Four years ago (Today), I migrated to the USA to embark on a brand new chapter of my life. Excited about my visions of success, the lure of new opportunities and the well wishes of friends and family, I flew out bravely. But, like any big life event or major change, the journey has been filled with challenges and opportunities that I had to navigate to transition successfully. I quickly learnt that, even the best laid plans go awry and that research never fully prepares you for what is to come. Now, three jobs later, after many second interviews, even more informational interviews, some serious networking efforts, CPLP certification, volunteering, starting a Blog, the ground has finally settled under me and I am moving forward steadily. So, as I reflect on my own experience and progress to date, here a few insights that might help you.
- Plan, Plan, Plan: If you fail to plan, prepare to fail. Having a clear vision or set goals about what you want to and achieve will help to you stay focused regardless of what is happening around you. Share your goals often and openly, as this will help the people you meet figure out how they might best help you.
- Accept that setbacks and detours are normal: If you are super lucky, you might land a job in your field of choice before you even make the move. If you didn’t, your job hunt will likely start shortly thereafter and your first job might not be what you envisioned. It might be a job that gets you employed and earning, but, it may not be a good fit for your skills and background. That just means you have to keep looking.
- Be positive and persistent: Chances are, you are going to have some disappointments particularly with the job search process. Acknowledge them, but do not dwell on them. Your failure to get that job you wanted is not necessarily an indictment on your own value, skills and experiences. Instead, treat every interview as a learning experience, assess your performance after and use it to prepare for your next opportunity.
- Ask for and find help: Your success is really up to you. Start by identifying the organizations you would like to work with and try to make connections with people who are doing the kinds of work that you would like to do. Professional networks such as Linked In and/or your local professional organizations are great for establishing new relationships.
- Practice a growth mindset: Your ability and willingness to quickly learn, unlearn and relearn and will be important as you acquire the new skills required to be successful and adapt to the new culture or your environment. Be open to feedback and trying new ways of doing things.
- Believe in yourself and value your experiences: Though you might be in a new setting, all your experiences are valid. Your challenge is to find new ways of thinking about your skills and prior experiences and how to leverage them. Being able to determine your transferable skills, articulate and demonstrate them, will help you to reinvent yourself and position you for success.
- Surround yourself with good people: Like any good fighter knows, the roar of the crowd might be nice to hear but it doesn’t win the fight. When life knocks you down, all you really need are a few good supporters in your corner helping you get up to resume the fight and cheering you on.
Until next time, Remember, It’s a Learning Life!