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Coping With Expat Unemployment & Finding New Work Abroad

Unemployment is on the increase in many nations around the world.  Higher numbers of jobless are an inevitable by-product of weakened economies, and sometimes the easiest people to make redundant are the expatriate workers towards whom employers perhaps feel less loyalty.

From Spain to America, and from Cyprus to Dubai, we’ve heard tales of expatriate woe from those who were once gainfully employed and committed to their new lives abroad, who have now fallen foul of recessions, cutbacks, streamlining and basically unemployment.

If you’re living abroad and you’re facing redundancy, it can feel like you’re alone in a very unfriendly landscape.  But you’re not alone, we’re here to help you cope with expat unemployment and find new work abroad.  We have 7 top tips to keep your spirits high and help you get back into the employment marketplace.

Tip 1 – Be Prepared Without Being Pessimistic!

If you’re still employed and you’re simply very concerned about the fact that job insecurity is rife within your community/sector, it pays to be prepared for job loss even if it’s (hopefully) not inevitable.

At the same time, if you know your neck is on the line, you really do need to be prepared so that when the time comes for you to leave your current job, you’re not at risk of financial failure.

This means that you have to take a long hard look at your financial position and make any necessary cutbacks.  You really do have to have a lump sum saved and put by if you want to be sure you can pay the bills each month.  The sooner you can have your financial nest feathered with some savings the better.

Cut back on the daily coffee fix from Starbucks, cancel your lesser-used gym subscription, Skype instead of mobile, walk/bike/run instead of car/bus/train, make your own lunch, reheat leftovers, shop around for everything from groceries to energy to fuel to insurance, and think frugal.

Any excess money you have left, squirrel it away for a rainy unemployed day when your mortgage will still need paying.  You will be thankful for your thriftiness when you’re not under so much financial pressure following job loss.  Financial pressure is not conducive to the clear thinking required to get you back into employment.

Tip 2 – Don’t Man Up, Just Skill Up!

You don’t have to pretend to anyone that unemployment doesn’t suck.  You also do not have to be ashamed if you lose your job.  No one is immune to job loss nowadays because global economies have been fiscally squeezed by poor governmental decisions.  This has nothing to do with you personally, so don’t see unemployment as failure.  ‘Manning up’ and hiding your feelings is not necessary – skilling up to get on the employment ladder on the other hand, is not just necessary but critical.

Are your IT skills up to scratch, have you got the latest must have qualifications in your sector, have you had your skills, qualifications and experience tested and proved in your new nation according to any relevant professional bodies.

If you know of areas where you could improve, or you’re aware of a training course that could really give you the edge, it’s time to commit to skilling up to the max so that you are the most attractive candidate at an interview.  Spending money on books and training is an investment rather than a waste, even when money’s tight in redundancy.

Invest what you have into yourself to help yourself get back into employment.  It’s possibly the only investment worth making at this time.

Tip 3 – Presentation is Paramount…

From your CV, resume and covering letter to your haircut, suit and shiny shoes, every element of your presentation to a new employer is critically important.  Spend time and effort putting together a killer CV.  Not one word on the page should be superfluous, each and every syllable you pen needs to sell you!

Your CV or application form will be the first impression you make on an employer, you need it to have an impact and to count in the most positive manner possible.  Therefore, if you’re not a wordsmith or you hate selling yourself, get help.

From former colleagues to a spouse, friend and co-workers to a professional CV writer, look around and pick your support staff to help you pen the best CV possible.

Don’t be afraid to tweak and tailor your resume and certainly your covering letter to every single different job you apply for.  Each application has to be wholly appropriate and targeted to the job you’re going for.

When you get the call for an interview, ensure you present yourself in the very best possible light.  Dress very smartly, pay attention to personal grooming – women, wear makeup and use all the weapons in your feminine armoury to ensure you look stunning.  It’s not sexist or politically incorrect – because according to the Independent newspaper, it’s a fact that beautiful people are more successful!

Tip 4 – Personalities and Brands are Powerful.

