#042: Tips&Tricks Anestis Dougkas: how to best prepare for an international career


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Anestis DougkasAnestis Dougkas returns for a tips & tricks-themed podcast on how you can prepare for an international career and become part of the global workforce. In episode #32 you can listen to his story on how his lifelong passion for chemistry has paved the way for his current position as a researcher in nutrition, health and eating behaviour in France.

Dr Anestis Dougkas is the researcher that take on the daily challenges in order to create a healthier world by making nutrition accessible. Currently, he is a Researcher in nutrition, health and eating behaviour at the Centre for Food and Hospitality Research at Institut Paul Bocuse, Lyon, France. He graduated from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece with a four-year B.Sc. degree in chemistry with specialization in biochemistry and food chemistry. He then continued his studies and received a M.Sc. in food science and nutrition and a Ph.D. in nutrition, within the Nutritional Research Group at University of Reading, UK. His Ph.D. work focused on the associations between consumption of dairy products and the risk of obesity. Specifically, he undertook epidemiological research and human dietary intervention trials, which investigated the effect of dairy on appetite regulation. In 2011, he got a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at Food for Health Science Centre, Lund University, Sweden.

My three tips: 1. Stay flexible. 2. Be smart about international assignments. 3. Network, network, network!

– Dr Anestis Dougkas, Researcher at Institut Paul Bocuse, Lyon, France

Transcript

Hi this is Tina Persson the Founder of the podcast PhD Career Stories. Today I’m very very glad to have Anestis Dougkas back in his tips and trick podcast if you want to listen to his previous podcast number 32 you can there listen to his story.

Anestis is today a researcher in nutrition, health and eating behaviour at the institute of Paul Bocuse, Lyon in France. He performed his master and his PhD in United Kingdom and his postdoc in Sweden at Lund University. He is Born in Greece. So Anestis is a global career person. He is multicultural, speak several languages and has a very flexible mindset. I had the pleasure to meet him when I was coaching him in Sweden. So are you considering to perform a postdoc but still don’t want to perform an academic career, what to think about, and how can you be strategic when it comes to chose your postdoc that is among other things that Anestis will share in this podcast. So thank you for following us at PhD career stories and all the best here now from Tina  and good luck having Anestis podcast and don’t forget to follow us on phdcareerstories.com, at our facebook page, Instagram and twitter!

All the best from Tina here.
Bye

Hello to everyone! I’m Anestis Dougkas I will try to share my experience and some tips for international career.

In the introduction of the topic I would like to say that given the increasingly competitive in the global marketplace even if you’re not considering working abroad having a more international profile can help you in your job search.

By differentiating yourself, by being more global you are more likely to stand out from the other candidates. The global presentation will strengthen your application for many types of position and in fact more and more companies are doing business internationally, global things become more common. Many employers are now considering the ability to work across cultures as a highly desired if not required skill set.

Presenting as a more global citizen will help you attract jobs opportunity wherever you are in the world.

So if you want and you can now be a part of the global workforce and set your skills worldwide there are a few tips based on my experiences:

  • Firstly you have to stay flexible. There is a sector highly competitive with far fewer jobs than applicants. So it’s really key to bear in mind that you may have to make a few sideways career moves to get your ideal job. Sometime this may mean taking a role abroad even if the location or the money wouldn’t be your first choice this can provide you with great experience though that will make your application looks more attractive when you apply for future roles.
  • Secondly you should be smart about International assignments. It is important of course to look at the full picture when considering an international assignment doing so is the only way you will be able to make an educated decision.
    You should have longer than planned: why are you taking the job, what are the reasons behind. Is it only because of better of money or better location and city or experiences and skills that you will gain. You don’t have to have it perfectly mapped out but it’s a great way to show that your moves are building on each other, so you will have a better chance choosing a position that will grow your expertise.One example for instance it was for me when I finished my PhD in the UK, then when I was looking for a postdoc. I was looking at least for a postdoc that wouldn’t be totally fundamental so when the opportunity arrives to do my postdoc in Sweden,  I decided to leave the UK and go to Sweden because that postdoc will provide me with a greater insight into the industry needs because it was the postdoc with more applied science in nutrition and it was in collaboration with seven industry partners so I knew that I wanted to do something more applied and I knew that I wanted to become a little bit closer to the industry sector and since I just finished my PhD I thought that this postdoc will give me a smoother transition from academia to industry.
  • The third tips, we hear it a lot: is network, network! Meeting new people in a different country can be challenging but having a good network of contacts will stand you in a good position. Make the effort to meet as many different people as you can. Attend different events like conferences, exhibitions, fairs and networking parties to give yourself a comprehensive sets of contacts.

Finally, you can internationalized your CV by sharing your international experiences and that includes of course previous and current work experiences overseas. It can be short stays, it could be erasmus opportunities, it could be volunteering work overseas, or even international traveling. Just show that you have the ability and the curiosity to explore new countries, new people and learn from that. Employers hiring for jobs overseas will seek out people with qualities and skills necessary to successfully work in other cultures. Example of this includes as I said cross culture and communication skills, language skills, being flexible, adaptable and resilient as well as being comfortable in multicultural environments.

Why does tips were important for me, I would say that the flexibility allowed me to move to new countries without having any major constraints. First when I took the decision from Greece, where I did my first Degree, to go to England to do my master and my PhD and then from England to move to Sweden for a postdoc position and now ending up in France the last 10 months, so you have to be flexible.

What I also show, was not on only differences in term of cultures but also in work behaviors, work attitudes and being a southern myself having that type of hot temper, laid-back approach and working with northern country allow me to adapt and understand better people’s behaviors and overcome communication challenges across multinational research teams.

I also found that most places were eager to have a fresh perspective in the office so think about how you might offer that fresh perspective in your new career path no matter what you do, there is a bound from your past work that’s not only transferable to your new job but that’s pretty exciting to perspectives employers I think that my international experience and network both in the UK and in Sweden played a crucial role of getting my last position here in France.

In fact when it comes to networking, the position that I got in France was basically through that because the advertisement call for this position was advertising in the network and it happened from my previous director to receive that email and she forward it to me knowing that I’m looking for a job.

I would say even like studying and working abroad provided me numerous learning opportunities not only about skills competencies and knowledge but also cultural insights and learning myself as well like my limits, challenging myself and showing how adaptable I can be. It’s all about learning!

As a conclusion I would say that whether you are just graduated from school or about to retire keep learning. I like what Ghandi said :”leave as if you were to die tomorrow and learn as you were to live forever”.

Good Luck!

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