During a recession looking for a job abroad can be either an impossible challenge or a great opportunity depending on the unique skills you may have that are highly in demand in certain countries. If you are able to manage intercultural conflicts, foster inter-ethnic collaborations you might be a great candidate for expatriation. Before moving, it usually takes an average of 9 months of preparation to find your ideal destination and a rewarding job.
Here are the pre-departure steps:
Step 1-Discover your motivation for working abroad. Very often people contact me because they want to work in Europe. My first question to them is in which countries are they interested in as Europe job markets and regulations vary greatly from one country to another. You may want to work in a specific country because you learned the language, you did volunteer work or you already have working experience abroad. For some people it is a way to make a career move up or get challenges and adventure. For others it is to look for better working conditions, salaries and benefits or a mixture of all the above.
Step 2–Planning for a global career : As a global business and expat life coach, I provide a detailed assessment of the person’s motives, needs, strengths, weaknesses and her typical behavior in various contexts. I help people make informed choices and save time by using a systemic approach, providing resources and tools to define and reach their international career objectives. Selecting the best location is based on labor laws, natural attraction for specific cultural traits, lifestyle, and existing working opportunities including corporate jobs or becoming an expat entrepreneur.
Step 3-Develop your cultural intelligence (CQ). You can learn a lot from foreign people living in your own country. Try to be a member of expatriate groups in your town, join foreign chambers of commerce and attend events promoting countries you are interested in. Attend language classes and learn the challenges of cross-cultural communication by studying typical cultural dimensions in a business and management context and in life situations. You can find more information about cultural dimensions in my previous post “How to develop your cultural intelligence”
Step 4-Starting your work experience abroad: It depends on where you are with your current career and skills but working and living abroad can help you boost your resume and offer you more career opportunities in today’s global economy. Look into your existing network of people who are already established in your country of choice. If your family situation allows it spend few months in a language school in your target country and network from there. You can also teach your native language or other specialties like finance or IT as a consultant or for schools and universities. For example I teach at Temple University based in Tokyo, courses on strategic planning, new product development and advertising for continuing education programs in English.
Step 5-Getting your ideal job abroad. It is important to determine first what makes you attractive for global companies and international recruiters. It is rare that language only will open you doors to other jobs than teaching. If you want to start your business what is your niche, what type of people will buy from you ? Thanks to the internet and mobile communication tools you may keep your business at home and manage it from abroad. In any case, you should investigate carefully the immigration laws regarding working or investor visas. You may use a tourism visa if you want to test the water first. Usually you have three months and then you have to leave the country and re-entry. To negotiate your salary or to know how much you should earn to live in your target country, you should understand the tax system as well as social security and access to healthcare. A local lawyer and tax advisor may be a good investment both for opening a business and for corporate jobs.
Once you reach this last step it is time to prepare for your relocation and plan your move in details as well as making a repatriation plan.