Australia truly is the lucky country. With its beautiful white sandy beaches, love of all sports and outdoor activities and the friendly down-to-earth nature of the average Aussie, it’s no wonder that many Aussie expats will return home to the land down under. Many of our Aussie expat clients and the wider community will often return to work in Australia, but one of the greatest challenges faced is losing touch with their network back in Australia and finding it difficult to not only find a job, but to grow their business once they’ve landed that ideal opportunity.
A recent survey conducted by The University of Sydney found that returning Australian expats take an average of 10 weeks to find employment. Is there a way to shorten this cycle?
In this article we interview LinkedIn expert herself, Linda Le, on the top tips for Aussie expats living in Singapore to maintain your networks back at home and ensure a seamless transition back to the land down under if – and when the time arises.
1. How can I connect with like-minded professionals online?
L: The beauty about LinkedIn is that it is the world’s largest online business network. Even better, is that it’s the platform where professionals free willingly update their work histories, what they’re working on and where they’re located etc. With this, LinkedIn builds an ideal platform for being able to search and connect with like-minded professionals. When connecting with professionals on LinkedIn you can use their ‘search’ function (for free) and find particular people by name or company, or search broad key words such as ‘cyber security Singapore’ and see who pops up. Once you have that, you have the ability to reach out and connect with them.
In saying that, it is ideal you state your intention for connecting, whether it’s to expand your network; meet like-minded professionals; or simply meet more Australian expats in the region – whatever ever it is, we need to be mindful that LinkedIn is not a platform for hard-selling. People simply don’t like that. Being expatriates, we’ll find that people are generally quite warm and open to being connected to on LinkedIn, especially if you are new in town as they’ve all been on the same boat. Just shoot a personal note when you send the connection request and most will likely accept.
2. How can I stay in touch with my ex-colleagues from back in Australia?
L: Social media enables us to keep in touch with people no matter where in the world they – or we may be. Whether your colleagues are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn, there are many ways you could reach out and keep those connections warm. Besides from finding them and connecting with them in the first place, a couple of my favourite things to do via LinkedIn is simply logging in and visiting the ‘notifications’ tab. This allows you to see what’s going on with your networks. If it is your ex-colleague’s birthday or work anniversary, or if they’ve changed jobs, make it a point to reach out to them with a personal note – and I don’t mean LinkedIn’s generic ‘thumbs up’ or ‘Happy Birthday!’ message. I mean taking a few seconds more to genuinely send them a message whilst also asking, ‘how is the job coming along?’ Or, ‘how are Jane and the kids?’ Or, ‘how’s your business going?’ – whatever the level of relationship you have with them.
Imagine this, if hundreds of people on LinkedIn are giving the quick ‘thumbs up’ your colleague would get bombarded and your efforts would go unnoticed. But since you are spending those extra moments to make it more personal, you’re actually keeping those relationships warm whilst being top-of-mind with your connections. One of my other favourite things to do on LinkedIn for keeping in touch with people is to send a ‘hey, I’m thinking of you’ type of message. Whether I’ve come across an article that they would find useful, or little things that I remember about them such as an idea we discussed, an event, or something their child might be interested in, I’d send it to them privately and it is a ‘hey, I’m thinking of you’ moment. These moments don’t take long to do, we can do it whilst we’re commuting, or waiting in line for something (which happens a lot in Singapore) – but it is in these moments that we’re stealing to continue to nurture the professional relationships we have with people.
Life in Singapore gets busy – very busy, but if we allow time to escape from us and if we’re not keeping in regular touch with our networks, we too risk becoming a distant memory. I recommend keeping a list of the top 40-50 contacts that are most beneficial to your career/business and make it a point to reach out and keep in regular touch.
3. How can I use LinkedIn to help me find a job when I’m returning home?
L: A lot of my clients contact me when they’re near – or have just been retrenched, when they want to go out in business on their own, or when they’re in a situation where they needed a job yesterday. It is widely reported that 75% of jobs are never advertised as they’re usually given to the ‘who-knows-who’. This is why it’s so important to continue to strengthen your professional networks and keep them warm. If your heart is set to return home and continue to work there, you need to make a conscious effort to maintain those professional relationships or start networking with industry recruiters and other people in the industry. When the time comes for you to repatriate it makes great logical sense to have those conversations with your contacts back in Australia at least six months in advance as opportunities may not be available immediately. Go through your LinkedIn connections list and pinpoint all the key people you need to talk to and just get to it. This is really easy if you’ve been nurturing those professional networks.
If you haven’t maintained your networks, you’re still in luck as fellow Australians are warm, friendly and helpful in nature. Get to LinkedIn, network, network and network whilst going through your list and finding key relationships you can revive and warm up again. You can also go through LinkedIn’s job search feature, apply for the jobs there whilst networking with people within the company you’re applying for. You can also check your connections and see if anyone is already working there – or knows someone who is who can put in a good word for you. They key is not leaving it to the last minute.
4. How can I grow my network in Singapore to build my business and improve my career prospects?
L: Same as you would in #1. Whilst LinkedIn is a fantastic platform, I’d also make a point to get offline and meet people face-to-face. Singapore has fantastic networks for expatriates with events you can attend, or communities you can join. Consider AustCham, ANZA, various Alumni associations and private Facebook communities. Meet people offline then continue to network with them online by adding them to your LinkedIn network whilst remembering to keep in touch, don’t just connect and disappear. One little trick is to have a really good LinkedIn profile as people are curious and will look you up. Would you rather them seeing a ‘barely-there’ profile with little information, or a great profile that tells people who you are, what you do, what value you provide and what opportunities you seek? If people know what you’re looking for, it’s so much easier for them to understand how they can help you. There is no such thing as a draft LinkedIn profile!
5. Why should I bother maintaining contact with my network back at home?
L: Nobody likes the friend, or the aunt, or uncle who only calls when they want something – but people love to give a helping hand to those whom we know, like and trust. Our business and our career follows us till the day we retire, and possibly beyond. It’s not just about the here and the now, or the churn and burn. Our networks and our connections are there for the long haul regardless of geography – why not put in the effort to ensure it’ll be a mutually beneficial one? Our networks are our net worth – we simply can’t do it alone.
I hope you find this article useful and have picked up some valuable tips from Linda about the power of LinkedIn and maintaining your networks back in Australia while you’re working abroad.
To your financial success!
Jarrad Brown is an Australian-trained and qualified Fee-Based Financial Planner with Australian Expatriate Group of Global Financial Consultants Pte Ltd providing specialist financial advice and portfolio management services to international and local professionals in Singapore. Jarrad Brown is an Authorised Representative of Global Financial Consultants Pte Ltd – No: 200305462G | MAS License No: FA100035-3
Australian Expatriate Group is licensed by Global Financial Consultants in Singapore, with a team of Australian-trained, experienced and qualified, allowing us to provide specialist advice to Australians living abroad.
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General Information Only: The information on this site is of a general nature only. It does not take into account your individual financial situation, objectives or needs. You should consider your own financial position and requirements before making a decision.
*Please note that Jarrad Brown is not a tax agent or accountant and none of the content outlined here should be taken as personal advice. You should consult your tax agent and financial adviser to review your current personal finances and financial goals to consider whether this strategy is appropriate for you.