Seven tips for finding a job in Spain


If you've been bitten by the Spanish bug during a study abroad experience, vacation, internship or even just hearing about life here, you're not alone. Many foreigners decide to try their hand at finding a job in the land of Don Quijote.

If you think God might be leading you that way, here are a few tips to keep in mind during your search:

1. Be patient. If you're starting the job search from scratch, keep in mind that unemployment in Spain is at nearly 20 percent. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there - prayerfully - but remember that God may allow you to experience a waiting period similar to what Spanish people are facing. Consider it one way that God may have you relate better to many people in Spain.

2. Do your homework on both sides of the ocean. Who in your network in your home country may have contacts or know of job opportunities in Spain? Who in Spain might you already know? What multinational corporations or organizations have a presence in Spain and in your home country? You don't have to start from zero after you get to Spain. You never know when a connection you already have may result in a future job opportunity.

3. Use your English. There is a huge need for native or near-native English speakers in all kinds of sectors in Spain. Familiarize yourself with what the particular English language needs could be in your field of expertise. This does NOT mean you can skimp on learning Spanish, however; if you have a command of the Spanish language as well, that should up your value in the job market.

4. Don't be afraid to have a little "cara." In Spanish, "tener cara" means to have nerve, and when looking for a job, it's OK to be persistent. DO NOT be rude, but in Spain, you might as well give some things a shot that you might not try in your home country. One example is showing up in person to deliver your CV rather than just sending an e-mail. You never know when that brief face time can result in a contact or even a potential informational interview. Be gracious, grateful and Christ-like in your encounters and see what happens.

5. Manage your expectations regarding your standard of living. The Spanish economy is struggling, and salaries are notoriously low in comparison to the rest of Europe, which can be a real challenge if you wind up living in cities like Madrid or Barcelona. If you're from the United States, for example, don't expect to earn what you did back home, unless you're getting sent overseas by your existing employer. However, you and your family can weather any lifestyle change with a little foresight, creativity and prayer.

6. Work your connections. I touched on this earlier, but the concept of having an "enchufe" (a contact) really does make a difference in such a relationship-focused society. It doesn't mean that you will or should get a job dishonestly or without being qualified, of course, but knowing people goes a long way here.

7. Pray. Then pray some more. From start to finish and everywhere in between, saturate your job search with prayer, whether you're walking into a potential office, uploading resumés to an employment site, networking at a conference or talking to friends about possibilities. God will lead and guide you exactly where you need to go - even if that means outside of Spain for the time being. Trust Him with the results of your adventure and pray that you'll be attentive to His leading.

If you have an entrepreneurial mindset, you should check what this group (TropicalMBA and Dynamite Circle) is doing in Spain, specifically in Barcelona.

This link takes you to a podcast session they did on the following topics: http://www.tropicalmba.com/spain/
The basic layout of Barcelona and how it works.
The differences between Madrid and Barcelona.
How difficult it really is to live in Spain when you don’t speak Spanish.
How the unemployment rate in Spain affects day to day life.
What it really costs to live in Barcelona.
How to tackle the VISA situation if you plan on staying long term.

For more information about this network of entrepreneur world travelers see this link: http://www.tropicalmba.com/about/

Themes they discuss often on their show are:

Old-school business know-how
The artisanal approach to entrepreneurship
The permanent travel lifestyle
Books
Heuristics for generating business ideas
Bootstrapping (vs. “startups”)
Post-corporate life
Community building and events
The globalization of sub $10,000,000 businesses
Apprenticeship and mentoring
Team building, culture, and management