Monthly goal: getting a job in Brazil
Find out what it’s like to work in Brazil, including information about the Brazilian job market, culture, language requirements, traditions and much more.
Brazil is the largest country in South America. Brazil is an incredibly diverse country, in people, culture, and landscapes—from the famous summer carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Olinda, and Recife to the wild power of nature in the Amazon and Iguaçu Falls. You’ll find bustling cities, laid-back beaches, and traditional lifestyles, often right next to each other. Brazilian culture, which varies substantially across the country, comes from an international mix of European colonizers, African and Asian communities (notably in Salvador and São Paulo, respectively), and indigenous influence throughout the country.
Bumba-Meu-Boi, which roughly translates as “hit my bull,” is a festival with traditional roots and takes place in most areas of the country. Locals work throughout the year to create a bull from a wire frame covered in papier mache, which is then used as part of a folk dance. The dance tells the story of a bull which was killed and then brought back to life by traditional healers and music. Although there are smaller events earlier in the year, the main month for the festivities is June. In Sao Luis, where one of the largest Bumba-Meu-Boi festival is held, around 200 bulls and their groups converge on the Joao Paulo neighborhood.
Language is one of the strongest elements of Brazil’s national unity. Portuguese is spoken by nearly 100 percent of the population. The only exceptions are some members of Amerindian groups and pockets of immigrants, primarily from Japan and South Korea, who have not yet learned Portuguese. The principal families of Indian languages are Tupí, Arawak, Carib, and Gê.
There is about as much difference between the Portuguese spoken in Brazil and that spoken in Portugal as between the English spoken in the United States and that spoken in the United Kingdom. Within Brazil, there are no dialects of Portuguese, but only moderate regional variation in accent, vocabulary, and use of personal nouns, pronouns, and verb conjugations. Variations tend to diminish as a result of mass media, especially national television networks that are viewed by the majority of Brazilians.
The written language, which is uniform all over Brazil, follows national rules of spelling and accentuation that are revised from time to time for simplification. They are slightly different from the rules followed in Portugal. Written Brazilian Portuguese differs significantly from the spoken language and is used correctly by only a small, educated minority of the population. The rules of grammar are complex and allow more flexibility than English or Spanish. Many foreigners who speak Portuguese fluently have difficulty writing it properly.
Because of Brazil’s size, self-sufficiency, and relative isolation, foreign languages are not widely spoken. English is often studied in school and increasingly in private courses. It has replaced French as the principal second language among educated people. Because Spanish is similar to Portuguese, most Brazilians can understand it and many can communicate in it, although Spanish speakers usually have difficulty understanding spoken Portuguese.
Visiting Brazil in January – March
Between January and March is mid-summer across Brazil, although the warmer days are accompanied by the start of the rains in the Amazon and the Pantanal. February in particular is a popular time for Brazilians to travel, with Carnival often falling in this month.
Events & Festivals
Carnival (February or March, depending on when it’s the beginning of Lent): The most famous celebrations take place in Rio, where visitors crowd to see the colourful samba parades and join the lively street parties. Read more »
Semana Santa (Easter): During Semana Santa, the cobbled streets of Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais are covered in carpets of intricate patterns of flowers and other natural materials.
What are your chances of getting a job?
Brazil’s economy is the seventh largest in the world and continues to grow, which attracts foreign investment and workers from oversees. Sao Paulo is the most popular destination for expats and offers the majority of job opportunities, with numerous multinational companies having their head offices there.
Finance, IT and engineering are all areas that require graduates. There are new transport infrastructure plans to get the country ready for the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 but the affect of the games on the economy is yet to be seen.
Graduates with experience and knowledge of Portuguese are at a considerable advantage. The best way in is to join an international company with a posting in Brazil.
Catho – popular site in Portuguese
Empregos.com.br – in Portuguese. Includes job and networking opportunities, CV and application guidance and a section highlighting companies looking to recruit new graduates.
Guia de empregos – in Portuguese.
Jobs Abroad – in English.
Yahoo Empregos Brasil – in Portuguese.
Where can you work?
- Major industries: Brazil has well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing and service sectors. It is also a large producer of sugar cane, coffee and ethanol and exporter of coffee, iron ore, soybeans, footwear and motor vehicles and parts.
- Recent growth areas: investment is being put into space, nanotechnology, healthcare and energy research. Opportunities are also available in ethanol production and deep water oil research.
- Shortage occupations: engineering, environmental management and consultants and IT professionals.
- Major companies: Itaú Unibaco Holding, Banco Bradesco, Banco de Brasil (regional banks), Vale (iron and steel), Petrobras (oil and gas operations), JBS, BRF (food processing), Itaúsa (conglomerates), Companhia Brasileria de Distribuicao (food retail), Ultrapar Participacoes (oil and gas operations).
Applying for jobs
The usual way to apply for a job in Brazil is by submitting a CV and cover letter or by completing an application form. If you are applying for a job by CV and covering letter, your CV should be no more than two A4 pages and your covering letter no more than one. Interview preparation is generally the same as in the UK. The interview format will vary depending on the role that you are applying for and the type of organisation.