Nov 24 2014
Working abroad has been a dream of many in the American workforce, and executives are no exception. An online survey of more than 200,000 people in 189 countries (published in October 2014) by the Boston Consulting Group, a management consultant, and The Network, a recruitment agency, generated these results: almost two-thirds of the people surveyed (ages 20-50) would contemplate working abroad—and that one in five already had. The surprising statistics were that barely one-third of Americans were willing to work in another country, and of those, 59% were in their 20s.
So are Americans at the executive level too comfortable in their jobs, homes, and lifestyles to consider an international job? Living and working abroad requires much more thought than a simple relocation within the U.S. Many factors need to be carefully examined such as country culture and language, the country’s economic state, available housing, schools, cost of relocation and living, working hours, visa issues, etc.
Before making a big step into the unknown, ask yourself these questions:
1. Why do you want to work abroad?
2. Why do you want to work in a particular country?
3. What is the “job/employment outlook” for that country?
4. What have you done to demonstrate that you can thrive internationally?
5. What personality traits do you have that show you are suitable for the position?
6. How will you know that you won’t want to return home after six months?
7. If you have no prior international experience – why should they hire you?
8. How have you prepared for a career (in that country)?
9. What will you get out of the career move abroad?
10. What would make this move perfect?
Hopefully by answering these questions, it helped you identify if you are a good candidate for an international move and how that might help your career. If you are a good candidate, how do you get started?
One of the first things you can do is check with your current company for any opportunities they may have. If companies have international offices, they usually do promote from within before looking outside the company for executive candidates. And, most companies take very good care of their employees in an international move and attend to many of the details you would have to manage on your own, if you hire on as a new employee with another global organization.
If you are considering an international placement outside your current company, you will need to highlight your cross-cultural strengths in your career collaterals (resume, cover letter, bio, LinkedIn profile) so that you are recognized as an executive with overseas appeal. Not only show your international experiences in your career, but also highlight the qualities and skills you have that make you a great global candidate. The better you can show your international value, the more likely you are to attract interest from companies worldwide.
Don’t forget to use BlueSteps as a resource to connect with global recruiters and find available international job opportunities. BlueSteps will show you what opportunities are available in their database based on the criteria you set up in your BlueSteps profile and allow you to target executive search consultants based on your country, industry, and career function of interest. BlueSteps also provides webinars and blogs that are jam-packed with job search information specially targeted to international job search.
LinkedIn is another online platform to use when it comes to targeting international job search. Using the right search filters should yield hundreds of results for companies, jobs, and people. A sometimes forgotten resource of LinkedIn is “groups for international jobs” where discussions center on working globally, expat network, and more. Recruiters also like to post job listings in groups (see jobs tab in specific groups you belong to).
To build your information base about a global career, follow blog posts that address your topics of concern such as how to improve your online image for a global job search, how to easily transition a trailing spouse, and how to network around the globe, etc. These topics and more are easily found online.
Often an international job adds to your future employability, however, it may not be easy to leave your current career behind for the uncertainty of a new executive opportunity in a different country. Trust your instincts and enjoy the adventure.
BlueSteps members have access to BlueSteps Executive Career Services, which provides them with expert writers and experienced LinkedIn Strategists who are ready to partner with you for your career advancement.
BlueSteps Members: Submit your resume to get started with a complimentary consultation.
The Ultimate Executive Career Guide: Advanced Job Search
As a senior-level executive, you can use this guide to: