by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
Do you have what it takes to work internationally? Are you a home-body or an adventure-seeker? Are you ethnocentric or open to new cultures? Be sure to take International Job-Seeker Quiz to test your global job readiness before reading these answers.
And once you’ve reviewed these answers, don’t forget to check our International Job-Seeker Quiz Scoring Guide to see where you stand on your preparedness for a global career.
- I am fluent in more than one language.
Ideally, you answered true. If you are not fluent in more than one language, you really need to pick up a second language. While English is the “universal” language, being fluent in another language opens up so many more opportunities for you in being accepted in a foreign culture. Plus, being fluent in more than one language increases your worth in the job marketplace.
Please remember that you need to be fluent in more than one language. Having a working knowledge is not enough; you need to be able to hold conversations, read documents, and conduct business with it.
- I prefer dealing with an ever-changing environment rather than a fixed set of circumstances and schedule.
The global business environment is ever-changing; thus, job-seekers who thrive in dynamic environments will do much better internationally than those who prefer static situations. You must enjoy planning for and dealing with rapidly changing situations.
- I desire working in the field over the stability of a desk job.
While this question partially perpetuates a stereotype, it still gets to the heart of a job-seeker’s attitudes about the work environment. While there are certainly desk jobs in all countries, a sense of adventure and enjoyment of working in the field makes a job-seeker better suited for the global marketplace.
- When examining work-related situations, I take a global view.
It’s a bit of a cliche, but no action or decision affects only one market or country. With the great expansion of technology, trade, and communications, what happens in one country can easily impact multiple other countries. The global job-seeker understands the connectedness of the world and makes decisions based on global impact.
- I live for the excitement and adventure of traveling.
Perhaps it goes without saying that the global job-seeker must enjoy traveling and dealing with the joys and frustrations of getting around in unfamiliar towns, cities, and countries. If you prefer the comforts of home, an international career may not be for you.
- When I travel, I enjoy being spontaneous rather than having a well-planned itinerary in advance.
As in any business, some situations cannot be foreseen. The international job-seeker must be able to travel on a moment’s notice and be able to make connections and arrangements on the fly. If you can’t travel without having your itinerary set down to the minute, perhaps a global job is not for you.
- I value the importance of understanding different cultures with various types of business etiquette.
It’s essential that you have an interest and curiosity in learning about new cultures. One of the greatest challenges international job-seekers face is understanding and blending into new cultures. The more you enjoy learning about new cultures, the faster you will be acclimated.
It’s one thing to learn about new cultures, but it’s another to value and respect different cultures and different types of business etiquette. Just as you had to master the rules of business etiquette while job-hunting in your home country, you must do the same for each country in which you are searching for a job. Not knowing the rules of things such as how to greet people, how to use various titles, gift-giving situations, and non-verbal gestures can easily spell failure.
To develop a deeper understanding of these issues, you might consider reading one or more of these Global/International Job/Career Books.
- I live in a major city where there is a fair degree of international trade and activity.
If you currently live in a major city where a fair amount of international trade occurs, you should have an easier time of job-searching because you can start your job-search with all the companies conducting international trade in your city. It may also mean there is a trade organization or other international trade professional organizations – groups you should get involved with to build your network of international contacts.
- I have a very clear and specific job-search strategy for landing an overseas job.
Before you even begin to think about working overseas, you need to develop a clear and well-developed strategy for finding international employment. You need to determine the types of companies that interest you, as well as the various methods you’ll use to track down job leads. In terms of the types of companies, determine whether you are interested in public or private firms; domestic, foreign, or international (global) firms. You should also consider what type of corporate culture you are seeking.
Get more information in our article, 10 Essential Tips for Landing a Job Overseas.
For help in determining your fit with prospective employers, be sure and read our article, Uncovering a Company’s Corporate Culture is a Critical Task for Job-Seekers.
- I have a different version of my resume/CV for each country I am interested in working in.
It is imperative that you have a version of your resume or CV that is specifically tailored to the standards of the countries where you are seeking employment. For example, in the U.S., job-seekers routinely leave off such items as high school education and personal information; however, if you were applying for a j ob in Germany, you would want to include both a photo and personal information on your CV.
Read our article, Culturally Competent Resumes for the Global Job Market.
If you’re not comfortable converting your existing resume — or don’t even have a current resume — consider using the expert services of Quintessential Resumes and Cover Letters.
- I know how to research countries, work eligibility requirements, customs, regulations, and foreign companies.
The good news is that if you don’t know how to conduct global research, it’s fairly easy to learn. As any good job-seeker should know, good information is critical to your success. You need to be able to research which companies do business in the countries in which you want to work, what each company’s requirements are for job-seekers, work and cultural issues for each country, and the specific steps and procedures you need to take to be considered for a job.
- I have several people in my network who work or live in the countries where I want to relocate.
Just as networking is important for job-hunting in your home country, it is even more critical for job-searching in foreign countries. Thus, if you already have an established network of contacts that includes several people who work or live in the countries in which you want to relocate, your job-search will become a bit easier. Is your situation hopeless if you don’t have any international connections in your current network? Of course not; it just means that you will have to work that much harder at establishing new contacts for your network and in searching for a new job.
Find all sorts of networking tips and resources in our Art of Networking section.
- I have several years of work experience in my field.
Most employers of international job-seekers require you to have three to five years of experience in your field before you are considered a serious candidate for an overseas job. If you don’t have that many years of experience, the best advice is to keep working in your home country – but be sure you are working in the right job to provide the transferable skills required for an overseas position.
Read more about the importance and value of transferable skills.
- I have previously worked on international projects.
Having some previous international experiences is a major plus when searching for an overseas job. While you may have impeccable technical skills, if you have never worked or lived in a foreign culture, there is no sure way of knowing how well you will cope with the situation.
If you’re an established job-seeker, there is unfortunately not much you can do now to gain that experience. If you’re a college student or recent grad, though, you have a number of different options to gain valuable experience, from international internships to international volunteer work.
For internships, you’ll find a great selection of sites in our internship resources section.
For volunteering, you’ll find a great selection of sites in our volunteering resources section.
For study abroad possibilities, you’ll find a great selection of sites in our study abroad resources section.
- I have a graduate degree in my field.
While it’s not required for all jobs, having a graduate degree in your field, with a specialization on international issues, makes you a much stronger job candidate.
If your job-search is stalled, consider attending graduate school — either a top-ranked school in your home country or a graduate school in the country/region where you want to work. Whether it’s an MBA with a specialty in international business or a graduate degree in international affairs, be sure to do your homework on the best programs to fit your needs and goals.
Use our Graduate School Resources section to find useful articles and graduate school Websites.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this quiz? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Enhance your career! Take advantage of all of our expert free career development advice, tools, and more in our Career Resources Toolkit for Job-Seekers.