Updated 4 days ago

As Indonesia's third-largest city and fourth-most populous city, Medan presents itself as a regional economic hub and commercial center. Conveniently close to Singapore, the city has rapidly developed over the past couple of decades and become a booming economic center. As a city on the cusp of modernity, with chic cafes and bars rubbing shoulders with crumbling colonial buildings and backstreet food stalls, it is arguably one of Indonesia’s fastest developing economic hubs.

This largest city in Sumatra has been gaining attention from foreigners. They flock to Medan, not only due to its unique charm and diverse food scene but also because of its promising economic developments. If you’re interested in working in this rich and multicultural city, here are some tips to get a job in Medan.

Job hunting in Medan

As an expat, it’s better to find employment from a company in Medan before entering Indonesia. Having secured a position before entering Indonesia allows you to prepare for obtaining your visa and work permit.

If you work for an international company that has offices in Medan, then applying for an internal transfer would be the easiest way to secure a position in the city. You can also look for job openings for local companies by searching through online portals and job forums.

That said, if you’re already in Medan, there are also several ways to look for a new job. Whether you’re looking to move up your career ladder or a new opportunity, you can consider other job-hunting methods.

The Chambers of Commerce in Indonesia often shares job offers by companies looking for international candidates. While positions in Medan may not open quite as often as in other big cities, the opportunity is bound to turn up sometimes. Moreover, you can also visit job fairs to look for interesting job openings.

Networking can also be a valuable asset for your career. In Indonesia, knowing the right people can get you far in your career. Try joining communities, attending expat meetings, and visiting co-working spaces to expand your network.

As a foreigner, it’s understandable to get nervous about meeting new people and expanding your network. But don’t be afraid, the people in Medan are very friendly. They’re accepting and respectful toward foreigners. Just remember to extend the courtesy toward the locals as well. You can expand your network even by just eating out and visiting local cultural or heritage sites. Don’t be afraid to smile and strike up a conversation.

Promising sectors in Medan

There is countless business potential you can get in Medan. To be able to reap the benefits and gain abundant profits, you will need to take into account which sectors are the most promising within the city. The agricultural sector is particularly strong as the area is famous for its rubber, palm oil, cocoa, coffee, cloves, coconut, tobacco, cinnamon, and tea. Local agricultural companies often value foreign expertise in financing, accounting, and marketing.

Other promising sectors include:

  • Real estate
  • Trading (Export and Import)
  • Tourism
  • Education

Obtaining a Work Permit in Indonesia

To be able to work legally as a foreigner in Medan, you will need to get a work permit, even if you’ve already had a business visa. An Indonesian business visa will only allow you to do short-term business activities. It will not allow you to seek employment in the country.

If you’ve already secured a job in Medan, then you shouldn’t worry too much about the process. Usually, your employer will be the one to request government approval to employ foreigners and get them their own work permit. Just take note of these important things about your work permit:

  • You must have a certificate of competence related to the position you’re applying for
  • You must join the National Healthcare and Social Security Program (BPJS)
  • You must take Indonesian language courses provided by your employer

Once your employer has obtained a formal government approval (RPTKA), you can apply for the stay permit visa (KITAS). Then, your work permit can last for up to 2 years, but it is extendable. For more information about applying for a KITAS, check out our article about Visas in Indonesia.

Additional tips

Don’t forget to localize your CV and business card. When it comes to job hunting, the quality of your CV should be at the top of your priority list. The standard for CV in Indonesia doesn’t differ too much from the international standard. Here are some things you need to consider:

  • The CV should only be one page long
  • There should be a formal yet attractive photo of yourself
  • Keep everything concise and provide necessary personal information in the CV
  • List both soft skills and hard skills
  • The CV can be in English or Indonesian (The trend today is having a CV written in English, whether you’re a local or a foreigner)

Aside from your CV, you also want to make sure you have the language skills necessary. English may be the lingua franca of the world but having adequate Indonesian skills may also be useful. It can help you secure better positions and integrate quickly into the working environment. Try taking Indonesian language classes before relocating to Medan. Alternatively, you can also find Indonesian language classes for foreigners within the city.

 Useful link:

Glassdoor Indonesia
Best Jobs Indonesia
Monster Indonesia

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.