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The Mass Exodus – How to Bag that Expat job

Every day without fail, come rain, wind or shine (or sand storm) an individual or family packs their belongings and joins the millions of people leaving their homeland. Believe it or not it’s not always to the sun but still they wave goodbye in droves, titanic style, to their folks with a belief that their happiness and success lies elsewhere. Airlines and relocation companies, amongst others, around the world have benefited from the past global financial meltdown as seeking security can now often mean uprooting the family and leaving behind everything you hold dear to begin again.

Those lucky enough to survive the emotional highs and lows and make it past the two year point often never look back, but how did they get that job? How on earth did he or she find the golden ticket? With ever increasing ‘faceless’ websites and depressingly few replies it would be easy to give up at the first hurdle. This article is not unique to Dubai. Here are some tips…

1. Firstly, the best place to find your job is the country you are in currently! Yes, that’s a surprise! There are many, many recruiters in your home country that have industry connections and can place new talent with their client’s abroad.

2. Get that CV ship shape. Ask yourself what you are aiming for? Get a notepad and start writing it all down.

3. In this day and age you may be asked to change your CV/Resume several times by different recruitment agents. Don’t spend hours on this. Six months down the line this could be a complete waste of time and energy. You will have changed your CV 40 times and still not had a bite of the golden apple! If you can’t see the wood for the trees ask for help, get a friend or colleague to proof read it for you. Failing that there are reasonably priced professionals out there that can assist for a small fee.

4. Certain industry CV’s are meant to be long but try and keep it brief and precise. Watch the obvious like spelling and grammar, don’t use fancy fonts/paper/images and definitely don’t use slang or text speak. Add a passport sized photograph of the professional, smart you (no sexy poses) if you feel confident. Keep it black and white.

5. Get your references and qualifications copied.

6. At this stage think also about the salary and benefits you have in mind. Remain open and flexible, you have a long way to go.

7. A little bit of Internet savvy goes a long way when targeting your recruiter. Have a plan. Use an Internet search engine to find out who the big  recruiters are. Then do another search to find out who the specialist consultancy recruitment agencies are and then finally find out who the companies are that would employ your skills and experience. Make this a project. Devote time to it. Keep records especially of whom you spoke to and when. Depends on the stage you are at in your career but do not forget some of the more reputable headhunters. Building relationships with recruiters/human resources is key. Do not forget national and international newspapers for senior positions. It’s the old way but still a good way. Also Professional institutions often have publications and publish industry jobs. Do not leave any stone unturned.

8. Don’t rush into this. Give your project 3 to 6 months. When aiming to move abroad there is so much more to think about than just the job although clearly it’s a good start. It’s all about research. These days it’s easy to find help. The best piece of advice is to start with finding out the visa/immigration requirements for the country of your choice. Make sure your passport is up to date as you may be asked to fly over for interviews with hours to spare. Yes, it happens!

9. Make sure your finances/taxes are in order and work out a plan to sell/rent your house, car, and so on. Consider all the family’s needs and how these might be met in your country of choice. The most obvious question is “are your qualifications accepted where you wish to live and is the market able to meet your requirements for a job?”.

10. Now you need to understand how much it will cost to move your family lock, stock and barrel. What do you need included in the package? Do you need school fees, medical, housing, flights, shipping, car – the list can be endless. Will you have savings? Are you going to move unassisted and at your own expense or are you hoping to find an employer that will willingly cover these for you? Do you really need to think about all this now? Yes, you do.

11. You have to be move ready. At interview you will be expected to know the answers to these questions and the biggest one is ‘when can you start?’

12. So you are now making a couple of calls a day. By all means chuck your CV into the deep dark internet several times a day but be careful not to flood the market and don’t expect replies. Sadly many of these faceless sites are linked and you may end up in the same in tray 3 times in one day. Understand how recruiters work. Mostly they work on commission and you are the commodity they are selling to the client. The recruiter will control the deal until the ink is drying on the contract. You are not paying him so you need to sell yourself really well and make him work for you. Believe in yourself.

13. Finally, remain positive. If you think it will take a month or less there you are more than likely going to be disappointed. However if you approach it with professionalism, determination and gusto you will prevail. One word of warning, your new employer will not have time for you to settle in and will not be interested in the fact your wife/dog/chinchilla isn’t happy and having a terrible time adjusting – they want you to work! The way to limit this possibly explosive situation is envisage the issues and talk through them before you agree to move mountains. Do ask for assistance with relocation. There are many brilliant companies out there that do move these mountains for you and can arrange practically anything for you. Get your family buying into the move and encourage them to use expat websites and forums to forge new friendships and find out about their new home before leaving.

Good Luck!



One Response to “The Mass Exodus – How to Bag that Expat job”

  1. MS says:

    I recently wrote a post mentioning Millenial expats and the process of job hunting at;
    http://generationyexpat.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/you-know-youre-a-millenial-expat-when/
    I find that Millenials and/or Generation Y has some unique perspectives to share and challenges in regards to moving overseas for professional work.


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