Job Search Strategies (to stay sane) for the Expatriate Woman: Find balance and feel good in the process
A job search or career transition can be one of the most unsettling, uncertain, and frustrating periods of times in one’s life. Couple that with adjusting to a new culture, and it becomes a multi-layered complexity to navigate. What an overwhelming thought that is, right? Whatever you may be transitioning to – finding a new job, launching a business, or taking a new and exciting career path, the job search process brings a lot of tumultuous feelings and a sense of “I am not doing enough!” A completely normal feeling, by the way. Yet, that feeling can hold you back or limit you in attaining what you want, or allowing you to enjoy life while adjusting to the US, and simultaneously, finding a professional opportunity where you can share your unique talents, gifts and skills with others.
You, most likely, want to feel as if you are moving forward in your search process, and feeling good about the actions you are taking to reach your goal. What can you do to feel productive, savor the gift of freedom and unstructured time, feel balanced, and accomplish what you want – all at the same time??? Remember what makes you feel good… What often gets neglected or “thrown on the back burner” of life, is paying attention to how you feel as you do everything that “needs” to get done. Taking all the technical steps in a job search, and also nurturing and taking care of yourself in the process, is a challenging juggling act to keep in balance.
Strategies to create balance during a job search:
Redefine your routine
Create a daily schedule to get you up and out there!
i.e., Monday – Friday, out of your house by 9 am
Getting up and out for exercise, or a coffee, may get your juices flowing in the morning. Setting that alarm every day, and honoring an appointment with yourself, to go start your day, at the same time each day, can create structure to start your day with a boost of energy. Consider when you are most alert and structure your main tasks at that time of day.
Give yourself a break.
Keep your weekends sacred, or two other days during the week that you are not job searching or working on your next step of reaching your professional goals.
Taking a mental and physical break is a way to free up your mind, renew yourself, and access your creative mind, often allowing solutions and new ideas to easily come to you.
Create your definition of what a “productive day” is to you.
What gives you a “sense of accomplishment” is not what everyone else thinks makes for a good job search day! Celebrate your successes and accomplishments – the small ones count just as much!
What inspires you and makes you feel happy!
What do you enjoy doing? Can you do this on a regular basis to keep yourself energized? Lose yourself in new activities and/or those activities that you find total bliss in. (Dance is my personal favorite)….or at the very least move your body and make time for a little or a lot of daily physical activity. Moving your body does wonders for your perspective and even if your rational mind tells you otherwise, your body will tell you what it needs. Listen.
Stay connected to who lifts you up, who cheers you on.
Whether that is family and friends overseas (there is always Skype) or new friends stateside to connect with, connect for your well being
Technical Job Search Strategies to keep in mind to organize yourself:
Respond to all emails, phone calls within one day and act upon postings you see within 2 days
Avoid deliberation and over analyzing – Stick with Nike’s motto and Just do it! If you feel it, act on it. Often we dismiss our intuition, and now is a perfect time to hone in on listening to your higher intuitive self. Act in the moment and move on. Answer the email when you open it, reach out to the referral and ask for a meeting, apply to the position the day you see it. You are creating momentum by taking action.
Focus on building relationships vs. will they help me get a job?
Have your marketing pitch and introduction of yourself ready to share with everyone you meet! Have fun with it and place the focus on getting to know the person you are talking to. Everyone wants to share and talk about themselves – especially Americans! So, ask lots of questions, as you will show your interest in the person you are speaking with, and create rapport more easily and leave them with a good feeling about you!
Update your resume – find someone who can provide an American perspective and support your resume revisions.
Create business cards – even simple cards with your contact info to share as you meet both personal and professional contacts.
Go play the game – get out there and attend networking events, parties, social get-togethers, or any opportunity to connect with people. And do it every week.
Thank you to our contributing expert :
Rebekah Kane (firstname.lastname@example.org), spends her time between Chicago, San Francisco and Boston. She is a coach, educator, and intercultural trainer, with experience training, advising, and coaching professional adults along their career and life changing journeys. She empowers and supports women in career and life transitions, cultural adjustment and in pursuit of their personal and professional development goals and dreams.