You have moved abroad, you have a professional background and are now ready to start finding employment. You are ready to make that big transition and move onto that next phase of your life. The only problem is that you just don’t know how to bridge the employment gap, and you find yourself asking “How do you I even begin to do this in a foreign country?!”
Today’s guest, Victoria Koster-Lenhardt, has the insights to help you make a career transition no matter where you are, and finally land that job.
What You’ll Discover in this Episode:
- How to identify your unique value when you’re in a new context.
- The top mistakes most people make that you should avoid.
- What most people ignore when looking for work from abroad.
- The one skill every partner needs to practice when their spouse is on the job search.
I think the most important yet potentially counter-intuitive piece of advice from this episode’s guest expert is this: Put in the work to be more of who you are so you can stand out, rather than stick out. If you’re feeling stuck on what assets from your background stand out, don’t miss this week’s assignment, “What are you most proud of that you’ve accomplished in the last three to five years?”
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Victoria Koster-Lenhardt, Career transition strategist and resume writer featured here.
- Sally Hogshead, New York Times bestselling author and CEO of How to Fascinate.
- Conscious career leadership; article in Intercom – https://www.slideshare.net/lifeinvienna/intercom-mayjune-2018-conscious-career-leadership
- For free support in your change journey join my Facebook group Expats on Purpose.
Full Episode Transcript:
Welcome to the Expat Happy Hour, this is Sundae Bean from www.sundaebean.com. I am a solution-oriented coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations and I am on a mission to help you adapt and succeed when living abroad and get you through any life transition.
Today I have a very special treat for you. I have someone who has the secrets that you wish you knew. Insights about how to make your career transition and get the job when you are overseas.
I would like to warmly welcome Victoria Koster-Lenhardt, a career transition strategist and resume writer. She’s also a job search coach for U.S. diplomatic spouses and partners in Europe, and a global employment advisor to the U.S. State Department. She supports families relocating to European countries or the USA by assisting the family members in making the career transitions and finding meaningful employment while living in Europe, and if any of you who are in Europe as expats, you know just how challenging this can be.
As an expat herself, she’s learned firsthand the importance of developing a strategy. She and I are aligned on strategies for relocation that includes networking, communications, outreach, and finding and building community. I know with my heart that she couples this with a deep understanding of how important it is to make a course correction when you’re faced with your own career changes and that’s what she uses to help her clients discover the next phase of their life. So Vicki, I am so happy to have you an Expat Happy Hour today. Welcome.
Vici: Thank you so much, I am so excited to be talking to you about this because I believe we both share the same passions.
Sundae: Absolutely, and you have all the things that I connect with about building community and relationships. Listen, here’s the thing, what you do I think people are going to love, because there’s this struggle when you are a living abroad somewhere and you have an education, you have a professional background and it’s like there’s this gap between you and this employer that you can completely add value to, but you just don’t know how to bridge the gap and I have a hunch that’s exactly what you help people do. Can tell us more about who you are and what you do exactly?
Vici: Well I was about 21 when I first thought about moving abroad, I am now in my late fifties so I have been through the whole gamut of searching for jobs at various ages and life phases, and I tap into that all the time, because clients are all of those ages from starting out and freshly married in many cases, first time living abroad to getting ready to retire and maybe even move back to the United States after twenty five years. I started out with working at the Coca Cola company, which is where I got the bulk of my coaching background and coaching experience. Working with expats, I recruited many people to work with me in Vienna at the time because I needed many of them to be writers who know how to put together software documentation. When we talk about closing those gaps and finding your value, it is really important to look at and research companies and how they match what your values and skills are. A lot of people will come to Europe without language skills and think “I can’t get a job”, but they are still passionate. So when you talk about bridging those gaps and connections you have to look also at your language skills and not go into the rabbit hole of “Oh I don’t speak the local language, nobody is going to know who I am”, and yet at the same time you’re having to deal with “I don’t speak the local language, I am illiterate for the first time in my life, I have a PhD in Neuro Physics, but I am illiterate”.
