Having lived and worked in 10 countries and grown up in an expat family, I thought it would be helpful to give some hints and tips on how you need to approach a move beyond borders.
1: Do it now
Not because I am trying to motivate you, but because agencies hire in January and February for the year ahead, or they are planning for hires from mid-year.
2: Be brave, bold, and book a flight
Your ancestors did it, so why can't you? Immigration hurdles aside, packing your swag and pitching up in a country is a pretty good sink or swim strategy. It generally works and it shows mettle.
3: Understand your economic advantage based on your nationality
My dad worked for a global oil company for 20 years. Yes, it was in the days of expat packages, but the reality was as an Aussie he was paid less than a Brit or European, and more than his Indian and Nigerian colleagues. The lesson in this is that no matter the injustice and discrimination, price parity doesn't exist when it comes to nationalities and salaries. I know this isn’t ideal, but don't worry, you can use this to your advantage. Here is how:
- The "among your peeps" strategy: Look at your national statistics agencies and see the countries that your fellow peeps are working or living in. Diasporas are important and by their very existence show that the host country is more open to your nationality.
- The "I’m moving up" strategy: Look for locations where your current salary package would place you at a higher position. This works equally well if you are moving from New York or Manila.
- The "foot in the door" strategy: Look for locations where your current salary package would make you very attractive to an employer because they could hire you below market rates.
What about the "I’ve got special skills" strategy that makes me valuable everywhere? Yes, this does exist. The best markets to apply this strategy is in emerging or developing markets, because you can combine this with a promotion to run a practice or develop a new offering. But, if you do have a special skill, move quickly before it becomes a mainstream one. Facebook community managers need not apply.
4: Wipe "when I was" from your vocabulary for your first six months
Yes, your new colleagues want to hear about all of the cool things you have done before. But, if you are smart, you will know it is more important to hear from them.
5: Be nice to HR.
Think of them like a combination of a trip planner, the police, and mum and dad.
Iain Twine is the CEO of Edelman South East Asia and Australasia.