Are you working in a foreign country and looking for a position that will enable you to return to your country of origin? Are you overwhelmed? Are you working long hours or struggling with language barriers? Paralyzed at the thought of starting a new network? Working and living in a foreign country can be challenging.

Most executive job seekers don’t find networking as easy as people think. Executives run multimillion-dollar businesses and schmooze investors, Boards of Directors, etc., as a normal course of doing business. Yet, when it comes to networking for themselves, it is an entirely different story. They feel uncomfortable tooting their own horn to others.

How do you begin? Start with who you know. If you have lived abroad for any length of time you surely have met people through coworkers and other expats that have traveled in and out of your circle of influence. Sometimes these people can be the best resource for networking. Their outreach could spread layers deep because of culture, level at a company, connections, and any number of things. Tapping into who they know and what they know about potential job opportunities could be quite valuable.  

Expats seem to gravitate to similar places when off work—such as health clubs, restaurants, parks, etc. It is comforting to hear your native language spoken when at these public places, and usually people are receptive to starting up a conversation with a fellow countryman.
And what is it about living abroad that sometimes creates more “parties” than when living at “home.” When I refer to “parties” in this sense it could be expats that meet on Friday nights to wind down from the week and compare work or family experiences; or a neighbor hosting a gathering; or, for example, the Argentinian Consulate hosting a barbecue. Every one of these events is an excellent place to network. Initiate a conversation on a topic of interest and develop a relationship.

Don’t forget to reach out to your former network base that includes colleagues and bosses, friends, and neighbors in your country of origin while living and working in another country. They will want you to return to the country almost as much as you and will be great advocates.

Remember to follow the standard networking rules no matter what country you are located in. Be aware of country cultural differences/nuances to follow the protocol. Nurture the contact by being an active listener and asking questions. Equally important--be a resource to others before asking for a lead on a job.

While we think that the world is a smaller place these days because of the advantages of technology, networking is still people driven. It’s still all about developing relationships with people, no matter what country you live and work in.

Louise Garver
This article was written by Louise Garver,
Certified Job Search Strategist and Career Transition Coach with BlueSteps Executive Career Services (BECS). Louise has guided executives across industries and disciplines to land their ideal position in less time while maximizing their compensation. She would be happy to share this vital information with you! Energize your search and learn how to navigate easily the complex job market with her step-by-step online and offline job search system.

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