In the fall of 2019, we profiled Nikol Mard, Founder extraordinaire of Network for Work (NfW), an organisation that works to accelerate professional opportunities for internationals in Norway. We remain inspired fans of Nikol Mard and NfW – we have collaborated with them on various events so far and we plan to continue to do so. We have also been following their progress and are pleased to announce that NfW has gone digital! Yes, you read right! Now you can find professional and social resources at your fingertips!
In our opinion, this is a welcomed development and is thus, newsworthy. Going online means wider access to a diversity of resources. We have all heard the saying “Information is Power” and at its core, NfW provides information that translates into knowledge that will become an armour that you will use to take on, adapt to or survive the professional space in Norway.
Do you not live in Oslo or surrounding areas? No problem! Are you not yet in Norway? No stress! Nikol and NfW have got you covered! You can now access a variety of resources on their new digital platform, any day, anytime and in every time zone. NfW is now bringing valuable content and information directly to your living room, laptop and phone. If you cannot attend a workshop due to a time conflict, you can access relevant information online, whilst sharing, networking and co-creating with likeminded people on the platform. And for those not currently in Norway, well, you may never get to experience the initial isolation many feel when they relocate to a new country. This is because you’d have an opportunity to form connections, friendships and contacts via the digital platform, as you prepare to embark on the life changing leap of faith that is relocation. Phew!
In the spirit of continuity, we recently sat down with Nikol to discuss the new and exciting branch she’s creating for NfW and learn more about how we can all engage with the platform.
Read more below.
There have been a lot of changes but the most significant one is that we have gone digital! After two years serving the expat community face to face, we have decided to widen our reach and move to the online space! We have launched Network for Work’s online platform at https://network-for-work.mn.co/ where we provide information and tools for people looking to re-launch their careers after moving abroad and where we foster a more tight-knit community of talented and skilled expat professionals and Network for Work ambassadors.
There were several reasons for this move. As our outreach grew, we started getting contacted by expats living in other parts of Norway. We even received enquiry from those living outside of Norway and planning their relocation—who were keen to secure information about job search and work opportunities. We realized there was a need for the support we provide to a much wider audience, beyond the expats in the Oslo area. We have thus, created content covering the topics of job search, career change, skillset mapping, and starting their own business, and placed it on our online platform to serve the needs of people who cannot physically attend our events and workshops, or who need information to plan their move.
Other reasons for going digital was the community aspect of the work we do. Creating a community and a network is really at the core of our work and we wanted to enable people to stay in touch with each other after meeting during our workshops and seminars. Network is a very powerful thing, especially when it comes to job search – chances of getting a job through network are almost 90%, compared to only 20% success rate of job hunt via traditional application to open positions advertised on job portals.
We bring together talented and skilled expats and support them on their quest to find relevant and meaningful work – be it via employment at a company or starting their own business. We believe that everybody has something valuable they can share that could be useful to others, and in so doing, we can be each other’s resources. We also bring Network for Work Ambassadors – international professionals who are successful and have ‘made it’ in Norway. Herein, they share tips and strategies, and inspire those who are fairly new here. Our vision is to allow professionals to move freely while utilizing their unique skills and talents. And this is at the core of what we do, no matter what form of work they choose.
We combine learning and community on one platform. While we provide tools, resources, and information about finding and creating meaningful work opportunities, we also believe in the power of community and ‘being in it together’. We don’t want to just ‘preach’ to people on how to do it right, we want to empower expats to access all the skills they have, so that they can help themselves in reaching new heights.
We currently offer two types of membership. Our Starter Kit memberships gives subscribers access to all the online content and community on the platform and starts at 450 NOK per year. Our Premium Membership allows members to access not only all the content on the platform, but also attend all our events for free, and starts at 540 NOK per year. The Starter Kit is tailored for people currently living outside of Oslo while Premium is best for expats who already moved to Oslo.
Everybody who joins the platform is there for the same reason. It’s not the ‘I’m just clicking Join because it’s easy’ type of community. People who sign up show commitment to relaunching their careers after moving abroad, they’re willing to do the work that’s necessary and really focus on their end game. It’s easier to make connections with people who you know are just as committed as you are, who have the same goal.
The platform can be accessed by visiting https://network-for-work.mn.co/
Creating and running an online community platform is of course a whole different ball game 😊. There are so many details one has to think about – from content creation, to managing relationships with contributors, to setting up parameters of the platform. There’s also a lot of ‘testing’ involved – for example with the format of the content: Is video better than articles? How long should the videos be? Our aim is to make this as useful and enjoyable for our members as possible. Consequently, we are open to feedback and might tweak the format and the content as we go. In essence, this means the work never ends!
Oh, there’s loads! We’ve had a lot of fun recording videos for the platform, we might release ‘Network for Work bloopers’ one day 😊. Also, customizing the platform was fun, choosing colours and background pictures (you’ll notice I have a soft spot for pink, purple and sparkles!) And of course, hearing from people who subscribe and find it useful, and then seeing them make new connections on the platform.
Everything! It’s been such a journey of self-discovery for me 😊. Those who were around when I first started shaping the idea of Network for Work know how skeptical I was about bringing the concept online, et voila – two years down the road, we have an online platform! I really had to mobilize all my skills, learn some new ones, and get outside my comfort zone. But the most important learning perhaps is what makes a good service or a product – giving people what they need. There’s no point in creating what you might think is a great offering if nobody wants it. So, listening to people, hearing their concerns, their needs and wishes, and building on that is how we can make the biggest impact.