How I’m preparing to find a job in Iceland

If we’re going to live in Iceland we need money. To get money we need jobs.

After the UK leaves the European Union we have zero idea about where and how we will be able to travel, let alone work, so I’m staring down the barrel of a conundrum.

Whatever happens I’m pretty sure that if I got a job with an Icelandic company (or an international company in Iceland) they would sort me out with a Visa to live and work there. So that’s fine. But there aren’t that many Icelandic companies that I can work for at the moment, because I’m a teacher, and unsurprisingly the staff turnover at the international schools is ridiculously low. I could absolutely move us all over there and get a job in a service industry, but after the UK leaves the EU, who knows how easy that will be. There will be thousands of people that it would be cheaper and easier for an Icelandic hotel, restaurant or tourism company to hire. Plus, I don’t want to move my family to a foreign country and take a massive pay cut. I want to live in Iceland, not just survive. My wife, daughter and I need to enjoy our time there. Plus the more I earn, the more tax I pay to the government, which is good for everybody.

I’ve got notifications set up on my phone that will tell me if the international schools I follow make any changes to their recruitment page, and I’ve manoeuvred my career to develop my skills in leadership, management and administration within a multi-academy trust. But just adding a reminder and having developed valuable skills with some of the most talented educators in the UK isn’t going to get me what I want. I need to find a way to be active in my search.

(However, if I won the lottery, I would instead just go and study for my PhD at the University of Iceland. Maybe I’d get caught up in a national scandal about buying citizenship through brown paper envelopes and drinkies with the President. I’d go for drives and look at the lava fields, and take my daughter for walks through the national park, I’d go to the Vínbúdin and spend my monthly stipend on craft beer. But I want to work and contribute as much as I can to Iceland, so here we are.)

I’ve got some ideas which might be of use to anyone who is also looking to emigrate. If you are, drop me an email if we can help each other out.

To get some perspective about life and work in Iceland here’s some of what I’m doing:

Facebook Mentorship

  1. Click on the three parallel lines in the top right of the screen
  2. Scroll down to where it says ‘see more’
  3. Click on ‘mentorship’
  4. Click on ‘professional development’
  5. Type in ‘Iceland’ in the search bar
  6. Connect via messenger with Icelanders offering advice!
apps blur button close up
Got to love the old Instagram app icon in these stock images

LinkedIn

  • Subscribe to organisations I am interested in in Iceland (I applied and joined ‘Nordic countries Scandinavian Networking’ the ‘Iceland – Ísland’ group, as well as following the Universities
  • Looked through the other group members to find Icelanders (or people working in Iceland) who have similar experience to me. Then reached out via a message to ask if they would advise me when the time comes for me to move. They all said no problem, and one guy said he was happy to help me with my Icelandic language lessons. Result.
  • Follow hashtags that are related to my field, to be honest this was hit and miss. lots of people use the Iceland hashtag to post travel photos, and the entrepreneur ones and project management ones only have a couple of dozen when I drilled down to link them to Iceland
  • Not Iceland related but around this time I instituted a ‘no complaint’ rule for my LinkedIn wall. Some people are properly pissed off about their jobs, or socio-economic/institutional problems, but I’m not on LinkedIn to see that, so I mute/unsubscribe so that it remains the focused tool that I want. However, I don’t mute my actual (I’ve seen them in person) friends or colleagues because I figure if they care enough to share/like then it must be important
  • Tailored my job search on LinkedIn to the areas I want to work in once I leave my current job, and tag Iceland on there too.
illuminated pendant lamps by the glass window
I think this picture was taken in Kaffi Viynl in Reykjavik – Photo by Carly Zeiser on Pexels.com

Alfred.is

(www.alfred.is)

I read a lot of posts about getting work in Iceland through the EU portal, but they were almost all basic-level service jobs. Fantastic for me in my twenties with no responsibilities, not so much now. I spoke to an Icelandic person (I think it was Trausti) and they recommended I check out Alfred.is.

Initially I was confused. Its definitely an Icelandic job site because I cant understand any of the adverts. But then I clicked on the little flag in the top right corner and changed it to the UK flag and about 90% of jobs translated their specs into English. I made a profile and uploaded my CV, and while I haven’t been very active on it – because if I apply for a job and get it, I’ll have to move immediately which I’m not ready for – it’s really interesting to see the jobs that are available.

Tip: have google translate open so you can translate the job title – sometimes it doesn’t load the English translation

Glassdoor.co.uk

(www.glassdoor.co.uk)

So simple, yet never talked about in any of the emigration/Iceland blogs I read. There are some fascinating jobs going in Selfoss and Reykjavik at the moment (April 2020) particularly in the tech sector. When I’m ready to just apply for everything, Glassdoor is going to be used a lot.

Hope you’re all well. Stay safe.

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