Sundae: I know right, that is the hardest, I know how many times. I actually have chills up the bottoms of my legs right now when I hear you say that, I think it’s going back to that feeling that I had of being so employable you know in my own context, but feeling like a child with my German and that’s so hard. But I want to go back to what you said, I loved how I was talking about closing the gap and you automatically shifted that to saying, “Finding your value”, and I’m going to share a little story here about my own journey in Switzerland, finding your value I would say in context. I spent, I wasted I would say, I wasted so much time applying for jobs, I think my goal was to get to 100 rejections and then get a job because I knew it would take awhile. What I was doing was I was trying to be Swiss, I was trying to be like them, meaning I was trying for my German to be so good that I could do the work and I realized that what I was doing was missing out on actually the thing that gave me the greatest advantage, so I was trying to hide my English and put forward my German, it was ridiculous and once I started I made the shift, I got job offers for positions that were over my head. I was like, “Oh, I’m finally doing something right”. Do you see that happen?
Vici: Absolutely, I mean this aspect of trying to be something you’re not a lot of people will come and think, “I have to improve my language skills”, and I the first thing I tell people is that nobody’s going to hire you for your German or your French or your whatever language, they’re hiring you for you and I think one of the greatest things that I’ve learned over the last five years and I get tipped off from people like Sally Hogshead and many others who work on personal branding, is to figure out who you are and be more of you and that’s a lot of what I do. That’s a lot of what career transition is about, many people I work with have never done career transitioning and so they’re thinking “I want to find a job and I want to update my resume” and that’s actually the outcome of the work, the input is really figuring out who you are figuring out what makes you unique and many times you can start with, okay for me I’m a New Jersey girl, you’re a lot of New Jersey but not the Jersey out of the girl. You know, I come from the Northeast United States. I’ve been living abroad for 30 years, but it’s still a part of who I am and it’s still a part of how I deliver what I do and how I think and approach the world, although I’m a global citizen at this point and a lot of people really I think it’s a wonderful example what you said in terms of as soon as you figure it out that and stop trying to be something that you’re not and stop trying to be a Swiss citizen and instead look at this is who I am and how does being a Swiss citizen make me even more unique and more valuable, you know it used to be easier when you came to Europe and were native English speaker because that was highly valuable 30 years ago specially in Central Europe, now you’ve got to have a little bit more than just your native language, though native English speakers have a lot of options in terms of teaching English as a second language, teaching business English to high-level people working at companies, you know even at the sea level or executive management who want to improve their English, they’re always looking for people who are able to teach at that level and coach at that level. A lot of people do and I think actually, you know getting a telsoul or something, some kind of certification at that level kind of, you know, helps you on that confidence level. When you have to go through literacy, when you have a degree from an American University, or any University, it’s not just America, these are these are situations that happen to any expat from any country when you arrive in a country, and in many cases if you are the spouse that’s taking care of the young children, and this happens a lot, you’re you’re not only illiterate but you are a illiterate in terms of; how do people manage take care of their children in this country? So I think when you were talking about mistakes, the biggest mistakes you can make the first one, but it’s so easy to slip into trying to be something that you’re not and I think confronted with that for the first time, where you have to say, “Well what am I?” is daunting especially when you can’t speak the language and then just start to just talk to people about how you’re feeling and how and and then to figure out “How do I move through that phase as quickly as possible?” or not and go into the next phase and I think you know, it’s so easy, you use the word “Wasting” or the phrase “Wasting time”, you didn’t waste time. It’s kind of like a groundhog day, you know?
Sundae: Right, that’s so funny you say that, that’s how I started out in Switzerland. Don’t even make me go there again, I mean when I think about how that felt emotionally, I felt like you know, groundhog day, I felt like I was trapped in groundhog day. In reality it was a very short time period, but it felt like forever you know, I felt like I’m never going to get a job. It was horrible, it was horrible for my ego, I thought it was destroying my career. If you’re not good about separating those two things you can put your relationship at risk because then you’re like, “I’m outta here” and you might break up a relationship. I don’t want to underestimate how important it is to be really clear around expectations of how long does it takes to get a job when you’re abroad, and even in context because in Switzerland, for example, I think most Swiss, it takes six months to a year to find the right job for a Swiss who is in the Swiss system. Imagine if you a foreigner then, you need to budget a realistic amount of time to get your job, job
Vici: Well and you also need to engage in a job search campaign, and that includes networking, showing up for places, meeting people, making sure that you’re getting your haircut, keeping current so that you will always have a way to present yourself. It is very easy to fall into that rabbit hole of lack of self care. because your head is full of so much emotion.
