Moving to another country and settling down is not an easy task. And those who are thinking of moving to Spain surely must resolve many practical questions, some of them in advance.
But none of the tasks is as important to finding your place in the country as having a job.
Spain is not a particularly complicated country to move to. Unlike northern European societies, for example, Spanish people are very open and used to dealing with people from other cultures.
The presence of immigrants has been common in Spanish cities for more than two decades and every year many millions of international tourists visit the country, making it one of the world's favorite vacation destinations.
The climate is also a plus that makes Spain one of the most attractive places to settle. And also the language plays in its favor, because it is among the most widely spoken and studied in the world.
The key to integrate
But Spain also has some characteristics that complicate the process. Perhaps the biggest obstacle is the need to find a job as soon as possible.
Work is the key to almost everything for Spanish residents. Without a job or a job offer from an employer, everything becomes more difficult: registering with the administration, obtaining a residence permit, opening a bank account, renting a home or having access to the public health care system, earn the right to certain social benefits... everything becomes more complicated for those who do not have a job or who have not worked before in Spain.
Hence, it can be said that if you are a foreigner in Spain, work is a decisive factor for social integration.
To further complicate the issue, Spain is one of the EU countries with the highest percentage of structural unemployment, which causes the unemployment rate to be unusually high for a developed country. This means that those who come to Spain or who seek work in Spain from their country of origin not only have to compete with other newcomers, but also with many locals seeking the same jobs as them.
Reasons for hope
All of the above said, there are several good reasons for hope.
The first and most important is that Spain is a large country, where there is everything. And that means there are a multitude of needs in many sectors where manpower is lacking. You can get a good job if you have a good professional qualification, for example in engineering or in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
But if you are not an expert in those fields, the country also offers options for those who are just starting out. There are sectors that constantly demand staff, such as restaurants and cafes, hotels and other tourist services. Another option is to work in cleaning and home care services for children and the elderly, in construction or in agriculture or logistics or sales.
Some of them may not be the most attractive jobs, but you should see them as stepping stones. They are a way to access the labor market and get a stable income, labor rights and social protection. All this will allow you to settle in Spain and then, with patience and persistence, look for something more in line with your training or with your expectations.
Highlight your assets on your CV
Of course, the chances to get a job are higher if you live in a big city like Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia or Seville.
Another factor that helps is having something to offer that locals lack. For example, a language that may be an essential requirement for some companies with interests in certain markets
Today the majority of young Spaniards write on their CV that they speak fluent English (whether this is true or not is another interesting debate).
But if you, in addition to Spanish and English, can speak Chinese, Japanese, Swedish, Arabic, Finnish or Russian ... then you will have an important advantage over the locals to get certain jobs. If you have such an asset on your CV, find out what kind of clients or staff the companies you aspire to work with have and highlight it. It can be decisive.
Keeping your CV up to date is very important in Spain. As a general rule, a well-written CV makes a greater impression on employers than a cover letter, which is less valued by Spanish companies than by those from other European countries.
Show initiative, be persistent
The Spanish economy is based mainly on small and medium-sized companies, and that can also be an advantage because it often allows you to go personally to give a copy of the CV to the person in charge, in case you are already in Spain.
This may not be valid if you intend to work in a large car manufacturing plant, but for small businesses such as restaurants, cafes and hotels it is an option that has worked for many people. In fact, it can even be a big plus, because if Spanish employers value something, it is that the candidate shows initiative and desire to work.
Don't sink into despair if weeks go by without you finding something. Do not give up. Think that thousands of people, both Spanish and foreign, are facing exactly the same difficulties as you.
In our experience, to succeed in Spain you have to insist a lot. This may seem like a cliché, but it is still true.
You have to be tenacious and persistent. Spain has millions of foreigners who live and work and contribute to its prosperity. So why won't you be able to be one more?
Register with the employment service
If you are a citizen of a EU member-state or have already lived in Spain before or have a Foreigner Identification Number (NIE, in its Spanish acronym), another good option is to register with the state employment service (SEPE).
To learn more on how to register with the employment service (apuntarse al paro, as Spaniards say) for the first time, you can click HERE
Once the registration is done, you will receive the so-called DARDE card (Documento de Alta y Renovación de la Demanda de Empleo - in English 'Document for Registration and Renewal of the Job Application'). As a registered job seeker you will also acquire some rights, such as access to training programs, discounts in some transport, museums and theaters.
But the biggest advantage is that your potential employers can also benefit from tax discounts for hiring a person who comes from the unemployed lists. Sometimes, this works as an incentive for recruiters.
List of job search websites
Finally, whether you are already in Spain or still in your home country, you will surely be interested in visiting some websites advertising jobs in Spain.
We have gathered some of them for you in the following list: