound to meet a large and diverse number of people and you never know what these working relationships may lead to!
  • Its important to get the balance right between dealing with the now and the future. Yes, you may see your time abroad as a stepping stone to becoming the next Gordon Ramsay, but don’t forget why you’ve been hired in the first place. Whatever your long term plans, your mindset should be no different to when you’re in the UK – a professional is a professional wherever they are in the world.


And finally..

Change is always daunting and the first few months working as a chef in a new country, in a new kitchen, with a brigade you don’t know is always going to be hard. However after making such a big move it’s perhaps wise to stick it out for 6 months to a year before making any kind of decision about moving back to the UK. If it really isn’t for you, all is not lost. The skills and experiences you will gain through spending time abroad will put you in a good position to find a new role on your return.

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