Using LinkedIn to find a job abroad is one of the best methods to land your dream job. Many people overlook LinkedIn as a way to find a job abroad, but in reality, it is the best source for intel and potential jobs. Interesting enough, most people don’t see much value in LinkedIn. This is a serious missed opportunity. The job listings are not even the most valuable aspect of LinkedIn. It is the networking opportunities.
I have heard over and over that professional networking on LinkedIn is a waste of time. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Generally, people like to share their advice and people rarely ask for it.
Social networks can be quite valuable in an international job search depending on your industry. However, LinkedIn is the platform that is most valuable for all industries. It is the largest business-focused social network in the world. There are a significant number of users in almost every country. The largest benefit to using LinkedIn is that the active users are the those that will be most receptive to aiding you in your job search. If you are interested in finding a job abroad and do not have a LinkedIn profile, creating one should be your first step.
There are three groups of people who will be the most helpful to any international job seeker. First are local industry connections, next is networking groups (online and offline), and finally local recruiters/headhunters.
LinkedIn offers almost limitless access to all of these groups. There are some limitations if you do not have any local connections. As you get started with your plan to search for a job abroad, the most important aspect is to have a plan in advance. The more specific you are with your search, the more valuable LinkedIn will be in providing you with access to opportunities that are relevant to you.
To begin, you must be certain which country and city you are planning to move to. If you do not commit to one, it will be very difficult unless they are relatively close. Once you have determined where you are planning to go, you should narrow down your options for jobs. Again, the more specific, the better. You should know which industry and which job title you are looking for. Though, it is possible to be slightly flexible. If you have experience as a marketing manager at a law firm, then you can easily look at all professional service companies.
Local Industry Connections
The first group is by far the most important. It is important to subdivide this group into local connections and local expat connections. Both are valuable for very different reasons. Local connections are just that. Local people who are in positions like the one you are looking for and are in their home country. These people can provide a wealth of information about the local labor market, potential salaries, and different factors that might impact your job search.
The second group of local connections are expats working in your country. They can provide incredible insight into the difficulties that you may encounter while searching for a job as a foreigner. Expats are also usually very plugged into the expat community in any given city. It depends on the country, but once you have connected with a few expats on LinkedIn, you will begin to recieve other expats in your suggested connections. When reaching out to expats in any given city, it is best to stick to those with whom you have some sort of connection. This can be said about just about any networking.
If you can find expats who went to the same university as you, this is the perfect way to start a conversation with them. If you have nothing in common, having the same citizenship will usually work as a way to connect with someone. Knowing locals anywhere is important, but networking with fellow expats is essential. In future posts, we will look at email templates that you can use to reach out to potential connections on LinkedIn.
Networking Groups (Online and Offline)
LinkedIn groups that are focused on your region also have a wealth of information available. Nevertheless, it depends on the group. Smaller closed groups tend to provide the best options for networking. Sometimes though larger public groups will allow you to see who is part of the group, and you can connect with these people.
Groups are easy to find, and it may be easier to search for “Expats in Paris” or “Cambodia Networking”. Especially if you are having trouble finding expats through a regular search. Some people have found value in posting inside these groups for advice. I’d like to say that you are much more likely to get specific advice if you proactively reach out to members in the group. Remember, people are in the group to network and networking goes both ways.
Recruiters and Headhunters
The final group of people that are of significant importance is recruiters and headhunters. Many headhunters work with expats with experience to find jobs throughout the world. LinkedIn is the perfect place to get in touch with headhunters in your industry. It is important to remember that working with a headhunter requires an understanding of the way they work before engaging with them. Headhunters may talk to you as if they are assisting you with your job search, but their client is the company.
This dynamic is a bit easier to navigate with corporate recruiters at individual companies. These recruiters are actively looking for people with the skills their organizations need. Many big cities around the world are filled with international headhunting companies. Sometimes you can even ask a local recruiter in your home country to put you in touch with a recruiter in your country of choice. Check out our country guides for more information on headhunting and executive search firms.
If you were on the fence about using LinkedIn, hopefully, you have seen that there is value in the platform. Using LinkedIn to find a job abroad is the next best thing to personally networking locally in the country. With the tips above, you will find that your time spent on LinkedIn is well spent. Good luck! For more in-depth tips on finding a job in Russia, check out our Ultimate Guide to Getting a Job as an Expat in Russia and our Expat Job Board.