Sundae: Right, that’s so interesting you say that, you know what it kind of took me off guard when you shared that, but I’m guessing you have clients who get stuck in a rut and that they’re not taking care of themselves anymore and then it reflects in how they show up?
Vici: It’s not that they’re not taking care of themselves, I think what’s happening is your there’s this kind of rebirth phase, you move to a country after making a choice to go on this adventure with person you love, often times in this this is for married couples or partnerships, but it also happens for people who are single, and you land in a country, you don’t speak the language, until you can articulate that “Oh my gosh, this is what it feels like to be illiterate” takes some months. You know, dealing with foreign money, foreign customs, everything’s new. You are in a sense a baby again, except you don’t have a lot of nurturing going on because the spouse that took the job is focused a hundred percent on being successful. I mean they have taken on a new job plus all of the other things that you’re going through so that patience for a relationship and having the resilience to stop and talk through what’s going on and that the spouse is working and also going through the same thing, and unfortunately in all of this relocation there are a lot of people in the space that I work in, that there isn’t a lot of coaching going on for the spouse that’s actually has the job.
Sundae: Right, when I talk to clients, they are like, “Oh my God Sundae, I didn’t even know people like you existed!” It’s like most people cry on the first session because they are so relieved that they’re speaking to someone who gets it least. I have question here, so I’m really interested in the campaign and I want to get a little bit pragmatic about that, but there’s two things I’m thinking of. One for those of you are listening and hear about this, you know the time that you need to transition and get to know stuff. If you are on a two year assignment, I have a hunch you’re freaking out because you’re like, “I don’t have time, I go in for two years and then I’m gone.” So I’d like to talk about two different strategies, one for the rotational expat who is there in a country for two, let’s say maximum four years, and then there’s the lovepats the people who moved abroad to their partner’s country and are staying there indefinitely. And those I think are two different strategies because the role of language and culture is different and the time factor is different. So can we be really pragmatic for a second and I want to hear your campaign strategy for the short term and then how does that differ for the long term?
Vici: So, for the short term it’s the same for both, once it’s clear that you’re moving abroad, we are living in the world of social media and the internet and it’s imperative that you have some kind of profile out there, whether it’s a face a professional Facebook or I encourage people still on LinkedIn, especially since it’s been purchased by Microsoft. This is something that everybody has in their computer these days and there’s so much you can do with LinkedIn and a lot of people think of LinkedIn is just being a static resume that’s out there, but it’s actually pretty organic and it’s a fabulous way to get to know the movers and shakers locally and movers and shakers that you are going to interact with in your language in a lot of countries there are smaller communities that are built around countries, cultures, Americans have their own communities, French, some of the bigger countries have their own communities and then there are categories like the lovepats or the Millennials have their stuff, or the expat spouses have their communities. So the campaign is really about making sure that you have a profile out on the internet whether it’s LinkedIn or Facebook. That is the anchor for who you are, this is your virtual business card because you don’t have the opportunity to go everywhere and be everywhere and hand out your card and people are finding you recruiters of finding you. A great starting place is to go back to your University alumni, your professional companies where you’ve worked and just start to reach out and follow people, see what they’re talking about and engage with them through commenting and liking, commenting is so important. I think people don’t realize in social media, that once you have a profile out there that commenting is like you’re sitting in a room and exchanging your opinion and being able to articulate your opinion about topics helps you hone where your value is and helps you hone what you think about things and what you think about things is what attracts people to you.
