Monday, July 30, 2012

Job Hunting In Argentina When You're An Expat

It's been a month and a half since we moved to Cordoba, Argentina, and we assumed finding a job would be a breeze. But blame me. Back when I was still in New York, I e-mailed my mom and asked her if finding work in Argentina would be easy. She said "yes, absolutely," and I believed her. I'm sure she didn't mean any harm. But the damage was done. I was here, and finding work was going to be a challenge. 

So here are a few things I learned about looking for work in Argentina that you should know before moving down here. 

Age Requirement  Age is a major factor here. If you're 30 or older, you may encounter some problems landing a job. Most job posts I've seen won't hire anyone over 26.   Gender   Argentine businesses reserve the right to discriminate job candidates based on gender. I was shocked to learn this. In the States, I would have sued the heck out of a company for placing an ad that said looking for female applicants only.  

It´s Not Who You Are. It's Who You Know  It's not always about your work experience or degree. It's about your connections. If you have friends or family in Argentina who are well placed in stable businesses, your chances of getting your foot in the door increases exponentially.

Jobs To Look For 
The most secure jobs in Argentina are in the financial industry. Citibank and HSBC Bank are some of the best options. Unfortunately, they are not currently hiring as of this post.   

Computer programming or computer repair are also great career options.

Teaching English In Argentina 
Locals tend to hog all the English teaching jobs at the public university, at least in Cordoba they do, but according to some of the people I spoke with, they're not very good at their jobs. Your best bet is to try applying for work at a private language school, or offer private classes. The latter is a good, albeit temporary solution, but in the long run, it won't help pay the bills.

Familiarize Yourself With Argentine Castilian:  I highly recommend that you get a good working knowledge of Argentine Castilian. Don't assume that your basic knowledge of Spanish learned from the States will help you. Okay, so you might get by with it, but there are some differences that you need to be aware of. For example, in the States, Latinos used the word coge, or coger, which means to grab, but in Argentina, it's a profane way of saying to fornicate. So, you need to be aware of these differences that might not seem significant, but can cause a huge understanding at work.

Keep in mind that all computer programs, like Excel and Word, are in Spanish. The command functions for spreadsheet formulas are in Spanish as well, so you should familiarize yourself with this ahead of time or you might run into some trouble if you're working in the clerical field.

Apostilles  Make sure your high school diploma, college diplomas, and transcripts have apostilles and are notarized. Some jobs may require that you present these things.

Job Outlook  The Argentines I've spoken to so far have a very grim view of the job outlook. So, I strongly urge you to save some money before coming here. You will need it to stay afloat until you land a job. You can also use your financial nest egg to book a ticket back home, which is something I wish I'd considered before blowing all my money on stuff for my home. My advice would be to secure a job before arriving in Argentina. I´ve heard of an expat from Italy who came here, but couldn’t find a job. Eventually he ran out of money and now, he can’t afford to return home. Don’t let that happen to you. It’s a nightmare. I just hope that the job outlook improves soon.