For any job search, networking is critical. We know that companies are increasingly using tools like LinkedIn to search their own networks and fill vacant positions and find talent.
Unsurprisingly, the talent that rises to the top are those who are most visible: they have personal brands, industry blogs, online portfolios of their work, they post about industry topics, have professional social media accounts, and interact with industry leaders.
When searching for international work opportunities, visibility and networking are even more critical. Since you can’t network in person, it is your online presence and activity that can show employers who you are, as well as create opportunities to network with people already in the industry and country that you would like to work in.
The first step to begin digitally networking with people around the globe is developing an online brand. If you aren’t sure what that looks like in practice, look no further than ChelseaKrost.com. Chelsea has built a well-established brand and is a master at using that brand to get her message in front of those she thinks can benefit most from it.
Don’t be intimidated by Chelsea’s brand. While Chelsea’s site is geared towards her own business, your online brand can be more simple and still be effective in opening up international work opportunities. Here is how to do it.
Developing a Personal Brand
There are an infinite number of ways that you can begin building a personal brand online. Here are a few practical examples for a few different types of professionals:
- If you are a photographer, you might have a professional portfolio with some of your work (and even better, testimonials from clients).
- If you are a developer, you might contribute to StackExchange, publish apps to Google Play, and have your own professional website.
- If you are a writer, you could post on industry related content on your own blog, industry blogs and on sites like Medium.
- if you are interested in business, you could have a professional website and regularly publish posts on Linkedin about your industry with an international slant.
Whatever type of talents or skills you are trying to showcase, and no matter the platforms you chose to use for your personal brand, your personal brand should serve three major purposes:
- Demonstrate what you do
- Demonstrate that what you do brings value to those in your industry
- Demonstrate engagement or connectivity in your industry
- Represent you as a person
- Clearly present your contact information
Unlike a traditional resume which is static, an online brand is dynamic. You can actively share your ideas, receive feedback on them from industry experts, publicly interact with industry leaders, and lets you show off your skills. This is far more powerful than a few well formatted bullet-points on a resume could ever hope to be.
Leverage Your Brand to Make Connections
Once you have the foundations of a personal brand in place, you are ready to start digitally networking with professionals in the country you hope to work in. We will break the processes into two stages: engaging with your industry and engaging with individuals.
Engage with Your Industry (In Your Country of Choice)
You want to begin engaging with your industry in the country or region you hope to move to. This can include using geo-relevant hashtags on your captions on Instagram or Twitter, publishing content that references industry leaders, and commenting on other’s posts and blogs with your own thoughts. However you go about it, you want to make sure your efforts demonstrate your value by sharing industry related insights, projects, and ideas.
There are a couple of reasons to do this. For one, it demonstrates that you have ideas and skills relevant to your industry. It also helps you get your name and work in front of industry leaders as they” like,” comment and repost your work throughout your network. As well, it helps develop your credibility as you interact with industry leaders and join in on the conversation.
Engaging with Individuals
Once you have a good foundation of work published online that you feel reflects you and the value you can bring to an organization, it is time to start reaching out to individuals and making connections with people in your industry in the region you hope to move to.
When you find someone you think would be a good connection, you don’t want to go begging for a job. You should lead with genuine questions. This can include asking:
- For advice on how to work abroad
- For an interview for your blog
- To use them as a source for a social media or blog post
- For feedback on your work
- Asking about your industry in the country
For the highest rate of responses when trying to make contact with someone, it is important to be clear about exactly what you want. Be specific in your request, and I guarantee you will be surprised how many people are willing to spare 30 minutes to help you out if you are specific when asking them for support.
From here, it is a matter of rinse and repeat. Reaching out, making connections, having conversations, and growing your network slowly. The larger the network you build in your desired country, the more likely it is someone hears of an opportunity and thinks of your name, or that your name shows up on a hiring manager’s computer screen.
Visibility is key during your international job search, and having a personal brand is a great way to become visible in your industry. If working abroad is something you want to pursue, get started now. Get a website set up, create professional social profiles, start conversations with the gatekeepers in your industry, and you might just find there are more opportunities out there than you ever thought.