Tips for working internationally – what will make your CV stand out?

Higher earnings, quicker career progression or the excitement of a new challenge are just some of the potential attractions of making your next career move an international one. However, when applying for that dream job abroad, your pool of competition extends beyond just the local area to the whole world, making it that much more difficult to get noticed. How, then, do you make your CV stand out from the rest in the global jobs market?
As with any job application, having the right skillset, experience and track record will stand you in very good stead. However, work experience is not always the single most important thing employers will be looking for. With culture – both at home and at work – varying greatly from country to country, an important question employers will ask will be: “How well will this person fit in here?”
At work, expectations will differ in different countries, and employers will be concerned about importing a new member of staff who might upset the balance among the current team. With that in mind, one of the most valuable traits an international job applicant can possess is adaptability.
One of the first challenges you’re likely to face as an international recruit will be the language barrier. If you don’t already speak it, demonstrating a willingness to learn the new language as a priority will help make your application that bit better than the rest. If you are already multi-lingual – even if your second language differs vastly from the one spoken locally – be sure to highlight this in your application to show off your aptitude for adapting to a new tongue. With communication being one of the most important factors in managerial and business success, learning the local language should be a priority for any expat looking to progress their career abroad.
Of course, international differences extend beyond just the language spoken, and a willingness to adapt to these new challenges will also be important in winning over recruiters. Experience of working abroad is without doubt the best way to prove that you won’t be fazed by a new and unfamiliar culture but, failing that, being able to say that you’ve travelled the world and embraced different ways of life will also demonstrate these same valuable qualities.
While there’s no substitute for experience, a proven track record of success is worth nothing if it can’t be repeated when faced with the fresh challenges working abroad can bring. Ultimately, the successful international candidate will be able to demonstrate that they can apply the relevant skills and experience that they’ve honed and developed in their home country in a new cultural environment.
With nearly half of respondents in the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey moving abroad because of their career, it’s certainly a popular choice. Of these, 67% now report a higher disposable income than in their country of origin. What’s more, progressing your career abroad represents an opportunity to truly embrace and get to grips with a stimulating and exciting culture first-hand.
So if that’s the kind of opportunity that appeals to you, you’re likely to do well as an international applicant. Communicate this enthusiasm in your application, combined with your expertise and experience, and you’ll be head and shoulders above the rest.
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Information correct at time of publication.