With visitors to Krakow regularly falling in love with both the place and its inhabitants, there is inevitably a steady stream of foreigners taking the plunge and relocating to the city. Swiftly on the heels of this decision, comes the sudden realisation that it’s time to sort out new digs, a new language, and, most importantly – a new job. The Krakow Post has spoken extensively to employers and employees in the city to find out their top tips for landing that ideal job in Krakow.
Don’t just email your CV and cross your fingers
How often have employees in Krakow received the email (with beautifully crafted CV attached) from the job-seeker who is waiting in the UK for the perfect employment opportunity before relocating to Krakow? If you’re serious, get on the plane / train and get to the city and make yourself available for interview. It shows you are totally committed to the move. if an employer is interested in your CV, chances are he or she will want to see you immediately, not when the next cheap flight on Ryanair coincides with Bank Holiday time off from your current employment.
It’s competitive out here
That First Class Degree in Art History may have made you all the rage at Bristol, but it’s not going to cut much ice in Poland. Just remember that the local Jagiellonian University is not only much older (and almost certainly much more prestigious) than your own Alma Mater, but is producing a steady stream of students who have studied longer and are probably better qualified than you. And they speak Polish. Basically – you are entering one tough employment market. Be modest about your chances, especially at the beginning.
Be realistic about salary
Do your research about salary range before applying. That 50K pound job in marketing you’re leaving behind – well let’s just say you’re not going to walk into a 20,000 zloty per month equivalent. Typical local salaries can range from 2000 PLN per month (that’s about 400 pounds) to around 5000 PLN per month (about 1000 pounds). Expect to be offered something in the same range for non-specialist work.
Learn the language
It’s tough, and you will almost certainly never be fluent, but at least make a real effort, even before you get to Poland. Simple greetings, thank yous and so on go a long way. You’ll be working with Polish co-workers. You need to know how to ask if they’d like a coffee – or a beer. That’s why you’re here after all, surely? Showing that you have started learning the language prior to arrival will also convince potential employees that you plan to be here for the longer term.
Take several part-time jobs
Making ends meet at first may be hard. Don’t hold out for the perfect job, but take what you can. Perhaps some translation work, teaching English, even working online from home. One thing will lead to another, and the job you really want and deserve will eventually appear.
It’s the one big advantage you have – use it! If you can, take a TEFL course in advance. This will give you an immediate advantage (and better salary) than others, though even without the qualification, there are a lot of language schools needing native English speakers. It may not be your job for ever, but it’s often the simplest start you can get.
Hang out with locals rather than expats
It’s tempting to stick to the Irish bars, watch the Premiership on Sky and generally live the life of the expat – but this is going to limit your potential contacts, and your chances for finding decent employment. As best you can, get involved in the community. Krakow has plenty of interest groups, from web start-up communities to sports associations. Join as many as you can and network – you may be surprised how often jobs come via word of mouth.
Use the internet
Hurrah – finally, an excuse to spend more time on Facebook! Check out Krakow-based businesses online – many of them flag up job opportunities via their Facebook pages. Subscribe to relevant businesses’ pages and keep abreast of employment vacancies. Perhaps a multinational is moving to the city and seeking native English speakers? You’ll find that information somewhere online – with a bit of searching. The flip side is to make sure your own Facebook page presents you in a good light. Employers regularly check these out before hiring. And don’t forget to also check out job sites specific to Poland such as praca.pl or infopraca.pl