Book Review: Get Ahead by Going Abroad: A Woman’s Guide to Fast-Track Career Success
From time-to-time, as we receive career-related and job-hunting books and other resources from publishers, the staff of Quintessential Careers will review them to help you make better decisions about the best books to use in your career and job search.
Get Ahead by Going Abroad: A Woman’s Guide to Fast-Track Career Success, C. Perry Yeatman and Stacie Nevadomski Berdan, $24.95. Hardcover. 242 pages. Collins. ISBN-10: 0061340537
Reviewed by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
“Globalization is changing the way the world works. Today, employers are looking for people who have international skills and experience… As thousands of women (and men) know, working and living in another country can expand your professional options manifold. International experience differentiates you from your peers. Doors open for you because companies need professionals who can act locally while thinking globally,” state authors Yeatman and Berdan.
If you’re thinking of working abroad — because you love the idea of adventure and travel and working in one or more foreign countries or because you know an international experience can give your career a major boost — this book is a must-read. And while it’s geared specifically for women, the practical advice given in this book can certainly benefit anyone who is considering working internationally.
But make no mistake: Get Ahead by Working Abroad is written specifically to help career-minded women break through the glass ceiling and other barriers by leveraging their successes from an overseas assignment. According to the authors, working abroad can expand your personal career/job horizons by broadening your professional qualifications, providing great opportunities for adding to your accomplishments, increasing your pay (both when you go abroad as well as when you return), and expanding your network of contacts.
Get Ahead by Working Abroad is full of great tips and excellent stories on every dimension and decision related to working abroad. Whether you’re fresh out of college, a mid-level manager, or senior executive — single, married, with children or not — this book details the essential information you need to know: from picking the right market to deciphering an expatriate contract to making the most of your time on the ground in your new locale to leveraging your experience for greater career advancement when you return.
Authors Yeatman and Berdan, both of whom lived and worked abroad before returning to the states to bigger and better careers, bring together not only their own experiences, but the experiences of numerous other women, to provide readers with not only practical advice — but proven advice from actual international experiences. Besides the stories of six women who have very different international experiences, the authors also provide anecdotes and results from more than 200 women who completed an online survey for the book.
The book is divided into eight chapters, taking the reader from reasons for working internationally to guidance for succeeding globally to suggestions for a successful return.
More specifically, here are some highlights from each of the chapters.
Chapter 1: Fast-Tracking Your Career. This chapter serves as the foundation for the book, discussing issues such as the timing of an overseas assignment, benefits of working abroad, and traits critical for success internationally.
Chapter 2: Is Going Global Right for You? This chapter is designed to help you decide whether an overseas assignment is the right path for you to take to help achieve your career goals, and includes things like a 10-question self-test and a discussion of living abroad pros and cons.
Chapter 3: Landing an International Assignment. This chapter is a blueprint for helping you obtain that first international assignment, and includes a three-step approach (defining your objective, devising a strategy, and marketing yourself) to achieve your goal. An added bonus is the 10 tips for improving your chances of going global.
Chapter 4: Ready, Set, Go! This chapter is filled with sage advice for making the transition from working and living domestically to doing so abroad, including tips for evaluating foreign assignments and reviewing your expatriate contract.
Chapter 5: Being Good to Yourself. This chapter is the only one in the book that takes a step back from all the professional aspects of working abroad to focus on the personal aspects of surviving and thriving in a foreign country, including dealing with culture shock and six things you must do in the first week of living in your new country.
Chapter 6: The First Year on the Job. This chapter stresses the importance of tackling and succeeding in the job you were hired to do, which is phase one to using the international experience as a stepping stone to career advancement. Included are strategies for the first 100 days, business tips for women, and a discussion of business ethics and international cultures.
Chapter 7: Year Two and Beyond. This chapter is one of the most strategic in the book, focusing on helping you move beyond the job you were hired to do to move into phase two of tackling additional assignments and responsibilities, solving tricky problems, and other ways to help distinguish yourself so that you can leverage your successes to your next career move.
Chapter 8: Ensuring a Successful Return. This chapter focuses on assisting you once you decide it’s time to return home, providing tools to help you understand your greater value to your current (or other) employer, as well as dealing with reverse culture shock.
The authors believe that women are more naturally suited to working abroad because of some key characteristics critical for international success, such as adaptability and flexibility; ability to listen and communicate well; skill at building teams and relationships; patience and persistence; and curiosity and open-mindedness.
If you are considering working abroad and/or are searching for a way to push your career path into higher management ranks, then this book — with its strong collection of tips, strategies, and advice — should be one of the tools you use to help you succeed.
Read more about author Perry Yeatman’s views on international careers by reading the Q&A interview she did with Quintessential Careers.
Thinking about working internationally? Check out these Quintessential Careers resources: Job and Career Resources for Global Job-Seekers.
Check out all our book reviews in Quintessential Reading: Career and Job Book Reviews.