You need to be noticed to be employed – and to be noticed you need to be noticeable!  So, you need to get out there and promote yourself as much as you can.  From softly gate crashing office parties at companies where you know it would do you good to network to getting a website and making sure it’s seen, do what you can to get noticed!

You need to stay on the right side of legal, and the right side of annoying too – in other words, use ‘best practice’ in your bid to be seen, heard and recognised, and don’t become a stalker!

It pays to have the likes of a website that promotes your skills and experience, as well as business cards, a resume to hand out and an appealing personality to turn on the charm with!  Network online and offline, use contacts and friends to get you in front of those who may be employing, or who may know who’s employing, and don’t give up.

Keep putting yourself in front of people – for example consider joining professional forums where you know would-be employers hang around.  Comment, be helpful, find ways to market your experience and skills – and keep plugging away with the self-promotion.

If no one knows about you, why are they going to employ you?

Tip 5 – Method Rather Than Madness

You need to approach getting re-employed with a strong method.  Treat the task like any goal orientated project and work methodically and consistently towards your end goal.  Give yourself rewards for the hard work you put in – for example, on a day when you’ve once again overhauled your CV, been for an interview, applied for a brand new job or promoted your brand and personality online, perhaps enjoy a couple of hours off in the middle of the day to walk your dog or just soak up the sun.

You have to treat yourself well rather than battering yourself into the ground as you strive to find work.  So rather than burning out, set yourself daily tasks and goals and reward your effort.  This will help you stay positive and get the very most out of the time you commit to finding a new job.  If you can stay positive, you can win!

Tip 6 – Keep Your Hand In!

When you’re out of work for a while you can forget what the routine’s like, so instead of falling out of the groove, try to maintain elements of your old life such as keeping fit rather than lounging about in your pyjamas, reading trade press rather than the gossip columns, and staying in touch with old friends back at your previous workplace.

It’s important to stay on top of your game professionally speaking, and part of this is to continue to think as though you’re in employment.  Value yourself, put the time in to find a new job, stay informed and absolutely 100% focused on getting back into the work place.

There will be days when you’re fed up and disheartened – because even when you’re in work there are days when you resent your job for example.  So it’s totally natural to have the odd ‘off day’ when all your concerted effort feels like it’s being wasted.  On days like that you need to take stock and look at all the hard work you’re putting in – this is 100% testimony to the fact that you’re a hard working, dedicated professional who deserves success…and your persistence will eventually pay.

Any rejections or knock backs you receive can be so hard to take on top of the original redundancy, but if any comments are given with a knock back, take them on board and learn from them.  Otherwise, chalk them up to experience in job hunting, and the more experience you have, the closer you will be to getting that new job.

Tip 7 – Consider All Your Options

If you lose your job it can be an ideal time for re-evaluation.  Were you in the sector or position you really wanted to be in, are you even in the country you really want to be in?  Could you go it alone?  Set up your own company or become self-employed as a consultant to your sector?  Do you want to retrain, start afresh somewhere else or doing something else?

Alternatively, while you’re looking for work, what about taking something part-time and meaningless just to get you out of the house and earning a little bit of money.  Of course, there is a balance between needing a lot of time to dedicate to job hunting and needing to bring in some cash – so ensure you get the balance right.

But, consider all your options if you face unemployment – look around for new opportunities or embrace long-held dreams to change your life if you feel the time is right.  You don’t have to jump right back on the same old horse if you really feel like a change.  Use the time wisely to reassess and ensure you know what you want.  With your goals set you can work at hitting the targets in the best way possible.

In Conclusion

Unemployment is not your fault, it can happen to any one of us in this day and age.  It can be a time for you to re-examine your life and your priorities and a chance for you to skill up and find perhaps an even better job or way forward in life.

In other words, don’t see redundancy as failure, see it as an opportunity to get ahead and into a much more suitable role!  You will have to work hard to get a new job if that job is worth having – so throw yourself into the challenge but remember you’re in charge of marketing yourself and guiding your life, so look after yourself along the way, and always present yourself in the best possible light.

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