In setting up and organizing a cross border job search, aside from being very well organized, you need to prepare and equip yourself more thoroughly than a local job search. Here is an overview of the process and execution.
Determining Long Range Goals
This simple, but sometimes grueling act is even more imperative when working globally. You need to prepare in advance for the contingencies of relocation back to your home country or other regions at a much later date. Knowing where you want to end up is more time sensitive and geography sensitive than if you simply continued with local employment.
Without a plan to drive your career management, most people tend to jump at low-hanging fruit in especially when looking thousands of miles away. Choosing the easiest and most accessible position or job opportunity could put your career in greater jeopardy at a later date or derail it altogether.
Building self-marketing pieces that appeal to the broadest audience or a completely different geographic audience is a far greater challenge. A resume doesn’t cover all contingencies. In fact it is just the beginning in terms of building a professional brand because the bulk of your search will be online. You should also have a professional website to highlight your achievements, a blog to demonstrate your expertise, and of course well-designed profiles on all the social networking sites especially Linkedin.
In doing the above, great consideration is given to creating instruments that are easy to understand in business English as well as local languages, and that express your accomplishments in the most global and generic fashion. Often regional names and references will not carry meaning in other parts of the world, thus more granular explanation will typically be necessary.
Of course building a well articulated profile in Bluesteps is always the first step and a given.
Tools and Techniques
Researching and uncovering opportunities globally presents a far greater challenge. It’s easy to say you want to work in the BRIC nations, but far more difficult to do the local leg-work to uncover lists of companies the may hire you. The motto may be to “think globally and act locally” first. That means to use the contacts, search firms and network you have at your current disposal to leverage you to other parts of the world.
Most major professional and trade associations are international in scope or have international affiliations. Beginning with the local group, you can quickly gain contacts and introductions to other chapters globally.
For example the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals (http://www.strategic-alliances.org/) is an international group with worldwide chapters for professionals in business development. A client of mine in Germany used my connection with the local chapter president in California to gain introductions and entrée to the ASAP chapter in Frankfurt.
The same techniques can be used with university alumni associations, Linkedin.com groups, government and NGO groups, as well as simply the network you already know locally.
Identifying databases of companies through online virtual libraries as well as local business publications and newspapers can expedite the compilation of a target list of fifty companies in a sector and geographic region. Even subscribing to those publications and papers with delayed global delivery is worthwhile to get a feel of the environment, as well as the current hiring and growth opportunities.
Networking memberships such as Netshare, Ivy Exec, BlueSteps, ExecuNet, and a myriad of Linkedin.com Groups are invaluable tools in your search arsenal if used properly. You will have access to a global network of search consultants at your fingertips in an informal environment. Identifying search firms in China, Singapore, France, Dubai, South Africa, Canada and Columbia becomes simply, easy and quick to do and starting a conversation with recruiters is less daunting within the context of a online networking group.
Be proactive in reaching out to contact them and introduce yourself in advance of an active search to lay the groundwork for future introductions into their search assignments. The added benefit is that they give you access to their perspective of local employment trends and the hiring climate. Cultivating relationships with search consultants should always be the first best step on your way to initiating a full-blown cross border. They can be your “boots on the ground” at a distant location providing wise counsel and advice on how to approach the local business market.
This is almost too obvious. In order to do a global job search, you have to have an online, virtual presence that is well-branded, consistent, and highly visible across platforms, devices, countries and continents.
That everyone will put your name into Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask Jeeves, Baidu and other niche search engines to find out more about you is now a given. It is up to global professionals to manage and control their presence and reputation online using a professional website, profiles, regional social networking sites, and blogs. You not only want to be at the top of a Google search for your name but you want the right information to come up with that search that you control.
Building a Global Network
Tangential to developing and maintaining an online presence is the growing a global network. The instructions are simple, the strategy is necessarily sophisticated, and execution is obviously more complex. The idea is to grow networks in specific geographical regions using the current networking contacts available to you now. The strategy is using introductions to 2nd, 3rd and 4th removed contacts that become more and more focused within the region of your search goal. This is the same model that Linkedin.com uses and starting on their site would be a good idea.
The challenge is to uncover those contacts through groups, associations, personal networks, and then leverage them into actual job opportunities. This requires sophisticated follow-up techniques and meticulous, on-going tracking and pursuit of these contacts. It takes time and energy. As Harvey McKay the great sales trainer said, “You must dig the well before you are thirsty.
It’s not the same world of employment opportunities. The power structures are changing and moving across global regions. Most importantly is that the way executives go about finding a job anywhere has dramatically changed with the continued evolution of technology and search tools.
A cross-border search is harder, longer and more laborious. Moreover, it has to be mastered and done right the first time as there is often no going back for re-dos and second chances.