THE initial thrill of working overseas can be overshadowed by the changes that you will face. Where am I going to live? What if I don't fit in?
Leaving the life you know behind is not easy. While it is exciting, you have to prepare for your new life ahead. Here are some tips on how you can ease into your new role and environment and embrace this promising career opportunity.
Do your homework
Whether you are relocating with your company or going overseas to look for a job, there is much to be done. Whatever your circumstance, the key is to do your research thoroughly.
If you are moving with your organisation, find out what you are entitled to and how your company will assist you in making the transition. It is imperative that you understand what will be included in your benefits package.
Read the fine print on your company's policies on relocation and the implications if you find that the move is not for you after you have arrived. Relocation terms may vary from six months to two years. Do not be afraid to negotiate the length of stay that you are expected to commit to.
Your relocation expenses should be covered for you and your immediate family, but take into consideration of the other expenses involved.
These will include accommodation while you are house-hunting, car rental, vaccinations, new identification papers, visa application and the processing fees that accompany them.
Industry experts believe that a relocation package should include a 15 per cent salary increase. This increase, however, should correlate to the cost of living in your new locale. Do your research and ask around for more information.
A smooth transition
Increasingly, people are declining relocation overseas for a variety of reasons, such as uprooting their partners and children and moving them away from friends and family.
Organisations are now in a position where they have to cast the net wider and offer relocation services for the spouses of their potential employees and even assisting them with their job hunt by covering recruitment agent costs.
Organisations are also utilising experts for a wide range of services, including assistance in buying or renting accommodation, managing utility connection, neighbourhood orientation, introduction to other expatriates and counselling. Cross-cultural briefings are a vital part of this programme.
Social etiquette varies across cultures. This can be something as subtle as the way you present a business card or staying out late with the boss during a karaoke session. Quiz your friends and family about their experiences or knowledge they have of your new home country.
A strong on-boarding programme needs to be set in place. This should contribute to your sense of belonging by becoming a fully engaged and productive member of the organisation.
A successful on-board programme will help you adjust more quickly to your new role.
Prepare for your new role. Pick up the phone and call your prospective employer. Do not be afraid to enquire about the culture of the office, goals for the company or recent changes. This also shows your initiative and motivation.
Once you have taken up your position, identify your knowledge gaps and figure out how to fill them.Determine who your strongest contacts will be and who you can rely on and what roles others play in the organisation. You can start by picking someone whom you trust to help you.
A new life
If you are venturing to a new city or halfway across the world to look for work, your priorities will change.
The job hunt will be on the top of the list. Contact local recruitment agents who can assist with looking for work overseas.
Never underestimate the value of networking. Friends or family members may know someone overseas. Tell everyone where you are moving to and be open to spreading the word that you are looking for work.
Update your resumé and brush up on your interview techniques, bearing in mind that other countries have dissimilar approaches.
Get more information about the city or country you are moving to, including affiliates with your social recreational clubs, local industry associations, even popular restaurants and tourist destinations on the Internet.
Other important areas to consider include environmental issues, property and prices, economic climate and political stability. This will prevent any surprises.
Remind yourself what you hope to gain from this move and set goals. Networking, preparation and being driven to make it work will contribute to your success.