Finding a job abroad, when you don’t know the culture and the language, and you can’t rely on any support network, is a daunting task.
No wonder, then, that one of the major reasons employees refuse an assignment abroad is because of lack of professional opportunities for their spouse. A 2015 Permits Foundation study of 177 companies managing 130,000 expatriates found that 50% of employers face this situation. Having a job is not only an important part of your identity. Nowadays, it also means financial independence, intellectual stimulation and social integration. It prevents a huge imbalance in the couple relationship too.
In this article we will deal with following:
1. How to deal with the gaps in your CV
2. What to do if you have a local job opportunity, but no work permit?
3. How can you practice as Freelancer international, with the benefits as being employed?
Successful career development depends on making sure the right people know what value you can add and why you are different: Motivation, Skills, Identity, and Network. The good news is that thanks to technology the world has become significantly smaller: “Overseas” is less far than it once was. Now you can learn, work and network from a distance.
Include all relevant activities during the gap
Make sure to include any relevant activities during the gap on your resume. If you studied for your Master’s degree or took some classes during your gap, include these on your resume under “Education.” You may have volunteered during your time off from your career. If what you did is in line with your profession, include this volunteer work under professional experience. If not, consider including volunteer experience under a separate heading on your resume. Here are two examples to help you figure out if your volunteer experience is relevant or not:
Example 1: You volunteered at an orphanage and played with the kids there once a week for an hour. Relevant to your career in fundraising? No. You didn’t do any fundraising. Include it under “Volunteer experience.”
Example 2: You volunteered at an orphanage and played with the kids there once a week for an hour. You also chaired their fundraising drive to raise $2,000 for kitchen repairs and modernization. Relevant to your career in fundraising? Absolutely. Include it under “Professional experience.” This brings up a good point. If you are currently experiencing a gap in your employment or you see one coming up on the horizon, make sure to find something to fill that gap that keeps you connected to your career and using the skills you need to keep sharp. Find a way to volunteer using your professional skill set, take classes, or earn an advanced degree or certificate.
Explain the gap in your cover letter
Your resume doesn’t give you much room for explaining. For example, “I left my fundraising job at the American Cancer Society to follow my husband overseas” isn’t going to make a nice bullet on your resume. But you can dedicate one paragraph of your cover letter to addressing this gap. This helps your employer understand the gap in your resume and ensures that they don’t dismiss you because you have an unexplained gap on your resume. It’s best if you can make the gap a positive instead of a negative. Addressing what you did during your gap in employment that will benefit your employer is an extremely effective strategy.
Let's say you were working as a Fundraiser before moving abroad. Let's also say you have a five-year gap on your resume because when you moved to Malaysia with your husband, you were unable to work there because you didn’t have a work visa. Let’s say you already have a Master’s degree and didn’t want to take additional classes. Let’s also suppose that you were caring for your three small children, thus didn’t leave you any time for volunteering and using your professional skills. Tough situation, right? What do you have to offer from your time in Malaysia that your employer wants? On the surface it may look like nothing. But let's say when we talk with you, we find out that you learned a lot about Malaysian culture, and that you also learned a lot about your own culture by being the outsider. You were forced to learn the Malaysian language and adopt a different way of operating. How will that help you in fundraising? Perhaps it will help you approach and connect with more people in your fundraising efforts. Perhaps you learned how to convince people who are different from yourself to help you or do what you want. This seems helpful for a fundraiser, right? That’s what you should highlight in one paragraph in your cover letter.
Don't leave the interview without addressing the gap
When you are applying for positions, you can often figure out what potential employers will see as your biggest weakness. Is there something that you don’t have that you think other candidates will have? If you think the gap in your employment will be one of your potential employer’s greatest concerns about hiring you, don’t leave the interview without addressing it. There are two good places to address this. First, you can incorporate it into your answer about what’s your greatest weakness. The answer for this one can look something like this:
"I was quite worried about the five-year gap in my employment when I decided to move with my family to Malaysia. But now that the gap is over and I’m back in the job market, I know that this gap is actually an advantage for you as an employer. After a break from my chosen profession, I am extremely excited to get back to work. I have a renewed excitement for the career I chose. I’m different from other candidates in that I’m not burned out. I can’t wait to jump right back into it and you’re going to see that starting on my very first day."
In collaboration with our partner network, we can provide you a legal and compliant engagement process to any future employer trough an Employer of Record service. The Employer of record can engage you on behalf of your local employer and take care of statutory, regulatory ownership and management that are applicable to your geographical location.
If you want to start your portable career and work as an independent contractor but not ready to commit to a full-fledged business set up solution. LinkMotility Umbrella Service is a solution!
We will be the corporate solution for your contractual and payroll needs, which includes contractual engagement with your client and assessment to determine the most appropriate form of engagement. We ensure you are compliant at all times and can manage all administration and necessary tax obligations for you. No joining fees or tie-ins, you only pay for our service when you are working.
A brand consultant and marketing strategist by profession, Trine founded Boosting Business, a successful brand bureau in Denmark prior to moving to Qatar, where she co-founded LinkMotility and SpouseTalent in 2016. This was where she gained inspiration to help global mobility talents and entrepreneurs see an understanding of their power and the potential to become authorities in their field while on the move – and the mindset, guidance and roadmap to make it happen. Trine has been involved in multiple speaking engagements in Denmark, Qatar and Malaysia as a lecturer and guest speaker. A strong advocate of networking, she constantly emphasises its importance in all her lectures, talks and firmly believes it is one of the most powerful tools for people and businesses. Trine also co-founded Women in Business, one of the biggest professional network for women in Denmark. After spending nearly two decades in the branding industry, Trine knows what truly drives engagement, conversions and sold-out launches. Trine is a graduate of the College of Art, Craft and Design, Denmark. She currently serves as a Board of Director at the Malaysian Danish Business Council.
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