How to Land Expatriate Contracts

I get asked this question a lot:

“Out of curiosity, how did you end up being the guy on your team who got out to the far flung satellites?”

Then I realized that in every case the process was more or less the same.

I wasn’t picked. I engineered all my expatriate contracts.

I was already working in an international organization with many branches around the world.

So that gave me a launchpad to apply the following formula:

  1. Find a product that is being developed in the target country but within my organization.
  2. Dissect that product inside out and find everything that is wrong with it from a usability perspective.
  3. Find customers that are complaining about it. Get their complaints. Get their wish list.
  4. Write a nice thick slide deck presentation with all your findings. Use the following format:
    • State problem -> Suggest a solution
    • State usability issue -> Suggest a better way
    • State customer complaint -> Say how they wished it worked
    • Send the presentation to every stake holder in the target country (as an initiative).
  5. After they read it they will realize that they really need you and will either try to recruit you directly or offer you a contract.

I found it was a much harder sell for my home organization to hook me up with an expatriate contract than for the host country to offer me something using the process I just outlined.

To be honest I never thought of it as step-wise process until now. I realized that I followed those exact steps in each case.

Good Luck!

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