Blog 3: Networking hurdles: starting a career in a foreign land

Some of us dream of living in a specific country or working in a specific and unique industry in a foreign land. But there are obstacles on that road that seem to high.
You’ve learned the language and bought your plane ticket and have your apartment rented, but is that enough?

Before you even think about moving, one of the best things you can do is learn about the culture and not just through romanticized T.V. shows. Knowing how the society you want to join works is one of the biggest steps you can take towards a successful networking approach. Knowing what is rude and what is polite can help you greatly in connecting with the industry professionals that you want to work with one day. Yes, there is often leeway given to foreigners but that generally won’t serve you well. Learning the pleasantries of polite society in that country will be just as useful as learning the language.

Okay, so now you know what to say and how to say it, but who do you say it to? well first step is to figure out the structure of the industry you want to join and where your position and skills fit you into it. Once you have have figured out where you’d fit and who would be responsible for your hiring, then start researching the people who would actually hold that position at companies you want to work at and even ones you don’t want to work at but are in the same field. Sometimes you may need to hold a position elsewhere to build up your portfolio before you can get your dream job.
Once you know who you need to talk to, start sending out those cold call emails and phone calls. Look for that industry’s equivalent to LinkedIn and start messaging people on there.
When the Pandemic ends, start looking for workshops and conferences you can attend related to your industry and try approaching people there as well as over professional learning events for your industry. If you are worried about your ability to communicate at an industry event, then don’t be shy to bring a friend who’s more fluent then you or use your phone to help you communicate. It may feel embarrassing but it could help show that you are trying your hardest despite the new environment and language.

I personally aim to join the south Korean entertainment Industry as a social media manager.
I am currently using several language learning kits to begin learning the language and have taken advantage of platforms like Twitter to help me befriend people from South Korea to help me practice the language and learn and familiarize myself with South Korean social customs and nuances first hand. I repay these new online friends by helping them with English and Canadian social customs.
I have Identified several small entertainment agencies that value self start-ups and are in need of social media managers as well as a few firms that specialize in providing social media management and marketing services to other companies in South Korea. I plan to start sending cold call emails to them in about 1-2 months time so that I can hopefully serve my college co-op term with one of the companies as a way for them to test out my abilities and fit with their company.
The Idea being that If the co-op term goes well, then the company may sponsor me to come to South Korea to work full time and help me acquire a valid work visa and find an apartment.
I can still make it there even if I am not sponsored but I can save a lot of hassle If a go for the long haul plan.
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So, are you someone who wants to work in a different country?
If so, what country and Industry are you looking at?
Has this post helped inspire you in anyway on how to approach making your dream a reality?

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