I just came across a very interesting article on expatriate jobs and overseas job hunting on the Michael Page recruitment blog.

As the original post is in French, I’ve decided to give you an overview of the article as well as develop a little bit some of the points as I thought this article was very congruent with one of my previous posts on the common misconceptions on expatriation.

So the title reads “Stop wasting your time searching for an expat job, emigrate first!” and it got my attention as in my nearly 15 years of expatriation, I have never held an expat job. (What is referred here as an expat job is when a company sends an employee to one of their overseas office for a set period of time).

My thinking has always been to first go to a new city or country then to find a job with a local or international company, never the other way round. Maybe it is because I was very young when I first went abroad and I hadn’t properly launched my professional career but I never depended on a company to help me go and live overseas.

A shift in mentality

This article by a Michel Page consultant deals with the decline of expat jobs’ offers at an international level and the shift in mentality amongst young French professionals from hoping to find a French company that will send them overseas on an all-expenses-paid French contract towards a more global approach to job hunting.

The old model of expatriation from the 70s and 80s is long gone and even though there are still many companies around the world which are still sending their staff overseas on short- and long-term contracts, the trend is now for companies  to employ experienced and qualified staff found locally (either locals or immigrants (that includes us, expats!). [I am touching here another point that will be treated in a future post – Expatriate vs. Immigrant.]

The author refers to a necessary shift in the mentality of any budding expats towards a change of perspectives and to align their life with their desire of an overseas career. If you dream of living and working in China, just pick up your suitcase and go look for a job over there. I am talking about legal emigration of course, with a tourist visa! In some countries, it is easy to find a company willing to sponsor you for your visa but it’s not always the case, and in others like in Europe, there are very few barriers for EU citizens to work in any of the 27 countries members of the EU. Depending on your case, you will need to be creative, motivated and very resourceful but you can literally live and work anywhere in the world.

A stateless future

Nowadays, good overseas job opportunities are open to any professional indistinctively of their country of origin, especially if they already have an international experience. Many people are taking advantages of this kind of lifestyle to move around the world depending on the opportunities of the global market (such as the many opportunities in the BRIC countries at the moment). They are called professional nomads or location independent professionals from all around the world: they form a huge “Global Stateless Community”.

We should be grateful for the fact that at any time we can pick up our suitcase and go anywhere in the world.

So if you dream of living overseas, start the process today and make that shift. Yes, you will be confronted to some difficult moments and moments of self-doubt but you will not be alone as there is always someone to give you a hand in those moments as I explained in my Ebook, whether it is someone in your network or someone online. See a selection of the expat forums, here.

To your success abroad!

Sabine PanneauSabine Panneau
Skype: sabp23
Email: sabine@sabinefep.com
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