Get Lost in Business Culture (Without Actually Getting Lost)

Posted on Mar 29, 2016 | 0 comments

Get Lost in Business Culture (Without Actually Getting Lost)

As Susanne Taylor points out in her blog post “Why Getting Lost is Good for You,” it can be helpful to “get lost” in the culture of another country. Not to “be lost,” as Susanne points out, but to “get lost” by observing the nuances of the country and its culture.


Learning the business culture in your new host country is critical to making a strong first impression as well as demonstrating professional behavior to your peers, whether they are locals or expatriates. The nexus of culture and your job search is where you will ultimately achieve job search success. Almost everything you do in your job search will have some aspect of culture tied to it and that’s where your keen observation skills come into play. Everything from how to greet somebody in a professional setting to how you write your resume are intrinsically linked to the job search. Your ability to master the nuances of the culture will serve you well in your job search and throughout your career in the country. Below are five key business culture topics that you should observe and learn about before launching your job search.


Greetings and introductions

How do you greet others appropriately? How do you introduce yourself and introduce others?


Appropriate dress

What should you wear? What should you not wear? What is acceptable for women and men in the workplace—particularly as an expat, when expectations may be different than for locals?


Communication—both verbal and nonverbal

What is appropriate when speaking with others? What do your body language and gestures say about you?



What can you expect with regard to starting and ending appointments on time?


Gender/age issues in the workplace and other workplace norms

How are women viewed and treated in the workplace? How does a society view young worker versus older workers?


Developing your business cultural knowledge in these five key areas will help you project a professional image as well as help with your self-confidence. Be sure to ask yourself the questions associated with these five key areas often during your job search, as there may be nuances associated with different organizations or different regions of the country. Cultural nuances are myriad and complex, so do not rely solely on one source; rather, develop your ability to observe and mirror others’ behavior in professional settings.


We’d like to hear from you!

What aspects of business etiquette have you noticed in your host country that are different from your home country? What tips do you have for expat job seekers? Leave your comments here.



Passport Career provides more detailed career information and extensive resources about networking, finding a job, internship, alternative career opportunities as well as information on writing CVs, cover letters and interviews. If your organization, embassy, university/college, library, or other institution would like access to our country portfolios (15,000+ pages of expert content for 80+ countries and 250+ cities) to share with your students, employees, spouses/partners, and others managing a national or international career transition, please contact us (or email regarding a free, live, online demo and details on how to obtain a license to access Passport Career.


Susan Musich, Executive Director and Founder
Edited by: Anna Sparks, Expert Global Career Consultant

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