Moving abroad does not have to end your professional career. Kate von Knobloch shares valuable career tips for expats so that you can succeed abroad.
Kate, a certified career coach @ Share The Love, provides individual and group coaching sessions.
You have to read Kate’s story to understand why she is now a Career Coach…
Kate studied in the UK and worked abroad for short stints in Spain and Taiwan.
So when the time came to spend 3 years abroad in Chicago, USA, she accepted.
Except this time, her husband was the one taking the job abroad.
Nevertheless, Kate would find a job!
She would continue the traditional career path she had drawn out for herself.
It’s another country, but all she needed was a work permit and a job contract.
The reality was something else entirely.
Work permits were delayed. And that startup that was hiring… Bankrupt!
As her plans disintegrated, her future started looking a bit fuzzy.
When looking for jobs in her field, she felt something blocking her.
What was worse… she felt all alone in her situation.
Instead, she took 8 weeks to solo-travel through Mexico, Cuba and Thailand, to name a few.
This helped her realize that it wouldn’t be so bad to reinvent herself.
Thinking outside the box paid off!
She has since become a successful career coach helping women going through the same emotional hardship of starting over.
Kate has since then repatriated back to her home country of Germany, but the experience abroad redefined her life.
This is the case for many trailing spouses.
The truth is:
85% of expat spouses are women and 92% of these women have higher education(1)Source: International Survey Summary Report From Permits Foundation
Many of these highly qualified expat spouses are overlooked due to language barriers, different diploma / license requirements, different CV/Cover Letter formats, work visa processing that companies don’t want to deal with, etc.
I talk to Kate about the challenges of the expat spouse and Kate gives us some great career tips on succeeding professionally, no matter where you live.
What should expat spouses do when feeling stuck professionally?
Sometimes the hardships of living abroad forces you to reconsider your life plans. Be open to the fact that you might have to take a slight detour in your career. Maybe do something completely different. Use this time to evaluate what you want.
Things to consider:
- Do you really want to continue on your current career path?
- Do you even want to work now? Or are you trying to prove something?
- Would you consider trying something new? If you are not hard pressed to pay your bills, this is the time to do something new.
- Start by defining your underlying values? You don’t want to end up doing something you’re not comfortable with.
- Next evaluate your skills: What are you good at? Build on that.
- Learn new skills – one’s that are transferable to any destination.
Once you’ve decided…
- Dedicate 100% of your time to whatever it is you decided – own it as a full time profession.
- Surround yourself with others like you. Join a support group to learn from or empower others. You’d be surprised how many people are in your situation.
- Be open to volunteering or internships. You might not get a financial reward, but getting acknowledgement for your work does wonders for your energy levels and gives you the confidence boost you need to continue..
Personal branding? What’s the hype? Is it just a buzzword? Or do you think it is important?
A personal brand is central for people to know who you are. It’s how you present yourself to the world. Mistakenly, we think without a career, we have no label. Understandably, your career is a part of your identity. When taken away, it leaves a gap. But we are not just our career. We are much more than that. And sadly, if you don’t work on “your brand”, others will create a label for you. Most of the time, it will not be favorable.
What career tip do you have for women who lack the confidence to talk about their achievements, even small ones, for fear of seeming arrogant?
It’s not about showing off. It’s about sharing your experience. Someone might resonate with you. Whether it is new friendships or someone who can help you professionally, all connections are an opportunity. So get that elevator pitch ready.
Don’t overthink it… Train it… Say it out loud… This will surely help your confidence levels.
What about introverts who are not great at networking?
Use social media! LinkedIn for professional connections, but when adding a new contact, include a message about why you’re reaching out. People respond favorably to this.
Time to get personal
Q: After COVID, where is the one place you want to travel to?
Kate: I spent many summers in Crete, Greece and the idea of relaxing on the beach sounds really great right now.