Advice on how you can redesign your career path as an expat
25 April 2016| Last updated on 22 October 2017
The expat life has many good sides like discovering a new country or learning a new language and some negative aspects like lack of clarity when it comes to choosing a new career path. This is particularly true for expat partners or for seasoned expats thinking about a career change.
The lack of clarity can cause you frustration, you can feel stuck or on the other side, you can have so many ideas about your next steps that at the end you feel overwhelmed with your thoughts and do nothing.
So what can you do to get clarity about your career path?
Reconnect with yourself and clear up your mind
Sometimes the best thing to do is to stop your thinking process and take some time out.
You can go for a walk, organise a short trip or go to a gym. Do something different which is not related to your thoughts about the career planning.
It will help you to get out of the thinking overwhelm, gain new energy and increase your motivation. You will feel relaxed and regenerated.
Review your skills
Instead of saying I don't know what to do next... ask yourself, "What can I do to move my career to the whole new level?" Do the Skills Inventory.
Think about what are you good at, what skills you enjoy using, what people are complimenting you about, what comes easily to you?
Make a list of your skills, write down 10 or more skills you think you can use in your new career.
If you don't know what are you good at I am challenging you to ask 3 people, your past employers, colleagues or friends.
Send them an email or have a quick chat and ask them: What do they think your strengths are?
You might also be interested in:
- Start to work at what you love and get paid for it!
- What are your career values?
- Overcome Intercultural shock while living and working abroad
Keep an Opportunity file
When you are starting your expat adventure or thinking about a change you are in an exploring phase.
Remember that at that moment it is normal to be confused and having no ideas or too many ideas.
Keep an Opportunity File, it can be a file on your computer where you write down all the ideas which come to you, even the craziest one, or keep a notebook where you can also cut and paste some job ads, job role descriptions that catch up your interest.
You are an Opportunity Seeker so keep your eyes open.
Explore the market
Come back to your Skills Inventory and reflect how you can use your skills in the local job market.
What are the skills organisations are looking for? How can you put your skills into action? If you do not have a permit to work in a host country search for some volunteer opportunities. Maybe you can start a local or an international business?
There are many opportunities to set up an online business and create a portable income.
Take small steps
Start with one, simple, small step. You can ask yourself every morning when you wake up What is the one step I can take today to discover my future career? Making a call, reading a self-help book, working on my CV, analysing my skills, ...?
The small step approach will really help you to get out of the mental confusion and at the end, the next steps will follow.
Do not sit there alone in front of your computer. Meet with new people. What are the national or international networking events you can attend this week?
While networking ask people what they are doing, how did they develop their career, what is their story? You can get some inspiration and make new friends. If face to face networking is not your cup of tea search for some online expats networking groups and ask your questions in the group's forum.
You will be surprised how many people will share their experience and knowledge with you.
If you really do not know what your next career steps are, what job can you do or what is your business idea, ask for a professional help.
There is nothing wrong in doing it and a professional advice can change your career path and even personal life.
You can also create your own support group of people who are in a similar situation like you.
To sum up clear up your mind, do the skills inventory and take one small step a day to create a career around your life. Become the Opportunity Seeker and don't do it alone. It can be hard, however step by step your career vision will become clearer and clearer.
About the Author
Dominika Miernik is a Career, Intercultural and Expat Coach from Poland, who lived and worked in Italy and the UK. She is currently living in Rome. Dominika helps people who live and work abroad, those who are planning to move abroad or are coming back to the native country (repatriates) to create a career they want, find their own business idea or accelerate their international career. Find out more about Dominika here.