Sundae: I’m just going to pick up on this, there’s two things that are going on for me. I love that you brought up LinkedIn, you and I are aligned here. What I recommend, I have this program called adapt and succeed and in my video series I talk about what you need to do before you go, and yes establish a profile and what and I would add, reach out and message people personally and say, “Hey, I’m moving to your area, I’m looking forward to it, I just have two questions to ask if you don’t mind?” And you start creating a real relationship with people before you go, so then when you land you’re like, “Hey, I know a couple of people in this context” and then you could say “I’ve arrived, I brought a gift for you, I’d like to say thank you for your support”, and then you can meet the people face to face or mail it to them or whatever, so that you’re actually nurturing real relationships with people.
Vici: Yes, and I think that’s one thing that gets lost on LinkedIn.
Sundae: Totally, I think people think that we still feel like it’s, you know, it’s almost like the troll stuff. Like it’s not me, it’s not the real me and it is the real you and all my relationships with my clients are through facetime and that sort of thing and we connect over Whatsapp. These are real deep relationships.
Vici: I think one of the things that you touched on is the fact that when you have a profile, it’s the profile that gets people connected, but as soon as you’re connected, I can’t tell you how many times it’s the connect through the social media tool and then by the third message, its “Let’s plan a phone call, let’s meet of coffee, I am arriving on September 30th, let’s set up a coffee for October 2nd!”
Sundae: And the thing is this, I’m totally with this, is if anybody was listening seriously you can do it differently. Don’t be the graspy person who says, “Here’s my resume, do you guys have a job?” Be the authentic person who was like, “I’m so excited to move to your country, I haven’t been there before, here’s a couple of questions.” The person who is showing gratitude for the time they gave and a gesture of thanks, that’s a way to capture attention and nurture a real relationship, and it’s right at your fingertips, I think so many people miss it.
Vici: Right, and I think when you talk about the rotational people from the two to four years versus the lovepats, the rotational people are just doing this more often because they’re kind of forced into that lifestyle. But once you once you really spend a couple of years developing some relationships genuinely and people get to know who you are, you’re already feeding that cloud so to speak in it grows then on its own. You have to keep feeding it, It’s kind of like starter yeast for sourdough bread, you start with a small amount but it will continue to grow and you need to feed it keep it alive. The lovepats, get lazy is kind of strong, but it’s too easy to kind of think, “Well, this is where my life is and I’m in my job”, you kind of get into that “I’m here, I’m working, what do I need to do?” and then suddenly something happens in life whether it’s starting a family or becoming empty nesters or your job changes, your company changes, your manager changes, life changes and you are forced somewhere in your forties and reevaluate your life and go “Oh I thought I was just going to glide into retirement?” That just doesn’t happen anymore, so you’re forced into another career transition, and then somewhere in your fifties and sixties there are other things going on that lead to another transition, and so a lot of people find that during these different phases while they are living in another country and they are forced again into career transition and have to go through the same type of campaign and realise “Oh I haven’t been feeding the yeast!”
Sundae: Right, and it’s not about being manipulative or strategic, It’s just about being intentional in your relationships. One thing I would like to add with the long term, and this is my personal opinion based on my lived experience and also a bit from the intercultural strategist perspective, but for long term lovepats, for people who are long term migrants in other locations, I would add that the importance of learning the local language gets higher and higher with every passing year, because once you’ve been there for five years or ten years. In ten years you could probably learn the language, maybe not, you know Chinese is probably incredibly difficult to learn, but you can use the language as a tool to get clear on the culture, show the local population I’m so serious about living here and integrating and opens your job perspective. So that will be the one big difference I would add for the long term expats.
Vici: Absolutely, I have seen enough people and I have done it myself, where you get into a job, especially if you are hired for your native language skills, there is nothing forcing you really to get to the next level in your local language skills. I mean having worked for a company like Coca Cola, the local language was english and after twenty years when I left, the first thing I did was focus on my language skills, because I couldn’t really write in German.
Sundae: Right, and the thing is you don’t want to know honestly what got me focused on learning Swiss German, going to the gynecologist. In the beginning it was like, “Honey, can you make my doctor’s appointment?” but it’s so out of alignment with the independent woman I strive to be. Going to such an intimate appointment and not being able to express yourself is so debilitating and that that for me is a big motivator and I didn’t want language to restrict me for the rest of my life and I know how hard it is to learn a language. I’ll tell you what, I got my level of German a C1, like the advanced German and how many hours I spent in a cafe with 86 year olds eating pie, I would have rather been running, I would have rather been making money, I would have rather been with friends, but I knew that if I buckled down for two years, you know, in my spare time that it would reap rewards. So I’m just saying that to anybody out there who is living in your partner’s country, just I promise you buckle down for two years and you will reap the rewards for the rest of your life.
