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Ease your way back into the workforce after living abroad

Worrying about how you’ll return to the workforce after travel overseas? These steps can make your re-entry a success.

If you’ve taken a break from your industry to travel abroad, you might have a few fears about returning to the workforce at home. Even if you worked abroad in your industry, you may not be guaranteed position when you return. Feeling out of place and disconnected is understandable. However, with a bit of mitigation, you can get back in the employment saddle while taking advantage of the skills you learned abroad.

Think outside the resume

The time you’ve spent as an expat is not time wasted. Spending time outside of your own country provides an intimate, firsthand look into how other people live, work and spend their money.

To a business looking to break into a foreign market, there’s nothing more valuable than someone who has actively lived among potential customers and participated in the market.

Highlight these experiences on your resume, and research companies looking to extend their reach into the country in which you’ve spent time. Don’t discount knowing soft skills — like knowing the local language or even dialects and slang. They only add to your ability to become an invaluable asset.

Promote your transferable skills

Think about any hard skills you’ve gained from your experience abroad. Many of these useful skills can be transferred to other areas of employment — like sales experience, project management and bookkeeping.

These skills could include your expertise at social media. You no doubt used Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to keep your loved ones and business associates apprised of your travels. Now’s the time to use these platforms to post content related to what you learned and how you can apply it to the fields you’re interested in.

Give your skills a boost

If you know how long you’ll be out of work, an ideal way to set yourself up for success on your return is to fill any gap in your resume with training to upgrade your skills. The key to getting back to the grind is making your travel time count by honing relevant expertise that you can transfer into the workforce.

Consider volunteering at a nonprofit or other charitable organization, even if it’s one only tangentially related to your field. You’ll have the opportunity to strengthen your leadership, organization and creativity abilities — as well as show employers that you’re serious about staying employable.
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Consider the help of a specialist

An industry specialist can not only assess your skills, but also give you renewed confidence as you hunt for a job. These experts provide an objective appraisal of your resume and abilities and advice on any changes in technology your field has faced and what you can do to sharpen your skills. Local experts may even be able to help you coordinate with temporary jobs and training, allowing you to remain competitive in the economy.

Look to nontraditional employers

Finding work after a gap in employment can be challenging. But startups and early-stage tech companies frequently hire — and even give priority to — candidates with nontraditional backgrounds. While typically smaller, these cutting-edge companies value unconventional skills that show your agility in the market.

Consider the apps and services you use frequently, and see if they have any open positions available. Your familiarity with the company could give you a huge advantage over the competition.

Clean your online presence

One of the most effective ways to re-enter the workforce after time abroad is by maintaining an exciting and current online presence. This means that you must work to keep your LinkedIn profile updated and professional, as well as other social media profiles. Assume that employers will look you up, and keep personal profiles open to only friends and family members.

Send money back home to await your arrival

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