We are living in an age where, globally, people are far more equipped and educated than they have ever been in the past. Information is literally at our fingertips through various forms of technology, and the speed at which we are able to accomplish tasks and succeed at our goals is ever-increasing. However, the job market has also advanced and to many it can seem, well, quite ruthless.
Increasingly, what sets a person apart when striving to stand out in the job pool is international experience, be it a season of studying abroad, an expat work assignment, or volunteering. Taking that leap to live and function outside of your home country really can pay off, and though studies are limited, there’s still enough data there to encourage the option for your future.
The statistics point to increased employment, higher salaries, and even increased maturity and self-confidence, among other benefits.
If you do decide to be mobile with your location, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Make the time count. Study hard, work hard, show your quality.
- Make connections. Friends and colleagues will only further your experience and who knows, they may be able to help you on your next career move down the line. Go to a local event, volunteer, and use whatever resources you can to get involved.
- Learn transferable skills. Learning how to communicate effectively in another culture (and we don’t mean just through a second language) will aid you for the rest of your life – in and out of the workplace.
- Learn how to highlight these experiences on your résumé. Were you working or studying within a multi-cultural environment? Shout that out, because working with diverse teams is essential. Did you polish your language skills learning Portuguese? That’s golden.
- Time is really important. Showing that you can live abroad an extended period is proof of commitment (A general rule of thumb is that 5 years in a position make you an expert, so 5 years in Japan working/studying is going to translate well.) However…
- Extreme country hopping may not work to your advantage. Travelling extensively and sight-seeing are fantastic things, but when speaking in career-terms, companies are looking for something steadier. It may be best to shy away from highlighting any fast and furious moves and trips you made, unless for example you volunteered or worked with a single organization that purposely moved you around frequently.
- Know what you’re getting into. Take time to learn about the culture(s) you’ll be interacting with and understand the documentation you’ll need for school and work outside of your own country. Please contact us for more information if you’d like assistance with either cultural training or destination services! We are glad to help.
Hopefully these tidbits of information will be a good starting point as your look to not only expand your horizon, but also your career options.