The world is a large place filled with diverse opportunities. Exploring other countries opens up your mind to new experiences and cultures, and it is absolutely worth doing. If you’re the type of person who has always dreamed of going someplace else, there’s no better time than now! Yet, if you decide to go for any extended period of time, you’ll probably need a source of income, which means you’ll need to land a job. Rather than moving and taking a leap of faith that you’ll find work, it’s better to prepare before you get there. How do you network from across the world? Our experts are here to explain.
Regardless of where you went to school, your college will have an alumni network. Use it! Reach out to the college career center and see if they have contacts abroad. Carrie, Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., explains that even if there isn’t anyone within your specific countries of interest, the career center “could give you a few starters on where graduates in your same field of study were hired and if they have ever heard of instances similar to yours.”1
You might have noticed the presence of professional organizations in college. Just because you’ve graduated doesn’t mean you can no longer be involved. In fact, as Phil, Hiring Expert from Merck and Co., explains, “One of my biggest pieces of advice is to get involved with any professional organizations or societies that are related to your major or field of study. Many of those organizations are international and can offer virtual networking sessions or opportunities for committee involvement or leadership.”2 Organizations such as the International Council on Systems Engineering, the Association for Law, Property and Society, and the Chartered Institute of Marketing are great pathways to get your foot in the door in another country.
It will be much easier to get a job in a foreign country if you have specialized skills or are willing to take a job that might not directly be related to your field. Especially if you’re looking to gain sponsorship, specialized skills are a must. That might mean staying where you are for now and gaining experience before looking to move somewhere else.
Ashley, Hiring Expert from Cardinal Health, explains: “For a position with a unique and hard to find skillset, companies are typically more willing to look at non-local candidates or candidates who require sponsorship. However, this doesn't mean you wouldn't be considered for a position that doesn't require a hard to find skillset.”3 Ultimately, while your past experience is important, gaining a job comes down to the connections you’ve made and how you’re able to present yourself.
Internet as a Resource
One of the biggest resources at your disposal is the internet. After all, how easy is it to open up Google and use the search bar? Even social media can help you find a job. Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T, offers helpful advice for networking through social platforms: “Find a LinkedIn group for expats or professionals in that region and start engaging. Contribute to discussions, create rapport, and build your network just as you would back home. Search, rinse and repeat to continue networking on every platform from Facebook to Reddit.”4 By putting your name out there in specialized communities, you’re more likely to find someone within your network willing to help you out. After all, some of the best job opportunities come from chance encounters.
If you’re looking to work abroad, go for it. It will more than likely be difficult, but don’t get discouraged. Don’t discount the importance of establishing a network, and do your best to separate yourself from the pack. If worse comes to worse, take a lower job outside of your field for a year to get established. The experience will absolutely be worth the work to get there.