Finding Work (Getting a Job) in Turkey

There are a number of ways of finding a job in Turkey - bearing in mind, of course, the need for you to obtain a work permit.

What are your job skills?

Because of the challenges associated with finding work in Turkey, it’s well worth spending some time working out exactly what skills you have to offer, how you can improve them and how you can best take advantage of them.

In many countries, this leads people to consider whether their skills make them better suited to working as an employee or to being self-employed – i.e. running their own simple business. This is not normally the case in Turkey, where obtaining a visa to work as an independent self-employed person can be very difficult. See our Guide to Coming to Turkey to Work. In Turkey, if you relish running your own business you will, therefore, usually be forced to consider setting up a proper Turkish business (and working for it) rather than simply being self-employed. See our Guide to Starting a Business in Turkey.

Many people coming to Turkey will already have a well-defined set of job skills and, of course, many will have been invited to work in Turkey precisely because of this. If you’re not in this position, I suggest that you sit down and go through the process of listing your skills.

This may lead you to conclude that there is little chance of being able to work in Turkey within your normal field of activity and that you will, therefore, have to do something else. Some people relish the idea of coming to Turkey to start a new life that will take them in a completely different direction from what they’d been doing before, but others will think that this adds one level of complexity too many.

Your qualifications

What formal qualifications do you possess and will they be accepted in Turkey?

If you’re engaged in some professional activity (doctor, engineer etc.) you will probably find that your professional association ‘back home’ will have a database showing the requirements of Turkey (and other countries) when it comes to people wanting to work in your area of expertise.

If your qualifications are going to be of direct use, you will need to validate them and have them translated. The process for doing this varies, depending upon where you live. Once again, your professional association should be able to help by explaining what is needed. However, this is seldom easy.

In your own country, there is likely to be a government agency dealing with the recognition of qualifications from that country in other parts of the world. For example, in the US it is the Department of Education. In the UK it is the UK National Recognition Information Centre (NARIC).

Core skills

What are your core skills?

‘Core skills’ means different things in different places but, probably, would always include communication skills, numeracy, IT skills, problem solving, working with others and language skills. Others might add the ability to manage yourself and the ability to learn and develop.

It is easier to examine your core skills in an objective way if you do this with an honest and trusted friend, colleague, or partner.

You will often find that the core skills that you have developed whilst working in (say) a food factory can be directly applicable to other jobs where there are employment opportunities in Turkey.

Once you’ve established your core skills, it is well worthwhile talking to a Turkish employment agency (e.g. Stanton Chase or kariyer.net) to see whether those skills offer any scope for employment in Turkey. A preliminary discussion is usually free.

Improving your skills to find a job in Turkey

When it comes to getting a job in Turkey, many people find that the key to success is taking their core skills and improving them, or developing them in a particular direction, to provide something specifically in-demand in Turkey. For example, a person who has worked successfully as a car mechanic in (say) Germany is likely (subject to further training) to have pretty much all the skills required to work as an aircraft mechanic in Turkey. There are no job opportunities in Turkey for car mechanics, but there are (2017) some for aircraft mechanics. However, in order to show his suitability for a job as an aircraft mechanic, he is likely to have to do some supplemental training in Germany.

The need to speak Turkish

It is, hardly surprisingly, a requirement of most jobs that you should be able to speak adequate Turkish. However, this is not always the case. For example, qualified teachers of English as a second language (perhaps surprisingly) often do not need to have any Turkish language skills, although it is helpful if they do.

You will need a very limited amount of Turkish if you are going to seek work as a seasonal worker in the tourism industry.

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