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 multi-million dollar businesses, and smooze 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, 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, like 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 bar-b-q. 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 culture to follow the protocol so you don’t offend anyone. Nurture the contact, being an active listener and asking questions. Be a resource to others before asking for a lead on a job.
While we think that these days the world is a smaller place 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.