Thoughts on getting a (great) job in Europe

A friend asked me to provide some advice for a family member of his, now living in Asia, who wants to find a job in Europe and relocate here.

I can’t speak for all of the countries – and I can’t speak for all of the jobs – but I can give a few pieces of advice.  This advice is:

  • Tips and tricks that have helped me enormously.
  • Tips and tricks that are not very well known inside of Europe.
  • Tips and tricks that are probably unknown outside of Europe.

Here goes!

Get your own a website – and brand yourself!

People having their own websites were all the rage back in the late 1990’s (when they first appeared on the scene) throughout the early 2000’s, pretty much until MySpace (now dead) then Facebook took hold.  But this does not matter: a personal website is the most important tool you have for advertising yourself and “branding” yourself today!

If you are reading this now, then you know exactly what I am talking about.

Some principles now follow.

Website Principle 1: Content does not matter

Content does not matter, look-and-feel does matter.   The advantages are all sublimin

Website Principle 2: Professionality matters

This means use a professional tool (WordPress is the best and the easiest, full stop). And using a professional hosting site (I like Ionos because the customer service is incredible and the self-management tools are excellent). And using a very attractive template (this one uses the Radiate template – still one of the most popular templates in the WordPress world).

Website Principle 3: It is not the obvious, it is the subliminal

The power of the website is not the content you show, not the creativity you show, but rather the “behind-the-scenes” and subliminal message you are sending to everyone, imperceptibly: you are professional, you work with a top quality, and you do unusual things (like a website) that other people do not normally do.

Good Personal experiences

Before I got a website, any time I applied for a job, usually there was a 30% chance I’d speak with HR for a first interview. After my website, almost every job application results in a quick HR interview. Why?  Have a look at my landing page and I hope the reason is clear: wow, this looks like an interesting and usual fellow, let’s have a quick chat with him.

Bad personal experiences

I’ve shared this advice about branding and a personal website site 2015, and sadly, nobody has acted on it.  And yet many of the same people who have not acted on the advice still come to me from time to time with a message like, “Ken, it is really hard to get an interview these days.” No wonder. Act on my advice and I can guarantee with the right branding and marketing, your chances will improve exponentially!  Because . . . it’s not about what you show, it’s is all about the subliminal messages you are sending.

Get on LinkedIn – and use it!

With the sole exception of Germany, where stubborn Germans are reluctant to leave XING, which only Germans use, the rest of the Western world uses LinkedIn. Here are some reasons it is so important:

LinkedIn Reason 1: Companies now hire by hunting

Increasingly, companies do not rely on job advertisements to hire: it’s too wide a net to cast, and the net brings in the wrong kind of fish. So particularly for the jobs at the upper level, senior recruiters use LinkedIn to find you and contact you personally.

LinkedIn Reason 2: A user-friendlier CV

Many companies still require you to submit a CV or a resumé when you apply. But even those that do will probably use your LinkedIn profile rather than your CV. The trick is: enough of the right keywords to allow the right kind of people to find you, but no so much writing that it is difficult to read.

Optimizing your LinkedIn profile

If you create a LinkedIn profile, I recommend reading some articles that discuss LinkedIn search optimization. For example, the line under your name has a higher priority in the search than the rest of your profile – so instead of “wasting valuable real estate” by repeating your company or job title, add in the keywords that you want people to find you for – and add in the words that strengthen your brand.