Why every Expat Partner should have a good profile on LinkedIn
Many Expat Partners use multiple social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest daily. Most of the time, they use it for fun or for easily staying in contact with family and their always moving-around-the-globe friends. LinkedIn is not always on the list of sites Expat Partners use. Some don’t have a profile at all and many of them have an old or half-completed profile.
Expat Partners come up with many reasons why their profile on LinkedIn does not exist or is not up-to-date: “I have no job”, “I have nothing to say about my career”, “I don’t want a job now”, “I am not able to apply for a job”, “My last real job was 5 years ago” or “I only do volunteer work”.
It is important to get a LinkedIn profile or to get your LinkedIn profile up-to-date – even when you are not actively seeking employment. Let me explain the five reasons why it is important to have an up-to-date profile on LinkedIn.
Connecting with people you get to know while living abroad, and (re-)connecting with former colleagues. LinkedIn is a great tool for exploring careers or searching for jobs. Just as Facebook is a fun way to connect with friends and family, the same is true of LinkedIn. Making professional connections in fields of interest is critical to your future employment.
At some point there will be a reason to have that profile up-to-date simply because your situation has changed and you are ready for a job search.
You can learn a lot from looking at profiles in fields or organizations of interest. Reading someone’s profile is similar to looking over their CV. If you really want to gain the most benefit, you need to be proactive and find out about the many features available on LinkedIn. You can find Alumni on multiple criteria. You can search LinkedIn and follow organizations of your interest. You will find groups of interest and join them ad read updates. You can help others with your expertise or experience if you feel the urge to join a discussion.
Recruiters and hiring managers are active on LinkedIn. They use LinkedIn in order to find the candidates they are seeking. They are searching LinkedIn to find people with the skills, interests and experiences that match their opening. They will never find you if you are not present on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network on the Internet. Using their network is key to Expat Partners. In many ways! Not all Expat Partners are on Facebook or, and for some this can be a scary thought, ‘what happens if Facebook ends its services’. How do you find that one specific Expat friends you’ve met years before, in another country? As an Expat Partner, you meet so many new interesting, smart people; some with really nice backgrounds. You are not always able to get in contact directly, but via LinkedIn you can always get in contact – even after years.
To me, it’s always very surprising what backgrounds people have; not only their experiences in other countries, but also professionally. What kind of study they did, where they have lived and so on.
Assume you have an up-to-date profile and you are active on LinkedIn for a while. You have, let’s say, 300 contacts (you might think that’s a big number, but believe me, you will get there sooner than you think). If you count the contacts of your contacts (and get rid of duplicate contacts), you will find out soon that there will be an enormous number of contacts remaining to explore.
Power of groups
So many reasons to get more active in groups on LinkedIn: You want to stay in contact, you want to learn more about a new profession or you want to stay informed about your own profession. All of these are great reasons to experience the power of groups, too. On LinkedIn, you’ll find a huge variety of groups within your interest. You can be just an observer or be active on the topics you like. If you are seen on LinkedIn, people will be more familiar with your background. It will be more likely that you will be asked to do something, help others or you might get a job offer.
Mind your gap
Think about the career gap that you most likely will have for a certain period of time. Your life as an Expat Partner can be challenging in many ways. I know. People who never lived abroad don’t know. They don’t know how time-consuming your life can be as an Expat Partner. Or they simply do not understand that you weren’t able or allowed to work at all. So, think about what you want to and can do with the gaps in your career. The bigger the gap is, the bigger the challenge to re-enter the job market. The importance to reduce this gap will grow when you are -let’s say once-a-week- active on LinkedIn for any of these reasons: to retain your knowledge about your profession, learn about your profession in another country, learn about your profession in another culture, learn about a totally new and appealing profession. Or you might want to learn about the careers of your former colleagues or of your new friends from the life you live now?!
Explore and find out about the LinkedIn possibilities today!
Please share your thoughts on this topic in the comments below. I would really love to hear about it.