How to Job-Hunt Internationally

Martin Yate By Martin Yate February 16, 2021
How to Job-Hunt Internationally

​Bestselling author Martin Yate, a career coach and former HR professional, takes your questions each week about how to further your career in HR. Contact him at the e-mail address at the end of this column.

I am a senior leader in the banking industry, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. My daughter is moving to the United Kingdom early next year for her undergraduate education, and I would like to move with her.  

I am seeking your advice on the best way to go about a career search in the U.K. for an HR country head. 

Congratulations to your daughter for her academic progress and to you for being supportive. The move you suggest will take time and hard work, but, given the right focus, I believe it is readily achievable.

Job-Search Focus

The job you choose to pursue will determine how successful your search will be and how long it will take to complete. Your target job should be one that:

  • Your resume proves you can do.
  • You can interview for well.
  • You will be likely to succeed at.

Don't aim for a job that would be a promotion. Look for a job for which you already have required skills, probably very similar to the one you are doing now. Your goal is to relocate to the U.K., not get a better job title, so this is a steppingstone job that gets you in the place you want to be and provides opportunity for the future.

Finance is a global industry with London battling New York as the world's No. 1 banking center. These large, multinational organizations will be very interested in your intimate knowledge of the Southeast Asia region, its customs and business practices, and how HR supports those business practices. You'd be a natural fit for a head of country position.

Identify Job Opportunities

Seek out opportunities in public, multinational and consulting companies focused on Southeast Asia. This Wikipedia page lists pretty much the whole range of financial services companies active in Malaysia, and all primary resources listed are likewise linked to further resources.

Standard & Poor's tracks every public company in the world, with databases of management names, titles and contact information. You'll pay for access, so only use this when you know exactly what you're looking for. A month's membership should be enough time for you to identify contacts at these companies.

Creating Your Resume and LinkedIn Presence

Build your online professional presence before you start applying for jobs. Your attack should move forward on three fronts:

  1. Write a resume focused on the skills and experiences your potential employers are looking for, not the ones you think are important.
  2. Build a LinkedIn profile that matches the goals of your job search. This social media profile should tell a story that supports your new resume. Start reaching out to people who do similar work and the leaders of companies where you are interested in applying. It takes time to build networks from scratch, so start now. This column on corporate recruitment strategies will give you the right focus.
  3. Read this column to help you start your job search

If you follow these steps, I sincerely believe you can take your career to new heights as you support the blossoming of your daughter's career. 

Have a question for Martin about advancing or managing your career? From big issues to small, please feel free to e-mail your queries to YourCareerQA@shrm.org. We'll only publish your first name and city, unless you prefer to remain anonymous—just let us know.

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