Executive Job Search Strategies for International Careers


It’s true that there is no guaranteed path to obtaining an international work assignment. In an increasingly competitive global employment environment, finding the right position abroad can certainly be challenging. However, it’s not impossible with a well-thought-out executive job search strategy and persistence. Below are some suggestions to help you through the process.

Leverage the professional contacts you already possess

Look within your own company as well as its strategic partners. In today’s global market, all but the smallest of firms have some overseas presence. If not an actual branch office, the firm probably has relationships with key suppliers and international distributors. Remember, you don’t always have to target the head of the group – speaking with someone whom you already have a working relationship with, even if he or she is a couple of rungs lower on the corporate ladder, can also open doors. And a professional transition to a strategic partner can often prove beneficial for all parties.

International Executive Job SearchContinue to build and grow your network

If you decide that an international career is for you, you must get out and network. Overseas positions are generally difficult to obtain, especially if you are conducting a remote executive job search from your home country. Tap into the contacts of your family, friends, colleagues, classmates, university alumni, etc.

Establishing an online presence is always a good idea. While a strong LinkedIn profile is a must for nearly every professional, also consider developing a Twitter strategy or starting a blog to better showcase your thoughts and build a following.

Target multinationals

These firms have the resources as well as formal structures for moving employees from one office to another. Even if you obtain a role in the domestic market with a large multinational corporation, a future promotion could well involve an international move.

If you are already with a multinational, begin to target an international department or role within the company. Try to get staffed on international assignments that require frequent travel abroad. This builds both your skills and network, as well as proves to the employer that you are culturally adaptive and can work effectively in a different environment.

And relocation with a multinational is usually one of the smoothest entries to a foreign country in terms of personal logistics such as housing, legal issues, visas, etc.

Acquire the right language skills

Learning the local language demonstrates commitment to your targeted region, and is in fact an absolute necessity for some expatriate roles. But whether or not proficiency in a foreign language is required, proactively acquiring the relevant language skills shows your intention to truly engage with people and can set you apart from other executives.

Make sure your resume/CV positions you in the best possible light

Your executive resume/CV is often a future employer’s first impression of your abilities, accomplishments, and fit. It is your most powerful professional marketing document. Make sure it conveys what is unique about you – the value you bring to organizations and coworkers, your core attributes and signature strengths. Consider working with a professional resume writer to optimize your CV’s effectiveness.

The Ultimate Executive Career Guide: Connecting with Executive Search

As a senior-level executive, you can use this guide to:
- Learn about executive search and how it differs from other forms of recruiting
- Discover the best ways to connect with executive search professionals
- Understand how the search process works
- Implement strategies that will help you become visible to the search community
- And more!

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About the author

Gulnar Mewawala's picture

Gulnar Mewawala is a triple certified Master Resume Writer (MRW, ACRW, CPRW) with BlueSteps Executive Career Services, Wharton MBA, and TORI Award nominee. In her former professional life, she led senior-level executive searches across the Middle East at Spencer Stuart and developed the private equity and investment banking practice at a start-up search firm in Dubai. Her expertise is in creating powerful executive resumes, cover letters, bios, and LinkedIn profiles for C-level leaders, entrepreneurs, expatriates, and other professionals worldwide.

Learn more about the BlueSteps team of career advisors and the services they provide to help you improve your career trajectory here.

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