Professional Tips from an Expats Career Coach To Find A Job You Deserve, Part 1
Each career is very different and special. My article will talk about specific cases where you are job hunting in a new country AFTER you have made the decision to relocate. Maybe you are already there, embracing a new fascinating culture, just getting back from language classes, and opening up your laptop to send another CV…
I have lost count of the times I relocated, including many times as a job hunter in new, unknown countries. I made it in London, Beijing, and Prague. Being a former recruiter and intercultural trainer definitely helped. After some time, I started to share my experience with friends and acquaintances, doing more research and helping more people. Naturally, I became a career coach for expats. I wrote this article to help you navigate this very challenging, but fascinating new chapter of your life.
First of all, let me congratulate you on making this decision. Regardless whether you are a fresh graduate, senior professional who is willing to take the risk, or an ambitious expat spouse, you are a brave and interesting person, who is most likely fun to be with. That is a good start for successful job hunt!
Let me begin with the biggest mistake many people do, which is comparing yourself to others. It is a very natural thing to do, because we are taught this from our early childhood and at school. However, you cannot compare your very unique situation to that of:
- Your friends and former colleagues back home
- People who are native or already established in the country where you have relocated
You have to plan smarter, try harder, and be always one step further, but also give yourself more credit and gain self-acceptance. Already feeling that is too much to ask? Hopefully this article will make it easier.
1. KNOW YOUR NICHE SKILLS
Knowledge of yourself is more important than market knowledge.
Read more about it in the book: What Color Is Your Parachute? written by Richard N. Bolles.
What are your niche skills? When I facilitate job search workshops, such as “How to find a job in…?” I always start with this question. Participants are usually surprised, because they expect we will begin by discussing the specifics of job market in the relevant location. While this is also important, it should be your 2nd priority. It is really a thought-provoking exercise. Some individuals get it right immediately, some have no idea, and some learn from others: “I have this niche skill too, and I didn’t even realise that”. I love these eureka moments.
What I often hear is “communicative”, or “I can quickly adapt to new cultures.” These are NOT niche skills. However, “proficient Photoshop user”, “social media marketer” or “Android developer” are niche skills. Depending on how “niche” they are in your case, it could be one skill or a combination of few that will give you an edge (= dream job). You have to be really honest with yourself, and before you say “advanced Excel”, think how strong and up-to-date your expertise is in that area. Still unsure? Feel free to list some of your skills down below and I will give you my feedback as to how “niche” they really are.
2. ASK QUESTIONS
Continue exploring and asking questions.
When I quit my job in London and moved to Beijing, it turned out that most of the HR roles that interested me were reserved for fluent Chinese speakers. I could say “nihao”, “xiexie”, and count to three in Mandarin, but that was about it! You can imagine the initial culture shock I experienced. The major, strategic question was how to invest my time: in the job search process or shall I focus on studying Chinese 100%? Many foreigners (especially those who were not speaking Chinese) were telling me that there is no point trying to become fluent, because “it will take at least 5 years”. After some time, one of my new colleagues told me how he learnt this language in one year. I was amazed, because everyone else before said it was a “mission impossible”.
My point is that you cannot take anything for granted. Ask questions; make sure you ask experts or people who actually have hands-on experience about your researched topic. Your role is to become a Researcher and Challenger, even if these are not your dominant action styles. To explore more about action styles, I highly recommend you to read an article from Kathy Caprino, posted on Forbes:
3. PLAY THE GAME
Difficulties are part of the game. You have signed up for it!
Recently, one of my clients received a job offer from top technology company. During the recruitment process, the company “forgot” she needed a visa sponsorship (although she made that clear from the very beginning). After receiving the offer, she went to meet the company and presented a few solutions as to how they can solve this. However the company decided to withdraw the offer. How would you feel? Obviously you can be bitterly disappointed and ask: why does it happen to me? Well, it is because that is part of the game when moving to another country. There are some things you cannot control. Even the best companies could turn out to be disorganised, so it is only up to you how you react to it.
What did my client do? She had another job offer and joined the other company. You can read more about it next week in point 4: USE SALES TECHNIQUES. Next Beata’s article will help you with “selling yourself” at the Czech job market >>> READ HERE: “5 Professional Tips from an Expats Career Coach To Find A Job You Deserve, Part 2“.
I hope this article can be a helpful guide during your amazing adventures in your new country.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me on social media or use the contact form below:
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Nothing makes me happier than hearing successful stories from people who have found their dream jobs abroad, so please let me know if that has happened to you.
Forbes “The 6 Dominant Action Styles: Why You Need To Know Yours To Be Happy And Successful” at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2016/04/19/the-6-dominant-action-styles-why-you-need-to-know-yours-to-be-happy-and-successful/#7933a79924a6
What Color Is Your Parachute? 2016: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers: http://www.amazon.com/What-Color-Your-Parachute-2016/dp/160774662X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1461624747&sr=1-1&keywords=what+color+is+your+parachute+2016
Beata Dziedzic is a career development coach based in Prague who helps expats discover their niche skills, build a powerful online brand and find a career they will love. More about Beata>>