Strategies for Expat Partners on how to stay relevant in your career field !
4 Strategies for Accompanying Expat Partners to Stay Relevant in Your Career Field
By Meg Wallace, Social Media Manager, Passport Career
One of the major considerations of international assignments is the career of the accompanying spouse/partner. There are numerous obstacles to paid employment as an accompanying spouse/partner in a foreign country, which vary with each assignment. Once you have made the decision to travel with your family, how do you stay up-to-date on career-related technology, best practices and trends in your industry? Passport Career has developed 4 effective strategies that can help you maintain and even build your reputation as an industry leader no matter where you go!
1. Build your brand through a strategic online presence
There are numerous ways to build your professional online presence. The basic building blocks of a successful online strategy include your LinkedIn profile, your Twitter account and your blog.
LinkedIn offers several ways to stay up to date, by following industry leaders, joining and participating in group discussions related to your career interests and by following top companies. LinkedIn also frequently updates the tools it offers to users, so keep an eye on the LinkedIn Blog for new ways to participate in your industry!
Twitter is an ever-increasingly popular way to join industry conversations. Tweet relevant articles and information to build up your reputation as an informed professional and take the opportunity to connect with companies and industry leaders. Twitter has the unique ability to connect you directly with organizations’ leaders by following them or directing well-thought out tweets to their or their company’s Twitter account.
Many expats host a blog to share their experiences with friends and families. You can likewise use blogs to improve your brand in your professional field. Write guest blogs and articles for leading blogs in your career field and follow the blogs of industry leaders to stay up to date! Many companies have started to release cutting-edge information on their site or blog rather than with traditional press releases, so this is a great way to stay ahead of the curve and brand yourself as leading-edge in your industry!
2. Connect with professionals in your field who live and work in your new country.
Even if you cannot legally work in the country or region you are living in, there are numerous networking events and conferences that you may be able to attend! If you are a member of Passport Career, check out the Making Contacts/Networkingsection in the Country Portfolios for suggestions on where to start looking for these events.
LinkedIn is also a great way to hear about conferences that may be coming to your area! Some conferences have also begun to offer online access to some of their sessions to offset the cost of travel. The skills and perspectives you gain through attending these events and sharing with professionals from different cultural and educational backgrounds will be invaluable when you re-enter your career field!
3. Cultivate your skills and interests
You may have worked in finance throughout your career but always wished you had time to learn about sustainable farming. Or, you may have worked as an elementary school teacher and wanted to learn marketing but never had the time. Now that you’re abroad, your time is a gift! You now have an excuse to explore other interests and, if you are a member of Passport Career, you have the resources to do so at your fingertips!
Use your time to learn new skills and to pursue your interests by engaging in volunteer opportunities or attending classes at the local university. Today’s hiring managers are looking for well-rounded applicants who can optimize their transferrable skills to serve their company or organization.
4. Stay in touch with colleagues, peers, supervisors and network
It can sometimes be difficult to leave your job and maintain relationships with your colleagues, peers , supervisors and network. Everyone is busy and you can’t always leave on the best of terms with everyone in your office.
Maintaining and cultivating relationships with your colleagues, peers and supervisors is key to providing you a leg-up when you do return to your field. It is often said that there is a ‘secret’ job market of positions that have not been posted publicly yet. Your connections may be able to suggest your name for the applicant pool or raise your application from the general group of candidates to the select group of considerations.
Be sure to maintain symbiotic personal and professional relationships while abroad so that your colleagues, peers and supervisors are willing to help you out when you return! They could also provide you with additional ways to stay up-to-date while you are on assignment or traveling.
It is never easy to leave your career behind for the uncertainty of a new city or country. By following these tips, you can ease your transition, maintain your professional brand, and increase your future employability!