It takes more than expertise and a good resume to find a decent job or start a successful career, and it is even harder to so in a foreign country. This is especially true in a country where business is rapidly changing, unemployment rates are significantly high and competitiveness is strong - just like Turkey.
Before you dive into a job search, you should keep in mind that whatever career route you choose, you need to meet certain prerequisites.
First and foremost, you need patience. While nearly every industry is experiencing rapidly changing market dynamics in Turkey, good opportunities are hard to find. And even when you come across one, the human resources course might try your patience. So, it is well advised to find your job beforehand, not after you've moved to Turkey and spent your savings on a rental deposit.
Improve your Turkish language skills
If you plan on starting a career on Turkish TV, chances are you are already proficient in basic Turkish language skills. But if you consider living in a foreign country, more experience with the spoken language never hurts. Whatever career route you choose, you will always need a basic understanding of the Turkish language beyond "merhaba" (hello) and "teşekkür ederim" (thank you).
Build your own business network
Turkey is a country where personal trust comes first in any business. So, building up a strong professional network is essential to finding a good job. Another factor to consider is nearly all business areas are dominated by small- and medium-sized companies. Thus, if you aren't trying to land a job with a multinational industry giant, you should start networking and building up your business contacts. Meet new people, have a chat with them about their jobs, learn about the business they engage in and figure out your own opportunities and paths. Turkey is known for its hospitality and warm people, so it is possible that you find your next career idea by simply speaking with a bus driver.
Save up beforehand
Living in a cultural heaven with a good salary and social benefits might seem so close when you first arrive in Turkey. But even after you get the job of your dreams, it might take a while before you actually start working at your desk and getting a paycheck. In the meantime, you need some cash to pay for your rent, bills, food and other living expenses. Therefore, saving money before you even begin to look for a job here from your home country will benefit you a lot.
THE BEST JOBS FOR EXPATS
After you have completed the aforementioned tasks and feel ready for the fun part of finding a good job, here are the types of jobs that expats commonly apply for and have a higher chance of getting:
Foreign language teacher
Ask any expat and they will tell you: Teaching your own language to the locals is the easiest and most-common way to make a living in Turkey. You can start by giving private lessons and then make your way into a private college or language school. The foreign language education sector has many open positions in private schools and seasonal courses. The only downside is you may need better-than-average Turkish language skills to actually teach English, Spanish, French, German, Arabic or other languages to Turkish students. There are myriad job listings for native English speaking teachers from many prestigious private schools and programs. The same applies for Spanish, German, French, Arabic and other languages too.
Editor, proofreader or translator
If you believe in your grammar skills and are a native speaker, you can also find a job as an editor or proofreader. In Turkey, many publishers need a good proofreader for their translated works. From a publishing house to a daily newspaper, the demand for a capable editor gives you a wide range of options. It may start as a part-time job but if you give it enough effort, providing that you have the talent and discipline, you can become a respected and renowned editor in a couple of years.
Even if you have other career plans but also have good Turkish language skills, you can simply find a translation project and make some quick cash. English-Turkish translations may not be well funded, but the other way around, translating a Turkish text into English is quite profitable.
Import-export sales specialist
Industries such as the textile and shipping sectors have high import-export traffic, and companies are in need of a native English speaker to manage their international activities. If you have a good customer service background, good communication and presentation skills and have no problem with achieving sales targets, you should consider this option. Of course, it's not easy to find a job in this field without a good degree from a reputable university and at least a year of experience, but if you have the qualifications you should consider applying to an international industry giant.
Nanny, au pair or babysitter
Turkish families from a higher income group tend to hire a native English- or German-speaking nanny to raise their children with a second language. If you have good communication skills with children, you can turn this demand into your advantage. Salaries range from several hundred dollars to a four-figure monthly income. What's the best part? You can find a stay-in job in the best parts of the city and your rent expense suddenly vanishes.
Many international businesses need a fluent English speaker to establish and maintain customer relations with their local customers; Turkey is no exception. Tourism agencies are also an alternative if you decide this field of work is best for you. From phone calls to attending meetings in person, you need to make sure that you represent the best interests of your company and maintain your customers' satisfaction.
Whatever career route you choose in Turkey, don't forget that, just like the rest of the world, honesty, a good work ethic and good interpersonal skills are always appreciated by employers.