13/09/2021, by Connla Stokes
Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, and no matter what your personal goals are as an expat partner, career coach Peter Nielsen believes networking is the absolute key.
“Networking benefits us all in so many ways,” says Nielsen, a Danish career coach who is based in Switzerland. “Sometimes we don’t even realise how a professional or social network pays off. My wife once said, ‘Oh I am not a good networker’ but then I pointed out that all of her career moves and job offers were a result of her network!”
Just be yourself
But as newcomers entering a new culture, expats can feel self-conscious or perhaps even daunted by the prospect of networking and relationship building. “Putting yourself out there can be scary. Especially in a new environment. First and foremost, I tell clients ‘all you can do is be yourself and that’s the best way forward’. If we try to be someone we’re not, and actually get a job, then we can end up in a situation you want to get out of!”
Comfortable and confident
“If you are not so comfortable with the idea of networking, being prepared will give you more confidence. If your focus is a job search, identify who you want to speak to; drop them a line, just asking if you could pick their brains over a ‘virtual coffee’. Prepare a short pitch to introduce yourself. But have a look at the other person’s LinkedIn page and other social media feeds, too. Write down a few questions to ask them and then, most importantly, listen,” says Nielsen who advises keeping such calls to a maximum of 15-20 minutes.
Nielsen agrees that a good social network will also be of immense help as you go about a job search. “Building a social network can create opportunities. Sometimes it’s about knowing someone who knows someone who can get your CV into the hands of the right person. But fostering friendships is also important for your well-being,” says Nielsen, adding that your priorities might change as an expat partner. “Finding a job might take a long time. It can be frustrating. Some expat partners might eventually come to the conclusion that working full-time is not ideal for their family. No matter what path you take, having a strong social network will help you establish a balanced life.”
Photo: Peter Nielsen
This article was originally published for the thousands of expat partners that Global Connection supports around the globe. It is reproduced here in its original form.