Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Once You Are There, How Do You Move On?

When you are told by your employer that you have the opportunity to be transfered to another country with an expectation of a better life, you really don't think it twice. Everything seems too good to be true, you pack your things, you say your goodbyes and you start in your new job with this sponge-like feeling of wanting to learn and absorb as much as you can.

For your partner, the feeling is somewhat similar, however, they have to deal with professional issues and accept the fact that they are arriving in a country where nobody knows who they are or what they have done. Their resume, no matter how impressive it was in their own country, here it doesn't mean much. Employers are looking for candidates with local experience that they can rely on. Anyhow, after some time (for some a few weeks, and for some several months), they end up finding a job... maybe not the ideal job but one that is good to start with and that will give them the necessary experience to move on.

Something you normally do not consider when you are first offered the opportunity is what will happen after a few years. Let's say your company goes through an economical crisis and they lay you off, or you want to grow professionally and move to a different industry, or you just need more money and your company is not offering it. For your partner, it can just be the urge of getting to the level he was before relocating. This may not happen until after a few years, but still, are you and your partner prepared to compete against other candidates with a lot more experience (cultural and professional) in that country, with studies of "recognized" (local) institutions and who better understand the whole "looking for a job" process? In fact, at least here in Canada, there is government help for newcomers in learning how to write a resume and prepare for an interview but I haven't heard of anything that helps them get a promotion or move between companies/industries.

A lot of people say it is much easier once you have had at least 1 job to find another one.  I don't think so, it is just as difficult. It is still hard for employers to appreciate your skills and experience and they expect you to stay in the same kind of position with at least three or more companies before giving you the opportunity to take a more senior position. They are still looking for some kind of certification to validate your knowledge, and there are still hundreds of candidates competing against you who have better chances of getting the job.

My recommendations:

1. Try to grow within your company as fast as you can, that way at least you can aspire to the same kind of position when you decide (or have) to move to a different company.

2. Get certified or take a course that can validate your knowledge and experience

3. Don't stay stagnant, if you feel you are not comfortable in your job after 1 year, move on, even if that means getting the same kind of job somewhere else.


  1. Gina, parece que estoy leyendo parte de lo que hemos pasado o estamos pasando !!! Estoy de acuerdo en todo lo que dices. Ojala y esto lo pudiera leer la gente que hace las contrataciones, y vieran que la gente de fuera esta igual o mejor preparada que los propios locales.

  2. This is a great resource!

    I like point number 1!

  3. I just want to add a comment to Gina’s most valuable recommendations. The importance of Networking is huge. The more people you know within your industry, or even outside of it, will significantly increase the possibilities for moving forward in your professional interests.

    Sergio Weinberg

  4. Thank you all for your comments.
    ergio, I agree, I think point #4 must be networking, you need to get people to know you and your skills and experience for them to be able to recommend you when the opportunity arises.

  5. I suggest to know exactly what is it that you are looking for in your "ideal" job, so as to be your next move. This new economy and country allows you to "choose" and "pick" your job, the activities and challenges that will make you thrive in your life, and bring you the most satisfaction both personally and professionally.
    If you do not know what you want to be doing, which field or sector you want to be involved, etc, any job search or interview you take will be meaningless and rewards will not endure.

    Know yourself, your goals, skills, limitations, motivators and use networking to know more about which industry, or role would fullfill your requirements, then get an interview with the right person and be ready to ask the right questions that will open you the door to a new position.

    Roberto S