Short term to long-term expatriate

How to build a career in the Czech Republic? Staff

Written by Staff Published on 13.05.2005 20:04:48 (updated on 13.05.2005) Reading time: 4 minutes

Written by Bob Demare of

You came to the Czech Republic with an original plan of staying for six months or a year and you find that you´d like to stay longer Maybe you are teaching English, proofreading, living off savings, and most likely a combination of all three. Your Czech is somewhat limited to say the least. Maybe you would like to make Prague your home and realize that building a career in the heart of Europe is not as easy as it seems How to build a career in the Czech Republic? If there were a magic pill to help you do this, we´d all have taken it. But there are some things you can do to help you get started. I´ll share a bit of my story and offer some tips that have helped others. I came to Prague almost 4 years ago after working in Canada as a training manager for a non-profit organization in Canada. I needed a change – and a year of teaching English in Prague seemed like a nice break from the corporate world for a year or so. I got here and enjoyed the job for a while but slowly began to see that the skills I had built up at home were being put to limited use here. After some time, I met my current business partner and we established a company focusing on training and development. After another year or so of teaching/working on the business, I was able to at last make the “break” from teaching and focus on the company full time. Seems like a simple story, right? but there is much more to it than that. In no particular order, here are some tips that I can recommend from personal experience or I have seen work. Make sure your “circle” of friends is broad. This means not just hanging out with the other teachers at your language school. It´s great to have those friends – don´t get me wrong, but expanding your network will do wonders for the possibilities that can come your way.
Learn Czech. I guess this is pretty obvious.
Join a professional association like a chamber of commerce or expat business association. There are lots listed in the business directory of For me, this was one of the single best moves I made. You will meet lots of people who have done just what you are hoping to do. Best of all, the people in these communities love to help people to establish themselves here.
Think about getting your independent trade license or starting an s.r.o. (There is a massive amount of information on this site on how to do this). Even if you continue teaching, you can do it directly for companies and make much more money while still charging a very competitive price. There is an investment up-front but if you plan to stay for a few years, it´s worth it.
Get some business cards printed that let people know what you can do. You likely have skills that are valuable to people here. As well, make sure your CV is updated and you have a list of projects or accomplishments that you can give to people.
Tell people what you want to do. When you meet someone and they ask what you do here, don´t say, “I teach.” Instead say, “My background is in IT (for example), I´m looking to establish myself as a consultant in this market – I´m just starting out here”
Ask people for advice! It´s human nature that we love to give advice. Ask your students, friends, people you meet networking, etc. “I´m interested in helping small companies that want to improve their PR and can´t afford the big firms. Do you know anyone in the field?”
When you go to networking events, dress for them. Make sure your clothes say where you are going, not where you came from. Personally – this is my least favorite piece of advice but it´s true.
Follow up with people you meet at networking event. A quick email, note (even better) or call saying, “I enjoyed meeting you at ____ yesterday, please let me know if I can help out with ____ .
Think about working with a business partner. Make sure it´s someone you can trust and you are prepared to work with over the long term. Business partnerships are like marriage and you need to work at them and communicate for them to function properly. The good thing about a partnership is that you can share the work of the company and still keep your “day job” as a teacher/whatever for a while as you start up. Almost all of the above can also apply to employment opportunities as well. Having said that, I´ve found here that the best jobs in Prague are the ones that people get from some place other than Prague. The manager in England who gets transferred here will always have a setup that most of us can only dream about. That´s the way it works. Some employers will hire you with very little Czech skills but these tend to be in operations that are focused on global support where English is king. As a rule, Czech will always help you. So – shine your shoes and get out there and meet people. The more people you meet, the better chance of getting a break. Bob Demare is a Director of Coaching Systems s.r.o., a Prague based training and consulting company.For more information visit :

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