Vici: That would be for the lovepats for sure, but what i’ve seen with the roatationals is that they come with the PhD and they go and take a month of intense language and they make the investment financially and timewise, and in just four to six weeks of intense language skills, they have enough that makes them stand out as a candidate, because the companies are not looking to hire your for the French or the German or the Spanish, they’re looking for how you can bring your unique background, because it’s not available locally, and share that with the local employees.
Sundae: I love that, that’s great. How can you learn enough of the language to stand out? Yup.
Vici: Exactly, and that’s so four to six weeks four to eight weeks of intense language training, I’m talking eight hours a day, you know four hours a day of class for hours of lab and reading and writing and repeating and all of that stuff, that will get you enough, you’re talking about an investment anywhere from 500 to you know, a couple of thousand dollars but in a short amount of time you can bump up your value.
Sundae: Absolutely, I love that, you we’re going back to value finding your value, finding your value in context. I’m also looking in ways you can increase your value, so let’s get a little bit more more detailed. So let’s assume people are listening to the advice and they’re reaching out, they’re nurturing the relationships and now it’s around the next step. So because you have expertise and the resume writing, what can you recommend to people, the biggest mistakes people make?
Vici: Don’t spend your time looking for somebody to translate your resume into the local language, go with your native language, because again that’s what people are going to be hiring you for, and in general expats are going to be looking at and approaching environments that have an international twist to it anyway. Very few expats are going to go to the local grocery store and say “I want to be a cashier”.
Sundae: Interesting. Tell me more.
Vici: A lot of people will come and say “Oh can you translate my resume into German?” and I say that’s really not the point because if you have your resume translated into the local language and you go ahead and apply your phone’s going to ring. The email’s going to come up in the local language and you’re going to go “How do I respond? Oh my gosh, I don’t speak Polish, I don’t speak German?” and you’re going to be stuck and in a lie, which was not your intention.
So if you’ve gone through and looked at relationships, you’re nurturing relationships and you’re finding out what’s hot, what’s interesting, where do I fit in this working world in Vienna for example. Now you start to bring that mix it with your value, “What do I have to give in this culture that’s significant, that could earn money?” and you start to translate that into your resume and that’s where you start to hone and look at using the local words, the language, the culture and how do you meld that with who you are and express that in your resume and express that in terms of your accomplishments and how you talk about your accomplishments as they are relevant to the local job market and what you’re trying to achieve as a job.
There are so many groups now communities many many organizations or many people will go to the American Community to start with in Vienna. These got an American women’s Association in other countries. There might be an American Community to start with or some kind of some countries have their own business agencies that that fund communities for this purpose because countries want the expat spouses to be happy in order to be able to attract good companies with great people and great.
Sundae: So how do you understand the local culture and local job market before you get there? Or once you get there and you are still new, what do you suggest them to do?
Vici: There are so many groups now communities many many organizations or many people will go to the American Community to start with in Vienna. These have got an American Women’s Association in other countries. There might be an American community to start with or some kind of some countries have their own business agencies that that fund communities for this purpose because countries want the expat spouses to be happy in order to be able to attract good companies with great people.
Sundae: I am just going to interrupt here for a second, and also I have a community here also, because not everyone listening here is American. I have a Swiss community, look for the French community or the German community, people who understand your culture but have lived long enough in the local culture to make that translation, that’s great.
Vici: Right, and most embassies in the country will be able to give you some tips about those communities, but also because of Facebook, because of Twitter, because of LinkedIn you automatically can start to see who’s talking about an organization and you Google it and then you find out and you contact, the reason for contact information on website is so that you can reach out to those human beings. “I don’t know anybody, can you give me some advice where to start?” It’s a 20-minute phone call.
