In today’s competitive, global marketplace, everyone should be considering new ways to keep their skills and experience up-to-date and maintain a competitive edge. There are many ways that working overseas can help you grow your career both at home and abroad.
Why work abroad?
Megan Fitzgerald, Job-Hunt’s International Job Search Expert, says of her personal experience,
“Having been abroad for over a decade and worked in 40+ countries, I can tell you after experiencing the benefits of living and working abroad, you may find it won’t be a choice for the short term. Working abroad can easily become a lifestyle choice filled with innumerable opportunities for learning, growth, travel, and adventure.“
Working abroad offers many important benefits:
Advancing your career
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.
Getting international experience and having a more global profile is a great way to stand out from people who have only domestic experience, particularly as international business becomes an increasingly important aspect of business survival and growth. The more recent and relevant the international experience, the better.
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
Many countries around the world are still recovering from the recession, and job opportunities are at an all time low. However, 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. For example, it is reported that in some cities in China there are 9 job openings for every job seeker!
Developing valuable skill sets
One study conducted by INSEAD, a top international business school, and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University reported people who live abroad are not only more creative, but are better negotiators and can more readily “think out of the box.”
Learning a new language or improving your language skills
Being able to speak another language is an important skill if you are interested in pursuing an international career. There is no better way to learn or improve your language skills than to be immersed in an environment where you must speak the language every day.
Developing a “global mind set”
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.
Having an adventure or experiencing a different lifestyle
Not only will you have opportunities to travel and see how different people live, think, and work, but in many cases you can have a much better quality of life. Most certainly you’ll have experiences that will help you grow both personally and professionally.
An international job search is different from a USA-only job search in many ways, and Megan Fitzgerald, Job-Hunt’s International Job Search Expert will help you understand how to succesfully navigate these waters.
About this author…
Megan Fitzgerald is an expat career and personal branding coach, CEO of Career By Choice, and your guide to the world of international careers. With two decades of experience supporting professionals and entrepreneurs in 40+ countries across 6 continents, Megan uses a 360°approach to help expats and international job seekers become highly visible, sought after, and land work abroad. You can read about expat careers at CareerbyChoiceBlog, and also find her on Twitter as @ExpatCoachMegan, on Facebook, and, of course, on LinkedIn.