Looking for an Entry-level position in Europe

24 Nov 2012 - 5:41pm
3 years ago
2 replies
3917 reads

Hey everyone, 

This post is mostly for those of you already in Europe. I'm graduating with a BS in Human-Computer Interaction and a BA in Int'l Relations soon, and I'm really interested in just working in Europe for a little bit as a UX/Ix Designer. I have 1-2 years of design experience. 

So those of you US citizens working in Europe right now, how did you end up there? How was the visa process?

I'm looking for resources on first finding a UX-related job abroad, and then information on how to do the entire legal process. 

Mostly finding the job first though, haha. Looking speficially for opportunities in the UK or France.

Any help is appreciated! Thanks.



25 Nov 2012 - 9:33am
Michael Stiso


Hi. I've been working in Norway the past four years. The strategy I followed to get here was pretty simple: I joined several international job boards (particularly IxDA's) and discussion groups in the UX/HCI/etc. area, and then sent off applications whenever I found something relevant. I also tried to network and see if any of my former work colleagues and professors could check with their own contacts about possibilities, and so on. I would look through design-awards pages and the like to see what international companies are doing work in my field, and then send them a letter.

However, you should know that, at least in my experience, European companies are not too interested in hiring an American unless you have an advanced degree, a special skill, or a lot of experience, or if you happen to speak the local language. That's because Americans (and anyone from the New World) can be costly to interview in and relocate to Europe, and there are some residency and work permit hassles that the company will have to deal with. And then there's the language issue. So, it's generally cheaper and easier for a business to hire from the local EU talent pool.

With a BS/BA and a couple of years of experience, you may have trouble finding a job in Europe without first moving to Europe. That will make you a little more competitive and show that you're serious, but you'll still be at a bit of a disadvantage compared to European candidates because of residency and language issues (unless you happen to speak French, of course). That's not to say that you can't get lucky, especially if you're persistent.


This is one of the job sites I used when looking overseas, I think. It's for the U.K. I can't remember the others I used, unfortunately.



28 Nov 2012 - 10:20am
Sean Pook

Michael offers some good advice. With the international recession in full swing, companies are commonly not offering relocation or interview expense assistance, particularly firms in London. Some firms in Europe still offer, but it's not too common. The main hurdles are salary and visas. Candidates on the East or West coast are often shocked at the salary levels in Europe. An example, a senior UX designer in the Bay Area may make $130k a year. The salary in London will be more like $90k a year with comparable living expenses and higher taxes. But more junior folks tend to be ok with salary.

Each EU country has a different visa process. For some it's straight forward to sponsor from abroad, for others it's very difficult, costly and time consuming. Five years ago you could come to the UK on a HSMP visa - a points based system. Spend $1k and buy yourself a visa. Unfortunately a small portion of the British public complained about too many immigrants in the UK so the government made the qualification process more and more difficult until they disbanded the scheme completely. Now you have to rely on an employer sponsored visa which are like gold dust. As part of the process the company has to prove they can't hire someone from the EU to do that job. Very tough with the large UX talent pool in Europe.

I'd suggest trying Germany and FInland before looking at France and the UK. UK is hard to get into and France doesn't have the number of job opportunities, whereas Finland and Germany both offer quite a section of jobs and (correct me if I'm wrong) can sponsor US applicants without too much hassle.

Good Luck

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