Instead of sitting in your cubicle, daydreaming about watching the sun set over the Mediterranean, why not pursue it? International careers are out there, but you won’t get them through wishing and hoping.
Don’t waste your twenties playing it safe. If you want to work abroad, now is the time.
Figure Out What You Want
The first step is determining what you want. Figure out your goals based on your specific desires.
Is your heart set on a particular city? If so, you will have to adapt to that particular job market. Do you want to stay within your field? Then find out what country is hiring in your industry. Knowing exactly what you are looking for will make the process much easier.
Learn the Language
Once you have a goal in mind, make sure you have all the skills you need to make it happen. Trying to get a job abroad without learning the language would be like trying to hit a homerun without a bat.
If your desired destination speaks a foreign language, you need to become fluent. Don’t bother applying for a job in Japan if you don’t speak Japanese.
Learning another language can considerably widen your career possibilities. In 2010, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that “just 18 percent of Americans report speaking a language other than English.”
Applying for an international position means that you’ll be competing against international applicants. Native applicants already know the language and the culture, which means you will have to work even harder to surpass them.
Do the Research
Moving to another country takes time and research. You need to know visa requirements, necessary vaccinations, housing options, and many other details. If you get an opportunity, don’t let it get squandered because of improper paperwork. Get your affairs in order as soon as possible.
Remember to take the country’s culture into consideration when preparing for an interview. Another country may have customs that you are unfamiliar with. Learn them. Find out everything from the best greeting to how people in that area dress.
If you are interviewing over the phone or through a videoconference, the same rules apply. Prove that you have an in-depth understanding of the job, the company, and the workplace conditions of the country.
Don’t Stop Learning
Curiosity is a trait that sets the jetsetters apart from the people who have never left their hometown. International job-seekers need to know the language, the economy and geography of their destination. Cultivating this knowledge is much easier if you have an inquisitive mind.
When you have an insatiable appetite for learning, one city, one country, or one opportunity will never be enough. Making the most of your desire for knowledge will help your international career prospects. Keep abreast of what is going on abroad and grow your worldwide network.
Absorb the Experience
Everything you learn while planning your international career will pale in comparison to the actual experience. If you get your dream job, don’t waste your chance to immerse yourself in the country. Become a local, both at work and in your free time.
Working abroad will make you more marketable in any job market, so what are you waiting for? Take that poster of the Eiffel Tower off of your cubicle wall and go after the real thing.
Erin Palmer is a contributor for U.S. News University Directory. Erin writes about topics like business careers, online graduate programs and career planning tips. You can follow Erin on Twitter @Erin_E_Palmer.
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Category: Personal Branding