Building a Global Career (Part II) – Assembling your Toolbox
In the midst of varying advice and tips, many sources agree on one thing: building a global career takes some planning and preparation. Here, we’ve detailed these in two sections: building your skills and building your experience.
Build your skills
Building your skills is something that you can do from anywhere. Almost all of the sources that we assessed agree that of these skills, building language proficiency specifically is one of the most helpful things one can do in pursuing a global career. As communication is key in business operations and relationship building, Bilingual proficiency will only become more instrumental to employment at home. Outside of language proficiency, it may also be helpful for someone to acquaint themselves with international work and communities at the college level. Typically, one doesn’t have access to international work until they pursue an MA. However, there are many outside electives and opportunities to collaborate with international students and join international teams at the college level to gain fundamental hard and soft skills that are particularly useful for international work (Transitions Abroad). These include writing skills, technical, and multidisciplinary business skills, and so on and so forth. Even outside of academic settings, building knowledge and understanding of culture, norms, and business behaviors of international companies– and being able to incorporate this into your presentation–is a skill in and of itself.
In addition, there are many skills at a less tangible level that are worth building. Often, prospective employees overlook fundamental skills such as creativity, adaptability, persuasiveness, collaboration, and time management. However, depending on one’s aspiring role, these may be equally as important as attaining skills that require technological and computational competence.
No matter where you are, you can develop distinct skills that set you apart. This consists of having localized knowledge with transferable skills and understanding that your difference–how you set yourself apart from others–is your unique value.
Build your experience
While it’s important to build your skillset in carving out a pathway to having a global career, your toolbox should also be equipped with a plethora of experience. One Forbes article discusses the valuable experience working overseas provides- developing new connections, work opportunities, challenges, and more. In accessing this, you can cultivate a slew of experiences (international or not) that demonstrates a corresponding development of flexibility, curiosity, and openness. These extend beyond your experience in previous jobs; internships, co-op positions, volunteer roles, and even gap years, travels, and study abroad experiences can be significant in demonstrating these characteristics. Being able to make the most of your previous experience and extrapolate the parts that are most fundamental to your story and competence is an important part of pitching yourself.
Forbes encourages holding on to a student mindset. Curiosity and a learning mindset allow for quick adaptation and the ability to adapt to cultural gaps. Having experience and–perhaps more importantly–the desire to have more experiences is desired whether you have international experience or not.
At the end of the day, pursuing a global career requires planning and goal setting. Whether you have an abundance of international experience under your belt or are brand new to it, assessing your goals and establishing a 1, 5, and 10-year plan will allow you to assess where you are in your pursuit of development. A Deloitte report states that “Rather than an orderly, sequential progression from job to job, the 21st-century careers can be viewed as a series of developmental experiences, each offering the opportunity to acquire new skills, perspectives, and judgement” (The Workbooth). In this sense, assembling your toolbox is about valuing new experiences and viewing each additional position as an opportunity to grow, getting you closer to your ultimate target.