Today an expatriate assignment is no longer a single undertaking. Spouses or partners oftentimes pursue a career of their own and wish to secure their next career steps as well. Companies that send out their personnel abroad increasingly develop support mechanisms for expat partners in order to help them find suitable jobs.
Investing in the partner pays-off
There are several reasons for a company to invest in the expat partner. An unhappy partner is a liability to the company because he or she could impact the performance of the expat and it may lead them to return home prematurely. Any expatriate assignment is teamwork and fails if one of the team members is not able or willing to contribute.
Securing a partner‘s job adds to the overall success of the expatriation. In cases where expatriate contracts are being traded for local contracts, having two incomes may even lead to more beneficial compensation & benefits schemes for the company. In other words, the returns on investing in partner career support are quite high.
Partner Career challenges
Finding a job in a foreign market is quite challenging anywhere due to different qualifications, language capabilities and cultural differences. It is not just about meeting the technical job requirements but also about the ability to connect with local colleagues and clients.
Language skills are key. In The Netherlands, English is increasingly used as a working language in the bigger Dutch multinationals. Still, in many companies some command of the Dutch language is required or at least welcomed. Not being able to communicate in the local language means you will miss out on the organisational and team dynamics at play.
How to present oneself to a local employer or HR professional is embedded in the local business culture and working environment. Many Dutch people looking for jobs in for example Germany or the US experience hiccups in tailoring their CV and presentation. In Germany you need to pay attention to a highly detailed and thorough presentation about your educational background and work experience, whereas a Dutch person prefers an overview first and not too much detail. However, in the US the famous elevator pitch is called for whereby you enthusiastically share your accomplishments and benefits to the potential employer. For a Dutch person this comes across as boasting and unreal. But sticking to a Dutch presentation in the US will not make people tick…
Vice versa, incoming expats in The Netherlands do not have clear ideas about where to look, what is expected from them and how they can successfully apply for local jobs.
Partner Career Support
For any successful job seeker abroad, it is crucial to understand what is needed in the host country and to adjust your professional presentation accordingly. Many companies provide relocation support packages to their expats, including cultural training and coaching. Increasingly, partner career coaching is included in the package. Partner career coaching saves time and frustrations in seeking a suitable job.
How one has to present oneself of course also depends on the specific position and industry one is aiming for. Job applications and interviews will be more successful if one has an understanding of which aspects are valued most in the local market and company. A job market specialist could help to further tailor your CV, define the next steps on the local market and increase opportunities for a successful outcome.