All around the world, we’ve seen how the Covid crisis has turned our lives upside down. Never before have we had to adapt to a world that is undergoing such a significant change in such a short time span.
This pandemic has had an impact at different levels of our lives for almost everyone. Practical habits like your shopping, travel and work had to change during this time. But your career plans and dreams might also have been put on hold. How has this Covid crisis affected expats and internationals in particular?
What impact has this crisis had on your life and career?
Is it still possible to change jobs during the Covid crisis?
The Covid crisis pressed the pause button on many people’s plans and dreams. This includes career transitions and plans to go back to work. Recently, I’ve had a lot of questions from my clients:
- Do I need to panic?
- Is it still possible to find work in today’s new situation?
- Can I still make this career switch that I dream of?
Of course, how easy it is to find a new job is directly linked to the economy. The Covid crisis comes along with lots of uncertainty. For some, it means changing roles and an increase in responsibilities. For others, it means being involved in downsizing.
These past couple of years have taught us that being flexible, adaptable and able to manage stress is key. The good news is that as an expat you’re already well-equipped to face these unique challenges. These skills will support you in managing a career move, even during the Covid crisis.
Your international move has made you an expert in thriving through change.
You’ve already done it – maybe even more than once! You’ve moved and adapted to a different country, culture and work environment. Through your international move, you’ve developed skills and qualities to help you adjust. These include being open-minded, curious, and flexible. Take the time to reflect and build on those strengths that have made you a successful expat already. These are a few qualities that I see in my clients:
- Ability to read non-verbal cues
- Working with culturally diverse colleagues
- Working remotely
What unique skills and qualities have YOU developed through your international experience?
How would you feel shifting to a growth mindset to move your career forward?
Being on the expat rollercoaster myself, I have personally been through the different challenges and unique opportunities transitions offer.
I know how it feels like leaving people and places that you cherish behind. I know the challenge not to neglect even a tiny part of your identity and restart from scratch in a new place again.
Changes can be very exhausting and daunting but also very rewarding. With the right attitude and mindset, you can turn all opportunities and challenges into valuable self-growth, and develop rewarding relationships.
Imagine, to move forward, you want to develop more life- and professional skills. Imagine building deep new relationships and learning about different cultures. And most importantly, imagine learning more about yourself.
How would you feel?
Focus and Branding is more important for your career than ever.
In a job market that is going through change, there can be more candidates to compete with. So it’s crucial to think about how to stand out from the crowd. One way to do this is by creating a brand. To brand yourself, you need to know who you are and what you are looking for.
Focus is key, so ask yourself some essential questions:
- What is important to me in my work?
- What motivates me?
- What are the skills that I enjoy using the most?
- Which world issues are close to my heart?
- In which environment do I thrive?
Your answers to these questions are a starting point to clarify the second stage of your exploration and to reflect on your strategy:
- Which career goals would you like to pursue?
- Are you thinking of a career change?
- Is your goal realistic?
- What are the stumbling blocks?
Give yourself permission to contact people who are working in the field you are looking at. Invite them for a coffee and ask them questions. It will help you avoid any misinterpretation about the job and future opportunities. Once you have a clear understanding of your skills, values and motivation, set your goals.
New ways of working create unique career opportunities for you.
Traditionally, we viewed a career as linear with a pre-determined career progression. But this has changed, as most of us will enjoy two or more career paths in our lifetime. This ‘zigzag career’ is becoming a common pattern in the 21st century.
We live in a time with a hybrid work environment and a new (service-based) economy driven by new technology and innovations. This modern work market invites change and encourage us to embrace it.
More and more companies look deeper into potential employees. They look for a good fit in addition to the required skills. Your personal branding can help you stand out from the competition.
Who knows, this crisis might even push you forward towards a more fulfilling and meaningful career.
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Written by Marie Dewulf – photo from Abi Ismail- Unsplash