Communicating With Prospective Employers
Just like in North America, personal communication is a key factor in landing a expat job in Europe. You should be using phone calls, email, VoIP, Skype, and chat programs; whichever people wish to use to give you some of their valuable time.
Here are some key factors to keep in mind when contacting potential employers:
- The biggest thing to keep in mind when communicating with prospective employers in Europe is that English may not be their first language. Be ready for difficult accents and slow speech.
- If your knowledge of the local language is at a high enough level, offer to be interviewed in that language rather than English. If your grasp of the language is still minimal, introduce yourself in the language and then ask if it is possible to continue using English. Most organizations are going to expect you to have at least some grasp of their local language.
- Be aware of different cultures and the ways to act appropriately for that culture while you are communicating. Speaking with a potential German employer, you will probably not start with any small talk, where as with a French employer it is more polite to talk briefly about personal lives.
- Be prepared to explain why the company should hire you instead of an EU citizen. They will need to answer that question to government officials in order to obtain your work visa.
Whether you are dealing with prospective employers in North America or in Europe, some of the same rules still apply:
- Courtesy and politeness are essential. Rudeness is a sure way to have someone lose interest in the rest of your qualifications.
- Do your homework before contacting the company. Know about the company itself, the position you would like to get, and if possible, a little bit about the person you will actually be speaking with.
- Be patient and expect that you may have to call a few times before you actually reach the person you wish to speak with.