Let's assume you have the necessary skills to open the doors to employers for the international job you want. Your next step is to organize an effective job search. Organization, however, does not mean a detailed plan, blueprint, or road map for taking action. If you strictly adhere to such a plan, you will most likely be disappointed with the outcomes.
Instead, your job search should approximate the art of sailingyou know where you want to go and the general direction for getting there. But the specific path, as well as the time of reaching your destination, will be determined by your environment, situation, and skills. Like the sailor dependent upon his or her sailing skills and environmental conditions, you tack back and forth, progressing within what is considered to be an acceptable time period for successful completion of the task.
While we recommend planning your job search, we hope you will avoid the excesses of too much planning. The plan should not become the endit should be a flexible means for achieving your stated job and career goals. Planning makes sense, because it requires you to set goals and develop strategies for achieving the goals. However, too much planning can blind you to unexpected occurrences and opportunities, or that wonderful experience called serendipity.
We outline on page 64 a hypothetical plan for conducting an effective job search. This plan incorporates seven distinct but interrelated job search activities over a six month period. If you phase in the first four job search steps during the initial three to four weeks, and continue the final four steps in subsequent weeks and months, you should begin receiving job offers within two to three months after initiating your job search.
Interviews and job offers can come at any timeoften unexpectedlyduring your job search. An average time is three months, but it can occur within a week or take as long as five months. During the recession of 1991-1992, international job seekers reported taking a longer time to complete their job searches than in the previous two-year period. Recessions can easily add two to three months to a job search. Indeed, 1993 and 1994 may be such a period as more and more countries experience recessions. If you plan, prepare, and persist at the job search, the pay-off will be interviews and offers.
While three months may seem a long time, especially if you need to work immediately, you can shorten your job search time by increasing the frequency of each job search activity. If you are job hunting on a full-time basis, you may be able to cut your job search time in half. But don't expect to get a professional level job quickly. It requires time, hard work, and persistence.
This hypothetical time frame is generally applicable to most domestic jobs. The time frame for international jobs, however, may be longer given the logistics of recruiting and hiring. In some cases, the selection process will take a long time because the organization will need to narrow down a large number of candidates in order to interview only a few in the field location abroad.
Other jobs may require length security clearances. And in still other cases the time between when a vacancy is announced and filled may be very short, because an organization relies heavily on the informal word-of-mouth networking process for recruiting candidates.