How to Land an International Role
Make no mistake about it, in the UK we’re in uncertain times. Because of that you need to plan ahead and consider your options to keep your career moving in the right direction.
A study by McKinsey reported that 76% of senior managers surveyed believed their organisation needed to develop their global leadership capabilities. So, making yourself of interest to recruiters and head-hunters who have global or international roles to fill, becomes an important option.
Getting noticed by recruiters
Generally, if international recruiters don’t know about you already, they’re only going to find you in one of two ways; via LinkedIn or through a third party. So, since you’re looking to work internationally, you need to do something to get their attention.
- Critique and refresh your personal marketing collateral, especially your LinkedIn profile, to repackage yourself. Pay particular attention to where you can substitute words and phrases or insert new information to present a more international profile. If you have the necessary paperwork to work elsewhere, mention it.
- Reactivate your network and get in touch with people who can help you. Whether by giving you insights on what the hot topics are, the skills the industry or sector is looking for, or by making introductions to people in their network; their help can be invaluable. Remember, you know them, but not who they know – don’t make the mistake of assuming they cannot help! They will however need direction so think about the questions you want to ask them (not “do you know anyone who can give me a job!”). It is that second and third-degree connection that you’re interested in.
- Take an international secondment. While most large companies have a global presence, not many of their senior team will have lived, worked and operated in more than one country. You will be one of a small group of people with this skill once you’ve returned. If that’s not possible, what about taking a sabbatical and volunteering in the country you’re interested in moving to. You can use this time to connect with local recruitment agents in that country.
Grow your international network
Today it is much easier to keep in contact globally, so take advantage of technology to connect internationally.
- Attend events and seminars around globalisation. Follow international thought leaders in your field and get involved in discussions where you have an opinion and or strength. You’ll become interesting and potentially useful to others because of what or who you know.
- Position yourself as a thought leader; start commenting or writing articles on relevant topics to raise your profile. You don’t have to be a journalist, you just need to know what you want to say, who your audience is and how to say it. Like most things you can train yourself, get someone to train you or get someone to ghost write for you.
Make yourself more attractive
According to Randstad Sourceright 59% of companies were planning on hiring people with the desired skills rather than invest in upskilling their existing employees to meet their business needs.
- Gain an internationally recognised certification or qualification. This could be general, such as an MBA or NED, or subject specific within the functional discipline that you operate in. Check out any relevant governing body or trade association for the courses or qualifications they recommend. How to become a NED
- Learn a language to become multilingual. Not all languages are equal, some are more in demand than others. Japanese, Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese, Arabic, Korean, German or Russian will give you even more of an edge in business and global affairs according to goabroad.com
- Enhance your current skill set so that you can take on a broader role. Use the premise of your appraisal to identify initiatives and projects in areas that are proving difficult to resource or get off the ground. While these may not immediately link to your current role, they will benefit your employer and also you in the long term. Depending on how removed this is from your role, it may mean working on them in your own time.
Develop within your organisation
Deloitte, in their recent Global Human Capital report, cited that 47% of those surveyed thought building new career models and skills as very important. However, the majority had no strategy in place to achieve that, so currently the onus is very much on the individual to be proactive and be the driver.
- Consider a role swop. Let people know you’re up for a change by putting forward a business case on the benefits to the business for people to be skilled in more than one area. It does not necessarily have to be overseas, although that would be ideal, it could be in another part of the business that has international scope or elements.
- Develop yourself into a subject matter expert; become the go to person. This could be initially within your organisation and will make you more attractive to other employers. Look for areas that are relevant across multiple business silos, sectors and geographies to maximise your appeal.
Get some help
We know you’re busy and that your career is important to you. Here at Appleby Associates we work with individuals who, possibly like you, are re-evaluating their options and are looking for the right kind of professional support to help them. If you want to discuss your specific situation and see how we can help, contact us.
What happens if you’re contacted with a role?
If you’re in the fortunate position to be contacted by a recruiter or head-hunter with an international brief, all you need to do is reassure them that you’re the right solution for their client. To do that you need to very quickly:
- Identify where you can add value because of your specific skill set.
- Articulate how you’re a good fit based on your relevant knowledge and experience.
- Plan for negative questions that you might get asked and have strategies that you can use to reassure as opposed to justify.
Futureproof your career Event “International roles, how to get them and what to consider before accepting one”
Join Catherine Barton, Director of Barton Insights and an award-winning trainer and coach along with Simon Watt, an International HR Director who specialises in helping organisations line-up the Leadership Talent as they share their insights for securing and managing international roles.
There are no guarantees, but you still win
OK, so none of these are necessarily quick wins, and there’s no guarantee that doing any of the above will secure you that dream overseas position. However, all of them, in some shape or form, will make you more attractive to both your current organisation and to potential suitors. Either way not a bad runner up prize!
For practical advice on how to land and international role contact us to discuss how we can help you navigate that journey.