I often get the same questions about expatriate careers from people through a variety of my online and social networks. In the interest of answering these questions so that more expats may benefit, I've decided to create an "ASK THE EXPAT & INTERNATIONAL CAREER COACH" blog post series. I'll start with one of the most common questions I get asked:
"WHY WORK ABROAD?"
Working abroad can give you invaluable experience that will not only help you differentiate yourself from your competitors (a key element of a strong personal brand), but will help you develop skills sets valued by employers.
Most employers value the initiative demonstrated by those who pursue work abroad, and the demonstrated ability to handle ambiguity and new challenges. With workforces becoming more multicultural and diverse, learning new languages and to develop cross cultural communications skills abroad can also serve you once you've returned home. And living and working in another culture not only helps you be more flexible and adaptable, but develops your aptitude for looking at systems and problems from new and different perspectives. Studies have shown that living abroad enhances your creativity and negotiation skills.
As today's markets are becoming more and more global, having experience working in different markets, within different business systems, operating under different types of regulation, will be seen as an asset and gives you a breadth and depth of experience that few others will be able to claim. It also helps to broaden you network globally, another valued and potentially differentiating asset.
Some additional reasons to working abroad include:
- Advancing your career faster: Given the global demand for talent and the need for strong management skills, working abroad can mean taking on a more senior position than you would normally be considered qualified for at home. This experience can better position you for more senior positions and quicker advancement in the future. One study done by Hays recruitment indicated that over 80% of professionals who worked abroad felt that it helped them in their careers.
- Being considered for senior and C suite positions at global companies: International experience is no longer just valued - it is becoming expected. 75% of Fortune 100 CEO's have spent at least 2 years in a senior position overseas. If you are looking for a senior or CxO position in a top multinational corporation, international experience is an essential credential.
- Increasing your job opportunities: In some emerging markets like India, China, and Brazil there is not enough talent to support their rapid growth. There is high demand for professionals and executives with particular skills sets, and there are many job opportunities across numerous industries.
- Developing a "global mindset": Having a global mind set and the ability to work well in different cultures is critical if you are pursuing an international career. But in an increasingly globalized marketplace, more and more jobs and businesses will be engaging across cultures as a matter of course. Hence having cross-cultural skills and the right mind set are becoming valuable both at home and abroad.
- Making a difference in the world: There are numerous opportunities with international assistance and development organizations as well as NGO's and non-profits to help you make a difference in developing and transitional countries. Whether it be in global health, policy, education, or economic development, there are many ways that you can contribute to improving the quality of people’s lives worldwide.
Can you think of others? Please share below.
YOUR EXPAT and INTERNATIONAL CAREER SUCESSS TRIP: If you are considering pursuing work abroad for any significant amount of time, it's likely you have concerns about such a choice. Perhaps you fear it will be difficult to "reenter" the workforce in your home country, or will not be able to manage the cross-cultural challenges you'll face working in a foreign country. Making the right choice means making an informed choice. So make a list of all of the benefits of working abroad how your experience working overseas will make you more attractive to future employers, no matter where your next destination may be. Knowing all the benefits will help you make a more informed decision moving forward.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ career by choice can help you...become an expat and experience a global lifestyle ~ explore international career options and find work abroad ~ understand your Brand DNA and how you perform at your best ~ clarify your personal brand so you can stand out and be sought after for top jobs overseas ~ develop marketing tools and strategies to communicate your unique expertise in a compelling way ~ strengthen your online reputation to attract employers and secure international jobs ~ become highly visible, recognized and well compensated for the value you create ~ overcome challenges and grow as a leader on international assignments ~ leverage social media to build your global online network ~ develop a global mindset ~ find an international career coach and experienced guide ~ conduct an international job search ~ optimize your choices and discover success abroad on your terms by being your best self. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~