Job search when you are in expatriation: easy or not?

May 16, 2022


Blog, General

Femmes d’expat (I love what they write!) give us some advice in their article “Recherche d’emploi en expatriation : 8 idées reçues»:

Looking for a job in expatriation is often perceived as an obstacle course. Nobody is waiting for you with a ready-made job and you are competing with (many?) local competitors who know the market, speak the language and are part of this market. However, at Expat Communication Expat Communication,the editor of FemmExpat who has been supporting hundreds of expatriates for 20 years, we have the chance to respond with what we have observed in other expatriates. And often, we start by undoing some received ideas…

1 – For my job search in expatriation, I must speak the local language

Good point. Inevitably, except in the few French-speaking countries (and still!), there is always a native who speaks better than you. Big breack for a start, therefore. But no discouragement. Some tips :

  • We take care of our English before leaving. If you are looking for a job in the Netherlands for example, or in Belgium, weak notions of Dutch still pass if you can justify an excellent level of English. Think about it before you go. If your expat package includes language lessons, see if it’s worth starting with a deepening of English?
  • Learning the language of your country is essential. Our advice? Go there with a positive, constructive and therefore effective mind. Take a look to Liesbeth’s advice here.
  • And then, you train to prepare for your interview in a language that is not your own. Here some tips to have in mind when the recruiter tells you “Let’s switch in Spanish” .

2 – In expatriation, I no longer have a network!

Because everywhere in the world, we find work through a network. Certainly. And at Expat Communication, we add: “especially when you have an atypical background”. So another reason to say that the network is essential for expatriate spouses. Only in this case, you are new and do not know many people. Or at least that’s what you think… But the professional network is in fact never so far from your personal network. So…

  • We put ourselves in the attitude of networking: networking is an attitude above all. You will find in this article some good tips to get rid of old beliefs.
  • Going easy is also good advice to start with. We start with the “easy” network, close, and you will see that it is often this one that allows us to widen our circle. Some hints here.
  • We are getting closer to the French-speaking professional networks created in your country. If there is none: why not take the plunge and create it yourself?

3 – Finding a job in expatriation is less well paid, therefore less interesting

This is a key question for many of you. In front of a job offer, question all the options, not only the salary. Take some time to think and why not, play the balance game: in front of this low salary, list what is positive to draw from it.

  • it a great team, dynamic, with whom the feeling really went well? The values ​​of this company really motivate you, you will have fun working for them every day… they will bring you something extra, no matter what.
  • it’s a first experience: we always say that we are more attractive when we are in office… So go ahead to put a foot in the stirrup.
  • you feel a real desire to work to get out of your daily life,…

To find out more, read the article on the subject of expatriate salaries.

4 – I do not have the right to be self-employed abroad

Wrong ! If you keep an address in France, this should not be a problem. Since 2020 and the advent of teleworking with the pandemic, the possibility of pursuing a job, remotely, and as a freelancer can be a track to follow. Do not hesitate to reread the testimony and advice of FemmExpat in this article.

And as for the status of self-employed entrepreneur from abroad, you will know everything by reading this article.

5 – A job as a volunteer is not a real job

Your friends encourage you to start volunteering. A blockage remains in your mind. For you, a job without pay is not a real job. It does not count. Should we arbitrate between volunteering and professional activity? This is a dilemma many newcomers face. But, let’s start from the beginning. Why looking for a job?

  • To avoid a hole in the CV because we know the difficulty of bouncing back
  • To have a project of your own
  • To preserve your employability and stay alert in the market

In this context, is volunteering obsolete? No, for 2 reasons. The first is that it is often a first step before starting your job search (meetings, therefore networking, etc.). The second is that volunteering allows you to develop your skills. Read our article dedicated to volunteering abroad.

6 – Working abroad means enjoying less your expatriation

This is debatable! Indeed, if you throw yourself headlong into a digital nomad job, 100% remotely, or into an online training: then there, yes, there is a certain risk of “missing out” on your expatriation by not taking the time to discover the country, its culture, its people.

On the other hand, there is nothing like discovering the local culture and fully experiencing your expatriation by working locally! Up to you…

7 – I cannot use my CPF for training or a skills assessment

Wrong. The best thing is to unlock it before leaving and submit an online training request during your expatriation or unlock it upon return from expatriation. Note that at Expat Communication, the publisher of FemmExpat, our skills assessments are eligible for the CPF.

8 – There is no one to help me in my job search in expatriation

Wrong ! There should be an expat coach near you. Going on an expat often means leaving everything, including your job, to follow your spouse to the other side of the world. For many, expatriation is then the opportunity to reinvent themselves professionally. Certainly, it is very stimulating to open up to new opportunities. But at the same time, we cannot say that it is so simple to implement…

The solution ? Don’t stay alone. And benefit from professional coaching with Expat Communication. Or with me at 😉


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