As a recent grad, the current job market has not been a piece of cake for me. Following my return from an internship in Kenya, I found my job hunt in Canada was not personally or professionally fulfilling.
After a few months with little prospects, I decided to move to Belgium to live with my partner. My intention was to begin my career in a market that looked more suitable for my professional profile.
Now that I am here, I find myself in a competitive, international market with a different set of challenges.
How does one start looking for jobs while abroad?
I’ve quickly realized that the skills I use traveling can also be used in my job search. When I am traveling, I don’t stay at home feeling guilty I’m not working. I watch my budget and I keep an eye out for cheap activities.
I’m always on the move meeting new people, discovering new ideas, and learning about the world as well as myself. It only makes sense to apply this go-getter attitude to my job hunt.
It’s important to know the specifics concerning what type of job you are after and where you want to do it before going out to network abroad.
After you have decided what type of job you are looking for, make efforts to meet people in the industry. Networking is valuable tool; it’s a quick way to get information, advertise my job search, and improve your interview skills.
There are a variety of ways to quickly meet people in a more professional setting while in a new country:
I find that Twitter is an effective way to research companies and industries I am interested in. Here, I can focus on creating my own personal brand and connecting with others who are in the industry.
Twitter is the best place to get current information and the trends in any type of field. Some useful accounts for aspiring travel writers are @MatadorNetwork, @NatGeoTravel, @RoughGuides and for job hunting in Europe try @AIESEC.
2. Expat Groups
Many established expat professionals join expat groups, such as Internations, to meet others like themselves. This is a perfect place to meet new friends, feel out the hiring process in multinational firms, and create some valuable contacts for your job hunt.
3. Professional Seminars and Discussions
Many professions have organized groups and seminars that can be easily found in most cities. These events are an effective way to show off your critical thinking and experience by thoughtfully participating in discussion.
Don’t be intimidated to join in the debate; by not voicing your ideas won’t get you anywhere in networking or job-hunting.
4. Recruitment Agencies
Starting out in a new country, your network will be small. Stop in at the local recruitment agencies to discuss your CV you may find some suitable positions from their bevy contacts.
It is slightly scary to move to a new country without work already lined up, but the hands-on skills that you will gain during the search are indispensible. If you love challenges and can handle a few bumps in the road along the way, your decision will be rewarding.
I would never have thought of using Twitter in a job search, but I suppose it makes sense! 🙂 Have you joined any expat groups in Belgium?
It took me a while to get into Twitter but now I love it. It’s so useful to see what others are doing and its a great way to stay up to date on changes in the job market, finding career tips, as well as networking.
I’ve joined to International groups in Belgium. The first is the International Young Women’s Partnership for young professionals in Brussels and Internations to attend some wine tastings. So far, so good!