Sundae: I think a lot of people feel like they are bothering you, you know like “I am bothering them, I feel bad, I feel needy”, those sort of things. You’re right, that’s why they haven’t pressed the contact button.
Vici: Exactly and you know what? It’s the same with when people get on the airplane and they read they pick up the airplane magazine and they read an article and go “Oh my gosh, I feel exactly the same.” There’s a reason why there’s a byline on an article and now an email and how to connect with those people, writers, authors, bloggers, podcasts, everybody. They’re out there because we’re human and we’re trying to be social and we’re trying to help each other and expats in general have the special gene of helpfulness, and so absolutely reach out to people, contact them build, those relationships because they will take you places that you have never dreamed about.
Sundae: Yeah, I love it when people contact me, I’m like, “Yay, there’s real people at the end of these email addresses”, I adore that. So we’ve talked a lot about the accompanying partner and some of the tips, I’m just going to recap quickly. What I’m hearing is really; get clear on your value in context that’s a whole process in itself, I know that, do that with a lot of my clients. The second one is get really clear on your relationships, who do you want to contact? How are you going to do that over social media channels so you can translate those digital relationships into face to face relationships. And the third thing is translate that value and then make sure that’s communicated in your resume. I know there’s more Vici and because of time we’re going to stop there. They can contact you directly to get the rest of the story.
Can we shift our attention to the partner who is actually sent abroad because of the assignment? So for example, with someone works for an embassy or a corporation, they have the job, they bring their family to Vienna or to Japan, wherever it is, and they have the job and their partners at home. What advice do you have for the person who’s actually working on the expat assignment so that they understand what the person at home is going through?
Vici: Turn up your empathy detector, this is really hard for the person who’s got the job because they are they’re dealing with all the same stuff that the spouse or the partner is dealing with. You think automatically that because they have a job their life is perfect, and the fact is they’re going to work everyday and dealing with local culture, that they may or may not have been briefed on and even if they’ve been briefed they’re still having its hands-on learning and they’re having to perform at their highest level because they’ve just been hired and there’s so much riding on their job so and because they’re so focused on that their focus on the relationship back home is, it’s just the attention has shifted because the importance of success is so much more important than if you just stayed in your native country and so they’re using all their empathy emotions for work and tend to kind of leave the partner or spouse at home going “you just need to do what you need to do, and by the way, make sure the house is running in this country where you may or may not even speak the language and get a job, and what by the way what are you doing spending all your time at home, how are you not being more productive?” with hotspot for a lot of those the
Sundae: “What have you been doing all day?” I have an article with three things to not say to the expat spouse.
Vici: And that’s one of them but you know, you both need to learn that your communication skills that worked for you in the in your home country are not going to work exactly the same now in this foreign country because your emotions are, the the wire is a lot tighter, because you’re you’re worried about yourself, you’re worried about your family, you’re worried about how are we going to build a life? Like we’re here right now and make it the most successful and still have time and money to enjoy the adventure, and so it’s learning you know, there’s all of this work now on meditation and calming down so that you can be your authentic self, but it’s so important to find out how to maintain your authentic self whether it’s through exercise meditation diet lots of different approaches. That’s the way you are going to maximize the adventure because you’re not going to be wasting your energy on “Well, what did you do all day?” “Well, I did this and this and this”, and then get into an argument because you’re not connecting on how hard it is for both of you and the talent that you both have. I think that what happens, is the focus goes to one partner, one or the other and the other partner gets left in the dust. and
Sundae: Right, so what I’m hearing actually is both partners need to dial up their empathy button. I mean I call it about perspective taking, like really trying to see it through their lens, and that’s hard because it’s so easy to be like, “It’s hard to be me right now.”
Vici: One of the greatest gifts of living abroad is the work you get to do in building your empathy and your resilience muscle, because you only build that through these kinds of challenges and if you don’t take the chance to live abroad your resilience gets tested through just the things that happen in life, death, divorce, building a family and you miss this whole opportunity of the richness, it’s kind of richness of having deep resilience and how that will help you throughout your life and just make your life more interesting and I think that’s one of the greatest gifts you get from living and working abroad and when you go back to your native country and you automatically have more resilience more empathy more understanding for hardship and more capacity to experience joy that sometimes your friends and family and your native country don’t recognize you because you have it’s kind of like you know spending six months going to work out and you suddenly you have arm muscles that people can go wow, but it’s the same thing with these emotional muscles so to speak that you won’t get from from living abroad and by working with your partner in your relationship.I think the biggest thing is that we both, the partners and who has the job and the person who doesn’t have the job immediately, they may forget to focus on each other.
