Sunday, April 17, 2011

Beating Expat Career Barriers - Ten Top Tips

Photo: Laura Leavell 
To round the expat career series up I would first like to thank the participants who have shared their career stories over the past few weeks. I end the series with a summary of the top ten tips from their stories.

If you are moving or living abroad but want to ensure that your career remains intact in some form or another, here are ten pointers to consider:

  1. Think creatively and outside the box. You may need to rethink your career path but with creative thinking you can end up going in a surprising and fun, albeit new, direction. 
  2. Assess your current skill set and ask yourself how you can use those skills in your host country, or how you can adapt them to fill a local need. Jo Parfitt's "A Career in Your Suitcase" is a great resource to help with this exercise.
  3. Sieze opportunities that come your way - listen to people around you and use your network to identify gaps. Sarah Johnson's career story is a great example of listening to people you meet in the most unlikely of situations.
  4. Use the experience you gain as an expat as a basis for your overseas career. Both Nicola McCall and Louise Wiles demonstrate how you can make this happen.
  5. Think about retraining or brushing up your skills. There are many long distance learning programs out there to help you.
  6. Be realistic about your career options when you move overseas as the barriers can be numerous: recognition of pre-existing qualifications, local language, work permits, local culture, job market, legal requirements. Start your research before you leave home.
  7. Make your career portable so that you can take it with you should you relocate.
  8. Don't underestimate the support you will need to keep your career on track overseas - check with your partner's employer of they will support any retraining or if there are any local schemes to help you.
  9. Build up a network that can point you in the right direction, brainstorm with you and offer you feedback and tips.
  10. Stay positive!

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