5 Quick and Easy Ways to Prepare for Expat Life
Updated: Sep 25
For some, making the decision to move abroad is a quick an easy one. However, once the decision is made, preparation is in order. You may find yourself overwhelmed with a magnitude of decisions, but none more important than the one of how you will make money, sustain your lifestyle, and continue to flourish within your career field.
There are a few things you can do today that will get you on the path to realizing your dream abroad. Being strategic and dili
gent in your approach can help ease the bumps and lumps of the road ahead.
Following these 5 starter steps will set you in motion towards a successful life abroad.
1. Update Your Social Media
The world is online. Your digital footprint is who you are. No matter what your CV says, your social media is You! Clean it up, Brand it up and be sure it delivers a message that portrays who you are.
As you seek employment abroad, your employers, future clients and business partners will check your IG account. So, if you say that you are a consultant, your social media accounts should reflect this claim. Avoid falsifying your info. You never want to juice it up for the sake of looking good. Simply be sure your accounts highlight your attributes.
Should you delete controversial posts? Yes and No. If you are looking to enter a field where your candid persona is appreciated and expected, By all means, do not delete these posts. However, if you know that you will be working in an industry where your reputation is your product, just be aware that it could come back to haunt you.
2. Review Your Credentials and Expected Credentials for Your Field
The global market is changing and changing swiftly. Costs are high, time is precious and human resource is a fledgling commodity. Companies are not willing to pay a person to do, what a computer or a high school student could do.
Your job as a future employee is to convince your future employer of what you have to offer. How you can add to the bottom line. For example, if you are teacher, what can you add to the curriculum or extracurricular environment that would entice parents to send their children to the school. For consultants, how will you save the company money or assist them in cutting expenses that will justify your salary.
This is where your credentials come into play. You must be honest with yourself and conduct a thorough assessment of your abilities and skills. Do you need to take an extra year to gain a certificate? Go back to school? Attend a conference? These are the assets you will bring to your position. These are the assets companies are willing to pay top dollar for to bring into their establishments.
Remember, any new employee can be trained to work, but that’s not what global companies need these days. They need assets. They need individuals that will add to the bottom line.
3. Recruiter Reach Out
It may seem like an outdated practice but reaching out to recruiters within your field can be a great way to get your foot in the door.
Every industry has global recruiters and headhunters looking for qualified employees. You just may be the resource they are looking to pitch to their clients.
In your initial contact, there is no need to send your CV. This message should be an authentic reach out letter, individually drafted for this person. It does not need to be lengthy. It just needs to be informative.
Remember, you are an asset, who deserves to be compensated accordingly.
4. Research Your Industry
Keeping up to date with the current trends within your industry is what sets you apart from the crowd. When you are called for that interview, you want to be informed and effective.
Once you have decided to make the move abroad, take a moment to attend an online conference or participate in a panel discussion involving your practice. Not only will you add this to your CV, you become an asset to your future employer.
Last but not least, contact someone within your field who is already working abroad. Reach out through LinkedIn or Facebook groups to find people who have walked the path before you. Their insight is invaluable. Ask about some of the do’s and don’ts and their “I wish I had known.”
5. Exam Your Cultural Sensitivity
Moving abroad is quite different from a vacation in that you are where you are, for a while. Understanding your level of tolerance towards to cultures that are different will either alter or enhance your time abroad.
So, how do you undertake this self-examination? Well, you can start with asking yourself “why” before placing judgement. Imagine, you walk into a café, you see a group of teenage boys slurping their noodles, making loud smacking noises as they eat and chewing with their mouths open. Your first response may be disgust, oh my goodness, this gross, I could never; but this is when you stop yourself and you ask why are they and everyone else in this restaurant doing this?
Asking why, will open the doors to answers that would change your experience immediately; as you quickly learn, within this culture, slurping and smacking your food is a compliment to the chef.
Preparing for the move abroad requires a reflection across all aspects of your life. When done with acute introspection and a bit of preparation; your world will open to produce a life unimaginable.