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Career advice: International work experience is a standout asset

How to launch your career on the global stage

In today’s globally competitive business world, whether we fully realise it or not, as individuals we are playing on a world stage.

The 21st Century has seen massive change for the world of business and economics. Globalisation has altered the core structure of commerce, and therefore, caused roll on affects within a number of employment fields from business and finance, to marketing and retail.

A “flat world”, as Thomas L. Friedman describes in his book titled, The World Is Flat: A brief History of the Twenty-First Century, means that now, more than ever, employees and employers are working on a level playing field.

The popularisation of technology and increased use of the Internet has given employers access to a wider pool of talent while simultaneously eliminated barriers to doing work overseas.

In this modern world, we’re not only competing with fellow professionals down the hall or even in an interstate office, but with the entire globe. That is why it is imperative — in an effort to stay current, motivated, and attractive — that everyone has equal opportunities to launch their career on the global stage.

Take the opportunity

Historically, annual leave would involve you leaving your work in the office and not thinking about it again until you returned, suntanned and relaxed, three weeks later. Now, however, through social media channels and online tools, you are able to harness a number of international career opportunities while on holidays and share your globetrotting adventures with friends and colleagues.

Last month my employee was in Europe completing work while on a train travelling through the South of France. Geographical barriers are becoming increasingly irrelevant as we experience a shift in the way we work. With the right tools — such as telephone/tablet, WIFI, Dropbox, Skype, and Social Oomph — the only thing potentially standing in the way of an internationally based employee and their employer is time zone differences, although this can sometimes be a benefit.

As a result, the ability to pursue international work is dependent entirely on your own initiative and self-motivation. Whether you’re junior or senior, in finance or in marketing, as long as you have a laptop and Internet connection, you have the opportunity to work on the global stage.

With that in mind, the next time you go on a holiday, think about how you can develop a clear and simple strategy to harness international opportunities. Read online magazines and journals ahead of your flight to gain insight into the international goings-ons within your industry, participate in a workshop or attend events and keynotes while overseas, and publish online blogs and articles to get your name circulating worldwide. 

Launch your international career

A few months ago I read a design book and loved it so much that I sought out the American based author on LinkedIn and Twitter. With my annual holiday booked to visit Los Angeles not long after, I built up the courage to send her a message, letting her know that I would be visiting and would she be kind enough to meet me over a coffee to discuss her book. We met, enjoyed a conversation, and as a result, I was able to secure a useful international contact.

Sometimes, the best way to launch your own international career is to not only reach out to others you admire, but also actually follow up those interactions with action.

Through developing connections and actively participating worldwide — by joining talent pools, meeting people, sharing your knowledge through LinkedIn articles, or contributing to Twitter conversations — you help identify yourself as a global player and establish your international presence.

Become an asset

We are constantly fascinated by the expansive world beyond our home borders.

When we hear of someone who has worked in London, New York or Singapore, we become interested and impressed; questioning: Where has your work taken you? What have you learnt? How did you find those opportunities? Can you assist me in taking my career international?

People who choose to work internationally will forever be an asset to companies and employers because they are in touch with people and cultures and hold a wealth of additional knowledge and skills their peers do not. So, if you have international experience, you will instantly stand out from the crowd.

Your performance on the global stage creates exclusivity and allure. And for good reason: after all, there is something exceptional about being an employee of the globe.

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