Post by International Military Life Community Manager, Courtney Woodruff
I will never forget the thrill of excitement that rushed through me the moment I received the official offer for my dream job overseas. I would be working as a writer for a local travel and lifestyle magazine serving military families and civilian workers stationed in Europe.
Pinch me. I must be dreaming.
When I applied for the position, I honestly believed I never stood a chance based on my qualifications and experience. In the end, networking proved to be an invaluable part of the selection process. If you’re adding a big career change or finding a new job opportunity overseas to the list of tasks you’ve had to juggle since you arrived on foreign soil, you’re not alone. I’ve made a list of six networking tips to help you navigate the intimidating process.
Volunteer or apply for any available internship positions.
Once you’ve pinpointed where you’d like to work overseas, consider contacting the location to find out whether or not there are any volunteer opportunities or internship positions available. Even though you won’t be getting a steady paycheck for the work you put in, the experience you will gain – not to mention the connections you will make – will help you stand out from other applicants when a position opens up.
Utilize your personal social media channels.
In an increasingly digitalized world, online personal platforms like Facebook and Twitter are fantastic building blocks for establishing relationships with potential employers. Joining Facebook groups will help you learn from and mingle with industry professionals in your area. Establishing a polished LinkedIn account is also a fantastic way to connect with local companies, organizations and employees in your career field.
Attend as many workshops and recruiting events as you can.
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the programs and organizations like ACS (Army Community Service) and AFRC (Armed Forces Recreation Centers) that offer support to spouses and civilian workers seeking job changes and opportunities overseas on your local military installation. Special workshops and recruiting events are held on base at regular intervals throughout the year. Attending as many as you can will help you connect with other industry professionals and broaden your circles within the community.
Highlight your interchangeable skills and experiences on applications.
When you find a job you’d like to apply for, it’s okay if you don’t feel like you are qualified for the position based on your employment history and education. I recommend you submit your application, anyway. Try to think outside the box, and feature the unique skills you’ve developed and experiences you’ve had that you believe make you the best candidate for the job.
Set up a coffee chat with someone in the career field.
Even though social media is a great way to connect with potential employers, brief online interactions are not the same as face-to-face conversations. If you are willing to step out of your comfort zone, gather up the courage to ask for a few minutes of a contact’s time to talk about working overseas. This is your opportunity to show him or her who you are and what you are looking for, and to ask for any words of advice or wisdom he or she might be inclined to share.
Advertise yourself in your current circles.
When you are ready to start seeking employment overseas, it’s important to share your plans with family members, friends and acquaintances, and send out feelers on your social media platforms. You never know who might have a connections that can help you get your foot in the door.
Good luck! You’re going to be awesome, I just know it.
Are you looking for a job overseas? What networking tips would you add to the list?
Check out the USAA – International FAQ
About the Blogger:
Courtney Woodruff is a military spouse, mom, writer, editor and web content manager currently living in Germany. She has a heart for our troops and their families and hopes to share what little she has learned along the way to help others overcome the unique challenges of military life. You can follow her adventures at her blog, Courtney At Home, or through her social media: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.