Expat

4 TIPS TO DRIVE YOUR CAREER BEYOND THE HORIZON

Are you from outside Belgium but looking to tap into the country’s exciting job market as a truly international hub? Or perhaps you are a Belgian looking to make waves on the international stage? No matter which way around you look at it, working in a foreign country and culture comes with its own unique challenges but also unique opportunities. We’re here to help you get the most out of them and drive your career beyond the horizon.

  1. Know yourself
  2. Find support
  3. Know the market
  4. Meet your match 

Since these tips and resources are exclusive for you as a Vlerick alumnus, please make sure you’re logged in on our website so you can easily access every link in this article.

1. Know yourself

Wondering what it takes to make it on the international scene? Watch and find out.

It’s only when you know your true potential that you will find meaningful ways to unleash it on the world. Ask yourself, “what are my strengths?”, “what really motivates me?”, “what am I good at?”, “what are my values?” and “what do I really want to achieve?”. You might find that your next big career move has been staring you in the face all along! 

Check out these interesting personality and career tests. They’ll help you find out what makes you, you… and what career paths will help turn those qualities into personal and professional success.

2. Find support

Whether you’re considering a move abroad or you’re already there, life as an expat can be an enriching but also very challenging experience. Just remember, you’re not alone! And if you happen to reach out to any of your fellow expats, chances are they will reassure you that:

  • Big changes always take more time
  • Things go easier if you get help
  • Your best resource is other people.

In other words, you should cherish the contacts you already have while never missing an opportunity to forge new connections.

3. Know the market

Taken the decision to go global? Congratulations! There a many different ways to go about it. From our experience, these are the most common, each with its own set of advantages:

  • Get transferred. If your company has offices, affiliates, partners or agents in another part of the world, this can often be the most secure way to dip your feet into foreign waters. Talk to your manager and/or HR about the possibilities.
  • Leverage pre-existing links to a competitor, former business partner or subsidiary. Having a history of collaboration or having a unique competitive advantage means your future employer will be more inclined to go the extra mile to smooth the transition for you.
  • Use your network of contacts and mentors. 80% of all vacancies are never actually published. People hire who they can trust. So the more people who know and trust you, the greater your chances of getting in, especially if it means going around established hiring policies. Try networking within local groups of people with the same nationality or interests.
  • Turn obstacles into assets. Speaking a different language or having a different cultural background to your colleagues can make things more difficult. But it could just be the source of your added value, too! Speak Spanish? What about joining the sales team of an Irish company active on the Colombian market? Or as an Indian asset manager for a Belgian company looking to invest in India? The possibilities are endless.

Try to keep an open mind and examine all career paths that are open to you. Talk to people who have already taken the plunge in the company or country you have in your sights. How did they go about it? What helped? What would they recommend? These tools can help you immerse yourself in your new environment:

New to Belgium? Want to learn more about how the Belgian job market works? Check out the handy toolkit below created by Vlerick Business School in collaboration with Talentree and sponsored by ESF and the Flemish Government:

4. Meet your match

Found that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Now all you have to do is land it, right? Some tips and tricks to make sure you’re fully prepared:

  • Designing a CV isn't easy. Not that much of a Word wizard? Here are some online CV building tools to get you started. These are websites that help you create a professional cv via templates that you can personalize online.
  • Tons of websites on how to write that killer CV and cover letter are available. We list up our basic guidelines and give you an example cover letter & CV.
  • More & more companies work with a video interview as a first recruiting tool. For sure you will have to do it too in the future! We provide tips on how to prepare best and some typical video interview questions.
  • Recruiters are using LinkedIn in interesting ways to source candidates more than ever before. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is as powerful as possible by using our best practices.
  • Analytical tests have become standard in the current recruitment processes. Though most recruiters will tell you that you cannot improve your score on these types of tests, our experience shows that you actually can become better at these tests by practicing. We’ve listed quite a few free online tests for you to try out.
  • A successful job search culminates in a job offer, but what about salaries? Find some FAQ on salary negotiations & basic salary benchmark reports from Vlerick Careers.
  • Wondering what you can expect to earn in Europe? This Salary Survey by Robert Walters offers an very practical overview.

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