A few days ago, I participated in a different kind of networking lunch. I shared a table with a group of female entrepreneurs who had created their own businesses and had specialized in different fields. One had her own marketing and events agency, another had started her own second-hand clothing recycling center, and another had created a delicious catering business...
Not only did I meet these Spanish entrepreneurs, I was also introduced to other European women that had opted to create their own businesses, as well. A Dutch woman was telling me that before she decided to create her own business, she had tried and tried for more than a year to find work in the Spanish work market. After various disappointments, she still didn't have any success. She explained to me that she finally realized that there were differences in the selection process in respect to the country and whether or not the employer liked you when he or she first met you.
So that this doesn't happen to you, I'm going to offer those of you who aren't familiar with the Spanish work market some tips and tricks so you can get into the market successfully.
1.- Practice your Spanish before you put yourself out there. This is fundamental when you go for an interview because the employer will see that you have the correct level of Spanish. It will then be more likely that you will be able to relate to the company's clientele.
2.- If you don't speak the language, your first priority should be to learn it- do an intensive Spanish course.
3.- Write your CV in Spanish and adapt it to the local culture. Careful! Literally translating your CV from your native language to English never passes the selective eyes of employers.
4.- If you have any work experience prior to your life in Spain, clearly define your professional objective. Think about whether or not you want to continue on the same path or if you'd be interested in exploring other sectors.
5.- Investigate the best places to search for work in Spain. Here I can give you a few clues: social networks (LinkedIn); press supplements; online portals; Chamber of Commerce; multinational businesses with a presence in your country; any contacts you might have that already live here...
6.- Read the job offers and analyze them. This trick will allow you to learn how to utilize local terminology, keywords, and expressions that we use in the work market in Spain. Afterward, you will be able to use some of these terms and phrases in your CV and in interviews.
7.- If you don't have any work experience prior to your arrival in Spain, start with positions that allow you to grow, to learn the Spanish business culture and to master the language.
8.- Prepare yourself well for interviews before you go. Think about the possible questions they might pose and prepare examples in your language that explain your professional career.
9.-Learn how to speak correctly in Spanish about your CV.
10.- Integrate yourself beforehand into Spanish groups as soon as possible. This will give you a broader idea of what we are like and a competitive advantage over other expats that are also job hunting.
Best of luck!
Marta Díaz Barrera
Managing Director of Impulsando y Entrenando tu Talento