If you’re looking to take your job search out of the country and into an international market, you really need to separate yourself from the pack. Simply going to school, getting a degree, and landing an entry-level job might not sell international employers on your abilities. After all, from an employer’s perspective, hiring candidates from outside of the country can be a headache (think: visas, paperwork, time tables, etc.). So you need to convince them that you’re the best and smartest solution.
Here are five ways to stand out from the crowd and stay competitive in an international job market.
Without a doubt, English is still the universal language, and most foreign companies will want employees to have a basic knowledge of this language. In fact, some industries—like finance—will require English fluency. So if you’re a native English speaker, you already have one major advantage over other international job seekers.
But this is where many Americans fall behind—they assume they have a leg up on other candidates and fail to advance their skill sets. Instead of resting on your laurels, learn a second language that many employees or customers in your industry speak.
If you know the local tongue, you’ll go a long way in staying competitive in the international job market. Remember, you can speak English with international clients, but when talking to local people, you should speak their language.
Some sayings or gestures simply get lost in translation. For example, a seemingly insignificant hand signal in the United States might cause a serious stir in a foreign land. If you want to understand these culture changes, don’t just research international economies—research the culture’s way of life. This will allow you to nail the interview and show up to work on day one with confidence. Otherwise, you may have a hard time getting past the first phone interview.
When working in the United States or other Western countries, it’s somewhat common to go to school, land a job, keep the same skills, and make a nice career out of it. Unfortunately, this approach isn’t going to help you get hired in the international job market.
Instead, you need to constantly learn new abilities and improve your existing skills. Foreign companies are often leaner than American companies, so their workers need to wear several different hats. This is a stark contrast to some workers in the United States who only do one thing, albeit extremely well.
If you’re working overseas, it’s especially important that you know how to work well with people from all different backgrounds. If you’re a bit more open-minded and team-oriented, you’ll be more successful dealing with customers, clients, coworkers, and anyone else you may encounter in a professional setting.
Early on, soak up information like a sponge. Take note of different social customs, how people talk to each other, and how people respond to you. As you get more comfortable and establish yourself within the company, you’ll have an easier time establishing solid relationships. But initially, your goal should be to fit in with the existing office culture and be a team player.
Whether you’re working overseas or in the States, you’ll needa knockout resume. After all, your resume is the first document employers will read. If it shows off your work experience, highlights your educational background, and emphasizes the right skills, you’ll have a chance of landing a job in any country.
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