There are many considerations when launching an international job search. You need to think about including what you want to do versus what opportunities are available, who are your potential contacts, where to look for potential openings, and how to apply for jobs. Here are a few tips you may not have considered:
1. Understand your competition. When searching for a job as an expat in another country it would be helpful to remember that your competition will mostly likely consist of locals. There are many foreign-educated localscompeting for the best jobs in most countries; even though there may not be many expats in the market, and despite the fact that in some countries scores of locals may be leaving the country to pursue better lives abroad, there is still a good base of qualified locals to fill the best positions.
2. Be prepared to negotiate in a culturally-appropriate way. Getting things done in some countries can be tricky. Negotiating can come in handy when dealing with government employees and tough employers. Just be careful not to cross the line; cash is often considered a bribe, but gifts may be appropriate in some countries and cultures. Learn the culturally-appropriate ways to negotiate in your destination country, including how to communicate appropriately, how to ask for someone’s time, how to negotiate a salary, and how to find out about job openings. You can find some information online, such as at Kwintessential, for tips on how to do this.
3. Create a solid network of contacts. The old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” is very applicable in most countries. Meeting people in a new country can be challenging, but in most cases, there should be no shortage of chances to make contacts. You can most likely find exhibitions, conferences, seminars, and roundtable discussions open to the general public. Finding them is relatively easy if you know how to connect with the expat and professional community. Attending the events is a perfect opportunity to make new professional contacts on neutral turf. Expat Women has an excellent list of expat groups around the world.
4. Know the business environment. More and more international companies and organizations are entering into emerging markets, creating opportunities for expats and locals alike. Stay connected with what has been happening through the Chambers of Commerce in the country.
5. Market your expat status. As an expat you have certain qualities and skills that will be valuable to many companies. Your knowledge of the business environment in your home country could be very useful in another country. Your language skills or university education can be very attractive to potential employers, and your different take on business, ethical, cultural, and political issues will certainly help your colleagues to develop a more well-rounded view of the world. Living and working in another country will allow you to learn and teach at the same time.
We’d like to hear from you! What tips do you have to share with others on an international job search?
Contributed by Susan Musich, Executive Director & Founder of Passport Career, a comprehensive, online global job search support system. She is currently serving on the Board of Directors of FIGT and blogs atPassportCareer.com