How to Get a Job in Medellin as an Expat

Since moving to Medellin three years ago, I have worked and also recruited employees to work with three different types of companies:

  1. Local Colombian company
  2. Foreign (US-based) company with a remote team and/or team in Colombia
  3. Freelancing for various companies from both Colombia and the United States

If you’re thinking of coming to Medellin but do not have a job yet, or if you are in Medellin and thinking of switching roles, there are a few different ways to get a job as an expat in Medellin. While I write these tips from my own experience (as an expat working in Medellin), they also can be useful for local Colombian job-seekers.

As a recruiter, and from my own job-seeking experience, I have had success in a few different ways in getting and giving offers for different types of companies hiring in Medellin. Here are my different tips for getting a job in Medellin:

networking groups in medellin

Don’t be shy

“Friends are worth more than money”. In any city in the world, your network is the best way to find a new job.

If you are new in Medellin, or if you’re not but don’t have a strong professional network, networking is very important. There are various meetups and online communities where you can go and connect with professionals.

Pro tip: Don’t go to networking events with the goal of getting a new job. Go to networking events with the goal of making meaningful, long-term connections. Take genuine interest in the other people, follow up, get coffee regular, build a strong network based on mutual interest.

Before I moved to Medellin, I personally direct-messaged about 85 members of Medellin Entrepreneurship Society. I didn’t ask for a job, I just asked for any advice they might have for a young professional in digital marketing to build her network locally. About 8 people out of 85 responded to me, and 2 had jobs for me.

In Medellin the expat and entrepreneurship community is very small and tight-knit. If you take genuine interest in people and build these meaningful connections with no ulterior motive, the job will come as a by-product.

jobs in medellin

Don’t stick to one channel

There are a ton of ways to find job listings in Medellin. In addition to all of the remote job boards that exist, here are the job channels that have helped me get offers in Medellin:

Expat and entrepreneur Facebook groups in Medellin are often hosts of job posts, especially for small expat businesses and growing startups.

CompuTrabajo Medellin has a lot of roles for local Colombian companies.

LinkedIn Jobs have roles with both large and small companies based locally.

AngelList is a great way to find jobs with both local and international startups.

And of course, the #TrabajoSiHay Medellin newsletter will send jobs to you.

Look at foreign companies

Don’t rule out foreign companies, both those with a presence in Medellin and those without. A lot of foreign companies in Medellin are looking for native English speakers and you can position yourself as an attractive candidate.

Don’t forget about your network back home

Companies hire remotely! Even if they don’t specifically have a “remote” job on their careers page. Leverage your existing professional network to see if you’re able to get a new job that allows you to work remotely.

networking in medellin

Try out a new role

Unable to find a similar role you had before, but have transferable skills? Take the opportunity to try out a new career path! If you have writing skills from your last role, take a stab a content writing roles. If you have teaching or literature experience, maybe you want to get your TOEFL certificate and start teaching English. Try to find your transferable skills and capitalize on the; you never know what’s out there!

 

Do you have experience working from Medellin? Share any tips you have for getting a job in Medellin as an expat in the comments below!

6 Interview Tips That Will Make You a More Hireable Candidate

Interviewing is a skill that takes practice to master. Here are some tips to make you a more hire-able candidate:

1. Know what you did at your last job.

This seems really basic and it is; but a lot of people don’t know how to describe what they did at their previous job. If you list off the job description for your last job, I promise you it won’t make an impression. Explain what you accomplished and why you did the job better than someone else would have in that same positionThe interviewer already knows what a project manager does, they want to know why you are a better project manager than the ten others they’ll interview that week. Bonus points if you use actual numbers and percentages.

2. Know why you want the job.

Again, very basic, and often forgotten. Even if the interviewer doesn’t come out directly and ask “why do you want to work with us?” the answer to this question should always come out through your answers to other questions. You should know what your goals are and show how they align with working in that specific role in that specific company.

If you don’t know why you want the job and why you want to work at that company, you’re not in the right interview.

3. Let the interviewer talk, and ask them to talk.

People like talking about themselves. On a first date, would you talk the entire time without asking your date anything about themselves? Ask good questions about the company, but more importantly, ask questions about the interviewer. What do they like about the company they work for? How did they end up in their current position? Interviews are conversations, if you dominate the entire thing, you won’t make for a very appealing candidate.

4. Dress to impress.

This is so basic and in my opinion one of the most important. An interview is your one chance to make a good impression. The very first impression you will make is how you look. Be well-groomed and well-dressed. Know the position you’re applying for and dress accordingly. If you show up at an interview for a position with a casual startup wearing a suit, it will be obvious you didn’t do your research.

5. Print out your materials.

I know, I know, who even prints things anymore? But if you show up with your resume, writing samples or other materials printed out, and you leave them with the interviewer after the meeting, those papers are going back to the interviewer’s desk. They will likely sit there and your name and qualifications will be visible while your emails and online portfolio will be read and lost.

6. Follow up. 

Always, always, always follow up. Send a quick “thank you” email to the interviewer later that day thanking them for their time. If you discussed a specific article or book, include a link to it in your email. Show the interviewer that you really want the role.

If they let you know that they decided to move forward with a different candidate, follow up in a month or two. Growing companies, especially startups, are always opening up new roles. If you feel like you left a good impression, they will be happy you popped back into their inbox for a different role. In hiring, timing is everything. Maybe you aren’t the best candidate for a specific role at a specific time, but two or three months later you might be perfect.

After all the stress and build-up, at the end of the day, an interview is just a conversation between two people. Be yourself, be relaxed, and remember that you’re interviewing them as a candidate for where you will spend 30% of your time just as much as they are interviewing you.

Guide: Make Your LinkedIn Profile Recruiter-Friendly

I use LinkedIn every single day as a recruiter to reach out to potential candidates and connect with different professionals. Recruiters look for specific things on your resume, and in order to make yourself visible, you need to optimize your profile.

Here are some very easy ways I often find people can improve their LinkedIn:

  1. Your profile should be an enhanced resume – Depending on your role, a typical resume should be kept to one page. LinkedIn gives you the space and platform to show more details and more experiences. Use it!
  2. Optimize your profile for your goals – if you want to get a job in a certain area or industry, make sure your profile is optimized for that role.
    • Use keywords – looking for a role in marketing for a specific industry? Make sure your profile uses keywords from typical job requirements for that role. Recruiters look for these keywords so this is very important!
    • Angle your profile to the job you want to get – want a role as a team leader? Highlight your managerial or leadership experience in your past roles.
  3. Show thought-leadership – write a LinkedIn post about a topic you’re passionate about to show off your writing skills and thought leadership (Here are some ideas to get you started: https://goo.gl/QJ6VyY)
  4. Use a professional photo – your LinkedIn photo should be a clean, professional photo of just you. This is your chance to put a face to your resume.
  5. Write an introduction that shows your personality – make a great first impression! What is something interesting about you that doesn’t come about in your resume or work experience?
  6. Include your email address – if you want people to contact you, include your email address under the “contact” info section of LinkedIn. Especially if you do not check your LinkedIn messages often.
  7. If you are looking for a remote job in for a US or European company, make sure your profile is in English!
  8. Let LinkedIn work for you! Looking to get a job? Recruiters on LinkedIn are more likely to reach out to you if you have your profile set as “Open to Opportunities”

Are these tips helpful? Do you have any specific questions about LinkedIn? Ask in the comments below! And if you like, connect with me on LinkedIn here: www.linkedin.com/in/elenicotsis

 

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