Why limit yourself when the world is your oyster? Stop dreaming and start working in cities like Paris or attend conferences in London. Network internationally to expand your horizons professionally to opportunities way beyond your imagination.
While local networks bring a lot of immediate clientele and opportunities, international networks offer a whole lot more. Here are a handful of benefits of international networking:
- Updates on global industry trends
- Share knowledge with developing countries
- Understand foreign regulations i.e. shipping, sourcing materials, license, etc.
- Expand to new audiences
- Increases in sponsorship/recruiting opportunities
- Global mentorship
Target specific areas
The world is a huge place and it can get overwhelming if you do not narrow down your search. Start by listing countries that are experts in your industry, need help developing, or have companies you are interested in. Each location should have an intentional business or professional reason. If it is just an ideal vacation spot, then you may be more invested in pleasure than business. We recommend starting with one country and adding more after you are comfortable with the process.
Research work culture
Every country has a different mentality about workplace culture and expectations. Do a little research on the average day of a working professional in that country. Find out how many hours they work, what benefits to expect, what companies look for in potential hires, what kind of businesses they sponsor, etc. The more you understand, the easier it will be to connect with them.
The basics of networking still apply when looking internationally. Research companies that are leading the industry, have projects you’re interested in or have a mission that aligns with your values. These organizations will help you narrow your list and make for efficient and effective networking.
Attend International Events
Conferences, networking events, workshops, webinars, and more are all opportunities that other countries have as well. Social media and professional platforms, like LinkedIn, are good places to find events. Then, talk to your managers about attending, or save up to travel for your business. Even if it is once a year, making the effort to meet people globally will help your network in the long run.
The key to networking is to follow up after the event. Life happens and it is easy to forget who you met when you’re meeting a lot of strangers in a short amount of time. Take notes during the event and then complete our guide for the best follow-up strategy.
Remember Time Zones
As you continue to reach out and form connections, you need to be aware of different time zones. It might be the morning for you, but it could be the middle of the night for them. Try scheduling emails to optimize your time while staying mindful of others.
For more networking opportunities, check out the IAW’s upcoming event schedule or join our global community of professional women. Whether virtual or in person, we foster a collaborative environment where women can show up as their authentic selves to form meaningful, impactful relationships. Even if you’re not a fan of networking, we will guide you through the process and connect you with incredible women who will support, encourage, and inspire you.