Sundae: Right, that’s the thing, I think it’s so easy to get lost, and what I recommend there is that people, you know, the structure creates the culture that they created a structure where they’re connecting and checking in even if it’s like a date night once a month so that they don’t, lose sight because it’s so easy to lose sight.
So you mentioned resilience, you also mentioned taking care of yourself. I’m going to put it in the show notes for those who are listening, a couple of articles on resilience and how to deal with extreme stress because I think that will really compliment what we were talking about when we looked at the importance of resilience.
So we’ve talked about this, the strategy of people. It sounds like the core of everything is really first getting clear on the value of what you offer in context and then communicating that or translating that into your relationships and into the physical tools you use to market yourself to get the job.
What would you say? What would you leave us with, something that you wish you could shout from the rooftops to everybody who is in this process of putting themselves out there on the professional market in a rotational life or a long term expat a migrant life, what do you wish people would know?
Vici: I think I would just go back to, instead of trying to be something that you’re not, be more of who you are, be more yourself. To get to that point you got to do a little bit of work, you don’t need to do it alone there lot of people out there like yourself who are able to, you know on a couple of sessions even help you identify those values, your strengths and how do you translate that for the local country that you’re living in and then just work on being more of who you are and that value because everyone is unique you still are unique even if now you’ve got the label of lovepat or expat you still are who you are and you bring uniqueness to whatever you do. It’s easy to lose the courage to be that person when you don’t speak the language and when you just don’t have a sense of where you are in the world.
Sundae: And you know what I find when I do this with my clients, I make them list their skills, hard skills, soft skills, and I have them ask their friends and co-workers what they’re really good at and how they add value, and they are shocked when they get the answers because they ended up realizing like, “Hey, I’m actually a badass” The result is really functional for the job search, but the process is so important for their confidence.
Vici: And I think one of the first things I usually do to build on that is to say to somebody, go and write three to five paragraphs on what is the one thing that you are the most proud of having accomplished in The Last 5 Years? Because that will open up your skills your passions things that you’re proud of, you’re already going to stand up straighter and that will automatically work its way into your elevator pitch and and let people into who you are and who that person is.
Sundae: Okay, that’s your assignment. If you’re listening: What is the one thing you’re most proud of that you’ve accomplished in the last three to five years?
Vici: Because that will open up your skills your passions things that you’re proud of, you’re already going to stand up straighter and that will automatically work its way into your elevator pitch and and let people into who you are and who that person is.
Sundae: So wonderful, so if anybody is listening and they’re thinking, “oh my gosh, I really would love to translate my statement into an elevator pitch into my resume.” Where can people find you?
Vici: They can find me on LinkedIn under linkedin.com/in/vkosterlenhardt/.
Sundae: Okay, I’ll make sure I put that in the show notes as well. You can learn all about her there. So thank you so much for being here. I know so many rotational expats and even long term migrants struggle with finding work and it has such an impact on self worth, self confidence, financial impact and quality of life, so what you do is such an important link in this chain, so thanks for being here.
Vici: Thank you and you as well.
Sundae: Alright you guys. That was Vici Koster-Lenhardt. She is the expert on career transition strategies for resume writing. She has a lot of insight on how to help you get meaningful employment when you’re living abroad. It’s been such a pleasure having her and I know what I’ll walk away with is that message of don’t try to be something that you’re not, look at what your value is and then how you can enhance your value and then really just translate that into relationships, which ironically it seems like the thing that most people neglect when it’s the most important thing to do.
Thank you for listening. This is the Expat Happy hour with Sundae Bean. I’ll leave you with the words of G.K. Nielsen “Successful people are not gifted, they just work hard and succeed on purpose.”