Working abroad has a different attraction for each person. As an Indian expat in Australia for example, you may aim to make to make the most of the conversion rate and send money to India by the bucketfuls. More important though, working overseas can enhance your career. Although the number of professionals who possess international work experience may be low in percentage terms, it is no longer rare to have worked abroad. More and more organizations want their employees to spend at least a year at their overseas offices. Others want to hire candidates who already possess a foreign experience. Here is why working abroad is so important for your employer and for your career.
Excelling in a familiar environment is hard enough, given today’s competition. Having an overseas work experience shows that you have ventured into unfamiliar surroundings and excelled professionally. It highlights your adaptability and proves that you can perform well regardless of environmental factors. Traveling abroad forces you to step out of your comfort zone. Working overseas shows that you embrace change instead of resisting it. It also proves that you possess initiative and drive, and that you are an independent person. An experience of working abroad projects you as a confident and self reliant person. The fact that an overseas employer chose you over all the available local talent is also an important testament to your professional capability.
- Cultural sensibilities
One of the critical issues multinational firms face is coping with cross cultural differences. It is widely acknowledged that there are important cultural overtones to the way businesses work in various geographies. European work culture is markedly different from Asian, which is different from Latin American. Even within Asia there are vast differences, such as between Japan and India. As the world’s economy becomes more global every day, the value of persons with multicultural experiences is on the rise. Someone with an overseas work experience is expected to have valuable firsthand insight into cross cultural sensitivities, and is much better positioned to handle communications with overseas stakeholders in a multinational corporation.
- Linguistic capabilities
If you acquire sufficient foreign language skills during your work abroad, your value to an employer greatly increases. People love to work with overseas partners who can speak their language. A language is more than just a set of words pronounced a certain way. Each language has unique nuances and constitutes the core of that region’s culture. Learning a language signifies that you understand culture and its nuances. This ability makes you valuable to employers and can significantly boost your career.
In several industries there is a large rift between local and international standards. Working in an environment where international standards are upheld gives you the perspective to appreciate these variations. Some workplace practices are universally acceptable while others vary in their interpretation and acceptance. Norms and laws regarding ethical behavior, social etiquette, workplace sexual harassment, office safety, overtime payments, vendor relations, and other aspects may differ greatly across nations. An overseas experience sensitizes you to these important differences. While working in a foreign country you are invariably faced with unique problems to which you must apply innovative solutions. All of these experiences contribute to your professional development and help you grow as a person.
Living and working abroad is a unique opportunity to build an international professional network which can be mutually enriching for a lifetime. These are the kind of connects that you simply cannot have access to while working from your home country. Having such a network can be very useful if you plan to change jobs or if your employer wants to have a larger presence in that region.
Working abroad exposes expats to range of new ideas. Some of these ideas have the potential to be converted to profitable business models. Research shows that expats have a disproportionately higher propensity for entrepreneurship. In addition to absorbing new ideas expats have an exploratory streak that makes them inherently innovative. This tendency is characteristic of entrepreneurs. Other than making you more valuable to an employer an overseas work experience can make you much better prepared to start your own business venture.
Having an overseas experience on your CV sends a credible signal to a prospective employer that you are an independent and innovative person. It proves that you enjoy trying new things and exploring new ways of doing things. It is an indication of your creativity and adaptability. It also shows that you are professionally capable and culturally sensitive. Getting a job abroad can boost your career in surprising ways.