When you leave University with a shiny degree and debt following you around like a bad smell, you’re faced with a few options. Graduate jobs and postgraduate degrees may attract some, but for others, a move abroad will be the next step. The problem is that it can sometimes feel like you have to choose between enjoying your youth and having a career.
You don’t have to sacrifice your potential earnings to see the world. The truth is that international travel can make you an attractive candidate when you come to begin your career. This is why you should firstly and most importantly not sabotage your chances by claiming health insurance for abroad before doing anything else.
It’s important to remember that some industries value employees who have been around the block a bit, so if your CV lands next to somebody’s who has never left their hometown, you could be the next newbie in the office.
Finance chiefs – and those who hire them – agree that having overseas experience on a CV is the key to a corner office in today’s global marketplace. Travel and living abroad breeds a lot of qualities that you can’t develop sitting in an office in Hull. Living in another country offers unrivalled life experiences that will translate in the board room, and it shouldn’t be overlooked as a viable move to further your career.
While serving shots for a season in Ibiza might put some prospective employers off, more meaningful travel can make you an interesting candidate. Volunteering at an Elephant Nature Park or working with an NGO in Botswana sets you apart from the other applicants and marks you as someone to watch.
The ability to navigate the challenges that living in another country throws at you makes you an attractive candidate – particularly if it’s something your boss hasn’t done.
Evidence that you have planned and executed a move abroad shows that you are resourceful and use your initiative. You aren’t afraid to try things that others would shy away from, and this is an increasingly appealing quality for bosses in creative industries such as Public Relations or TV production. If you have travelled or lived abroad, you will have learned when to stick to the rules and when they can be abandoned, and this gives you an edge in a pool of talented applicants.
Living abroad also shows you have a certain level of adaptability. Figuring out how to fit in with your surroundings mean you will integrate with the team easily and won’t cause rifts in the office. You will embrace changes in the business rather than act as a resistant force, inspiring your colleagues to mirror your enthusiasm. After all, expats and travellers have to be good at networking to get by abroad.
Living abroad can signal a wide perspective that bosses love and show that, once you start something, you commit to making it work. This will help you to be considered for challenging assignments in future.
Make sure you talk about travel positively in a job interview. Explain what it taught you about yourself and the world. Just be careful not to wax lyrical about how superior the country you left is to the one you’re in now – that’s a major red flag to employers that you’re likely to jump ship given the opportunity.
Consider how your international experience can be applied to your new job and the workplace in general. Language skills for companies with international offices or clients are a big plus.
Experience of travelling or living abroad breeds an international outlook that aligns you with global companies’ goals. This could be what bags you a job that caters to your wanderlust.
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