The Networking Guide for International Work: Part 1
Why Creating an Engaged Group of Contacts is Key to Finding a Job Overseas and How to Reach Out Ethically and Effectively
|Networking is very often the best way to find international jobs.
This guide is targeted to people who seek their first international job. Most of the examples will be taken from the nonprofit, journalism, and educational sectors, although the principles apply to business and government as well. The tips can be used to find short-term or long-term assignments, and will be helpful for recent college graduates, mid-career professionals, and retired people eager for new adventures. We’ll cover virtual networking as well as in person strategies. Happy networking!
We have broken up the guide into the following key sections:
- Introduction to Networking: Beyond Business Cards
- Clarify Your Networking Goals: Your International Job Search Statement
- Who to Contact about International Jobs: Getting to the Bullseye, The Person Who Can Hire You
- Once You Have Identified the Bullseye: Reaching Out to Get Hired Overseas
- Case Studies in Success: True Stories of Networking for International Employment
- Ethical Networking: The Ten Commandments of Reaching Out in a Principled Way
- International Networking for Shy People
- Resources for Networking for International Jobs
Introduction to International Networking: Beyond Business Cards
The term conjures an image of standing around at reception with your name tag peeling off your shirt, making awkward small talk with people you don’t like, and trying to get their business cards so you can use them to rise up the ladder of your chosen career.
Can we banish that image?
In a more principled world, networking simply means expanding your group of friends, and deepening your relationships with existing friends.
And networking is vital for finding a job overseas.
Here’s why: In the U.S., fewer than half of job openings are announced publicly. In most other countries, the fraction is even smaller.
Question: How can you possibly find out about job openings that are not public?
Answer: By knowing the people who actually know about the openings. That is, by having a strong, dynamic, supportive, active, and well-connected network.
The following series of articles will help you build your international network in a principled and effective way, with the goal of helping you find a job in your field. You can do so without hoarding business cards or annoying people.
My background is mostly in the nonprofit and educational sectors, which is where I will offer my examples, but the techniques I share will generally apply to governmental, business, and other job sectors as well. Many of the tips also apply to networking for domestic jobs.
I will assume that you are already using some of the other basic job-hunting strategies, such as searching online listings at Idealist, Craigslist, organizations you want to work for, and your alumni career center. Searching these resources will help you get a sense of what is out there, but it might not get you a job. Successful job hunters usually use more than one technique to find jobs, according to career expert, Dick Bolles. (See Dick’s What Color Is Your Parachute? 2017: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers, aka “The Job Hunter’s Bible” for more information on different techniques and their rate of success.)
I will also assume that you have some skills to offer—you have a college degree or equivalent experience and preferably have done at least some volunteer work, an internship, or a job in your field.
Finally, I will assume you are willing to work hard. Finding a job is a full time job. Your hard work will pay off.
A special word for my introverted readers: I feel your pain. The idea of networking can arouse a special fear and loathing in people who are shy or find it tiring to meet new people. I will share tips that will work for you—as well as your more extroverted friends.
Let’s begin by clarifying your international job search goals.