Why moving home to Indonesia was good for my career

Karina Saridewi

Karina Saridewi worked as an in-house accountant in Los Angeles before moving back to Indonesia in 2011 to build her finance career. In 2014, she took the bold move of switching careers, joining Robert Walters Indonesia as a recruitment consultant. Now a manager in our commerce finance and legal division, Karina shares why moving home to Indonesia was the right choice for her career.

Why did you decide to return to Indonesia?

Although I enjoyed my time working in LA, I moved back because I felt that every moment I spent overseas was a missed opportunity to spend time with my family, which was difficult because they are a big part of what motivates me at work.

I found that returning home with international experience opened up a number of opportunities for me. Before joining Robert Walters, I worked for various Fortune 500 companies, including BASF, Pfizer and Danone in Indonesia. Had I remained in LA, I don’t think I would have been able to access the same opportunities – the market is fiercely competitive and I would have faced the additional difficulty of obtaining work visa sponsorship.

Why did you make the switch to recruitment?

I met a Robert Walters consultant at an event and we exchanged business cards. The Indonesian office was looking to grow its team and I was invited to the office to learn more about the company. Although I had a positive impression of the business, I was worried that my lack of experience in the industry would be a barrier to my success and decided to continue with my career in finance.

A few years later, I decided to look for new opportunities offering a better work-life balance. I reached out to Robert Walters again. This time, Rob Bryson, former director of Robert Walters Indonesia, explained how my ability to connect with people easily and stakeholder management skills would help me on the job. He assured me that my lack of experience in recruitment was nothing to worry about, especially since I had years of industry experience to help me.

How did the company help you transition to working in recruitment? 

The whole team helped me a lot in the first few months, giving me on-the-job training and providing support and motivation. They brought me to client meetings and candidate interviews, which helped me to quickly learn the basics of the job. After the first three months, we had formal training sessions, which helped to consolidate and refine the skills and knowledge I’d developed. These included roleplay sessions that simulated a wide range of situations, so that I would be prepared for anything and everything.

The training sessions and my team’s support bolstered my confidence and helped me soar. I was promoted to senior consultant in less than a year and have since been promoted again to manager.

This year, I achieved top biller in both quarters one and two. I wouldn’t have been able to come so far without everyone’s belief in my potential as a recruitment consultant.

How were your skills transferable?

Having a finance background really helps me to gain my clients’ trust and confidence and
work more effectively as I have a strong understanding of the type of candidates hiring managers are looking for. They can call me up and simply say, “Karina, I need you to find me a commercial finance manager,” confident that I can find them quality candidates who match their expectations.

In addition, my background has really helped me to connect with my clients, particularly the CEOs and CFOs. I can speak the same language as they do and understand the logic behind their business initiatives. This has helped me develop great relationships built on trust.

What do you like best about your job?

Since joining Robert Walters, I’ve never looked back – it was truly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. This job gives me satisfaction in so many ways; I get the independence and international exposure I enjoyed when I was working in LA while being close to my family. In addition, having the autonomy to plan my own time and career allows me to have the work-life balance I need, which is really important to me as I have a young child now.

Why would you recommend working for Robert Walters Indonesia?

Being a recruitment consultant for Robert Walters means having the opportunity to run your own business – but with a strong support system in place. You get to decide the direction of your work and how you develop your own strategies and reach out to your clients. At the same time, it’s less daunting than building your own business because you know that you can rely on your colleagues and managers to help you when you need it. The work culture is very empowering – there are no limitations on where your ambition can take you.

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Alternatively, please send your up-to-date CV to seainternalrecruitment@robertwalters.com