With the job market tight at home, expats are now expanding their horizons when searching for work.
Many are looking abroad, but one of the most common mistakes made is to send out CV’s without first doing some prior planning. A job search is a whole lot more than just mailing out CV’s to random companies, and it requires a little more work if you want to get noticed. If you have been mailing out your CV with no response, you are probably ready to try taking a totally different approach, which is where your planning begins.
A goal without a plan is just a wish” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
There are some important points to remember when searching for your dream job:
1. Have a clear strategy in place
This is an absolutely crucial part of the puzzle, as it will help you clearly see potential roadblocks such as the time, cost, and other aspects you will be faced with when conducting an international job search.
- The first thing to deal with is the time frame, which means breaking down each part of the process into actual units of time. When does your unemployment run out? How soon do you need to find a new job?
- How much is taking a job abroad going to cost you? Do you have enough savings to cover the cost of moving, as well as any unexpected costs that may arise? Always plan on spending more than you actually believe it will cost.
- Finally, you need to be realistic about obstacles that may block your path. What does your employment record look like, and do you have the skills necessary for the jobs you are targeting? Do you have the work permit required to work in the desired country? If you see potential issues, try to correct them within the time frame set for yourself at the start of the process.
2. Set A Clear Goal
Writing down your end goal is an excellent way of keeping it clear. There should be a pre-defined plan in place to reach the goal, but since obstacles can arise, maintain a level of flexibility.
- Ideal companies. Think about the type of work that you are looking for, and then identify 3 or 4 companies who have positions that suit, and that you would like to work for. Do a little networking to see if you can gather some contacts of people within the company, or people who know employees of said companies.
- Tactics and execution. Organization is key to success, which is why you need to keep track of every single step. When creating your timeframe, write down the tasks that need to be done within that time. If you have experience with Excel, you can use it to keep track of your progress, as well as the companies you have contacted. You can also use a CRM to help you keep track of your search more effectively with tools such as Jibberjobber or gojobhero Make sure to make a note of when to follow up with each.
- Progress. This is not just measured in interviews and job offers. By writing down all that needs to be done, you can see clear progress being made even if offers are not coming in right away.
Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there”
– Bo Jackson
- Strengths. Always pay more attention to your strengths than your negatives. Going the opposite way will only slow you down. Don’t concern yourself with focusing on the weaknesses that might hurt your chances of landing your dream job, and instead, focus on the strong points that you are bringing to the table. Defining your strengths helps you to stay positive, and that is something that others will pick up on if you get to the interview phase. You could also talk to your coach about personal branding, and how that can help highlight your strengths, of which there are sure to be many.
- Mental. It is easy to become overwhelmed during the job search process, which can leave you feeling both mentally and physically drained. The process will chew up a lot of time and energy, but you still have to find a way to make time for yourself. Do whatever it is you normally do to relieve stress, and don’t feel guilty about taking breaks. If you become burnt out, your plans will quickly start to unravel.
- Momentum. These types of mental health breaks are good, but just be careful not to make them last too long. Once you start getting off the timeline that you have set for yourself, it can become near impossible to get back on track. Always maintain some form of momentum, as doing so will yield the positive results you want.
- Blockage. All obstacles should be tackled the moment they arise. Putting them off to a later time can end up leaving you stuck, which in turn can have a negative effect on your confidence. A lack of confidence is usually very apparent to employers, and they are going to be unwilling to hire someone that they do not feel is passionate about the position. Knowing that obstacles will arise will help you tackle them head on when they do.
- Practice. Practice is not necessarily the road to perfection, but it is a crucial part of the preparation process. Ask a friend, mentor, or career coach to conduct a practice interview with you. The internet is filled with sites that list common questions asked by employers. Check those out and start practicing how you would answer each one. Try recording your answers on video so that you can play it back and see how confident you look in that situation. Are you fidgeting? Do you appear nervous? Are you slouching? Look at yourself objectively and correct the things that seem off.
- Follow-up. Companies will often take time deciding the right person for the job, and you can sway their opinion with a well-timed follow-up. When you complete the interview, be sure to find out who you should follow-up with, and then take time to prepare a well-worded response. Make sure to leave an adequate amount of tie between the interview and follow-up, as jumping in too soon can feel a little like harassment. When putting together the follow-up, try to include something that was brought up in the interview, as this clearly shows that you were paying attention to what was said.
- Negotiate. There is nothing worse than getting that dream job and finding out it doesn’t pay as well as you had hoped. Negotiation is a perfectly acceptable part of the hiring process, so don’t be afraid to make a counter-offer. Same rules apply when it comes to the job requirements. If there is something that you are not comfortable with, be sure to discuss it with the employer before accepting the position.