Chances are you had to resign from a career you enjoyed when you moved overseas. Maybe you’ve considered changing careers, but maybe you also loved what you did before. In fact, you want to continue working in that field when you move back home. Here’s 5 ways to stay connected to your career even if you can’t work abroad.
1. Keep in touch with old bosses and colleagues
When I look at friends and clients who have quite seamlessly transitioned back into their “old career” (and not had to take a demotion or pay cut), this seems to be one of the key elements: investing in your network. Ideally, they also did some assignments remotely, not necessarily all the time they were abroad, but occasionally for sure. I’ve seen this strategy work for people who spent 4 to even 6 years in one another country.
Networking can take many forms, and could include making a point of having coffee with former boss or colleagues whenever you visit your country. If you are not in a position to do so, “soft touch” touch networking may be something to look into.
2. Do a PhD
Upgrading your skill and knowledge level by doing a PhD may be a route for you if you want to remain in your line of work. This is a plan that is best to think through before you move abroad, as it will be easier to have access to professors when you are still in the same country and same time zone. Ideally you have your proposal approved before leaving, so you are clear on what to do and do not lose a lot of time trying to figure it out.
This is not a plan for the faint at heart, as it takes a lot of time, dedication and persistence to do a PhD by yourself in a different country. However, if you do manage to pull it off, it can definitely be an asset on your CV.
3. Write articles in your career field
If you have already done a PhD or if you do not desire to do one, writing scholarly articles in your field of expertise could be a way of remaining connected and visible. Follow current literature, write reviews for relevant magazines et cetera.
You could also build your expert recognition by make a habit of posting and sharing relevant content consistently on LinkedIn.
Another option could be to start a blog. The tone and style of blogging would depend on your subject matter expertise- if you’re a hairdresser the look and feel of your blog will be completely different than if you were a food quality researcher at a university.
4. Do an online study
Online studies can be a good way to enhance your resume. You can choose something directly related to your expertise, or choose a different angle. You could also look into skill based courses rather than knowledge based courses. For example, enhancing your writing skills, presentation skills, software skills or social media skills could also be a worthwhile investment.
Reliable platforms are EDX and Coursera for courses from top universities, and Udemy for skill related courses. If you want more information about online studies, keep an eye on this blog for the Online Study Starter Guide for Expat Partners which is coming soon.
5. Find a job
Finding a job abroad at your level, with the required pay and responsibility level and working hours may not be easy abroad. Especially when you do not have a work permit or do not speak the local language, it may feel like a mountain too high to climb. It may not be impossible, but it is probably not easy either.
It doesn’t mean you cannot try, but it may take more than just a few months. You can also look into relevant consulting opportunities or perhaps volunteering options. What is the experience you will gain, and what other benefits may this opportunity have? You could think of building your referral network, gaining experience working in an international team or a different culture, exploring a potential new career or working on a cause you are passionate about.
How about you? How are you staying connected? Put it in the comments or tell me on my Facebook page.