Written by Valeria Savani, International Recruitment Associate at binternational.
Today is finally the Interview Day. You get dressed in your best clothes, you practice your answers again, you make sure you are bringing your CV and… don’t forget your pair of suitcases! Wait what? Suitcases? Who would ever bring a pair of suitcases to a job interview? Believe it or not, thousands of people attend daily job interviews carrying a pair of big and heavy suitcases.It sounds complicated and it is in fact. Going through the door, walking up the stairs or even greeting your interviewer with confidence while carrying this weight can become a disadvantage aforetime against other candidates whose weight is lighter.
You will probably think that the most reasonable thing to do is to leave those suitcases at home. However, this is not an option. Suitcases represent the mental and emotional luggage that we immigrants carry when they take part in selection processes far from home. Arriving in a country with a different economy, facing language issues or trying to understand the labour market you are entering can demand every immigrant to have a completely different strategy compared to a local when finding a new job.
I am frequently contacted by foreigners who, although having a marvelous professional experience and ambitioning to reestablish themselves into a new labour market, are constantly rejected due to numerous reasons. There are too many doubts about them and not so many trustworthy soruces that can explain them on which steps to take next. This contributes on making the weight heavier day by day and becomes an obstacle for the motivation that these candidates have on obtaining a relevant job to their experience.
This is why I have decided to list down some of the key factors that I, as an International Recruiter, consider as a must for the appropriate search of a job for a foreigner in Spain.
New life, new strategy
You need to avoid by any means arriving and thinking of using the same strategy to find a job as in your home country. Long time before flying away from your hometown, you must analyze your sector and its companies, the average salary, the name of the positions you are seeking for and many other aspects that could be important to find a job there. Understanding the socioeconomic scope that you will be living in, would help you to substantially quicken your search. In this link, you can find the last Annual Report on the Spanish Labour Market (in Spanish) created by the Spanish job portal ‘InfoJobs’ and the business school ESADE (2017).
Tell me which social network you are in and I’ll tell you who you are
During my job search back at Venezuela I noticed that either you registered in the national webpage for job searching or you had contacts to be able to get into a great company. This is why as soon as I landed in Spain, I was only using InfoJobs. Of course I got called, but it was mainly to work as a Promoter for a NGO or hostess for some event. These are jobs that I totally respect, however it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for at that moment.
It was really hard to understasnd that I had to strengthen a tool that I had long ago left behind, and what a potential it definitely had… Exactly, I am talking about LinkedIn. This social network is now a part of my daily routine, but at that time it was the door to new professional connections and to present myself in the labour market as well as I deepen my knowledge on the sector. This is the reason why I suggest you to follow these few steps:
- To begin with, you need to search for new contacts using the adequate filters as location, sector or company. Having a +500 contacts network in the country you are currently living and related to your working sector can help recruiters out when they are looking for ‘Open to new opportunities’ candidates. Keep in mind that the fewer connections you have, the more private your profile and your access to new opportunities will be. Here is a brief explanation on this (in Spanish).
- Keep your profile completely updated. I firmly recommend you to explicitly describe your main functions. Recruiters will search for keywords that could happen to be in your profile. You can either use a profile picture or not. However, if you decide to set it, you must keep in mind that it has to be a professional one.
- Activate the ‘sharing your career interests with recruiters’ in LinkedIn. Here’s a link to learn how to do that.
- Be always active in your business networks. You should always keep an eye on the messages that recruiters might be sending you, as well as remember to always answer them even if the job offer doesn’t fit you at all. Maybe this time isn’t a match, but there could be new opportunities in the future from the same recruiter. In the same line, do not stick to LinkedIn or InfoJobs. Take your time to explore different networks or job portals in order to find a new job opportunity.
To be, or not to be selective, that is the question
Should I apply no matter the position so the company can get to know me or should I wait for the one I am truly looking for? There are many newcomers who decide to apply to every single position, no matter if they fit in or not, since they see themselves continously rejected. Nevertheless, it is important to take into account that business networks allow recruiters to evaluate your applications to every vacancy in the company.
The best thing to do would be to stay tuned to job offers that perfectly fit your profile and to send a customized CV depending on the position requirements (my suggestion is to have at least three CVs in advance for every sector you are interested in). You should be using numerous search sources such as social networks, job web portals, recruitment agencies so you can boost your chances of getting the perfect job for you.
What should I do if I don’t have a visa?
This is the most usual question I am asked through emails. In this case there are a few available alternatives and my suggestion is to evaluate applying for a student visa by enrolling in a +1 year master or posgraduate studies. While you are studying, you can search for an internship or a part-time job that allows you to jump into the labour market and start networking with new professionals of your sector.
However, it is really important to highlight that many companies in Spain aren’t ready or authorized to bear the visa costs of immigrants. There are just a few cases when this happens and it is normally because the market is lacking profiles with the desired experiencie or knowledge.
Being proactive is the key
You have to always be proactive. It isn’t just about adding contacts and sit there waiting, but to write recruiters in LinkedIn actively to expose your experience, write other employees of your target companies and to have the courage of selling your personal brand through every network.
I, as a recruiter, am always looking for a determined professional experience, but I also search for profiles who tell me more about their results and not so much about tasks or functions. You need to try to emphasize your achievements from every single angle. This tends to spread confidence and proactivity to the recruiter at first sight.
We will always carry our pair of suitcases. We are a mix of longing and hope of finding a bright new future in another country. Nonetheless, following this piece of advice and preparing yourself thoroughly, you can make that weight go down and transform it into a job opportunity.
Our different point of view to handle the same problems can bring us a step further before any local candidate. Our diverse culture will enrich the companies of the future. Our fight for a better fate makes us candidates with a high level of lead and proactivity.
Once we finally understand that this pair of suitcases won’t hold us back and that our success potential lies in our hands, we will guarantee a bright professional future in our dreamland.