This post was written by an external contributor. Sarah Wilson discusses why you should consider moving abroad for the sake of your employability.
We all know one. The year abroad students, with their aperol spritzes and enviable language skills and Instagram feeds. We’ve all been sat in the library at some point looking jealously at their lives in a new country and thinking I wish I could do that. So, if you didn’t get the chance to take the plunge during your time at uni, why not afterwards?
Taking a job in a foreign country isn’t only a chance to get some new scenery, but it can actually be a great career move, setting you up nicely for any future roles (UK based or not) you might take on. Read on for 5 reasons why you might want to consider it:
Of course, this is the most obvious benefit of moving abroad, whether for a job or not. Picking up a new language whilst living abroad can open a number of doors for you career-wise that may have been closed before; translation and language teaching being just a couple of examples.
Learning a new language abroad also makes you more employable both in that country and in the UK. If you decide to return, having a language on your CV looks very impressive to employers, even if those language skills aren’t a job requirement. The perseverance it takes to pick up a language is a highly desirable quality whatever field you end up in.
Speaking of employability, moving abroad is a huge test of your interpersonal skills. It’s inevitable that you’ll be interacting in your job with people from all kinds of different countries and cultures, and the skills it takes to communicate and cooperate in the workplace with these people set you in great stead for the rest of your working life.
Studies have even shown that those who move abroad gain confidence and a better sense of themselves as a result of the experience, and as everybody knows, confidence plays a huge role in the ability to land yourself that dream job, career or promotion.
Preparedness for difficult situations
Maybe it’s something small – like miscommunicating with a delivery driver and ending up with ten pizzas instead of one. Or maybe it’s big, like a housing contract falling through or winding up lost with nobody who speaks your language around you.
Experiencing problems abroad can often be twice as difficult as experiencing them at home due to language and culture barriers, as well as the unfamiliarity of a new place. Your resilience in handling these situations well is something that looks impressive to future employers, as well as giving you some great answers to interview questions like “how do you handle crisis situations?”
Working abroad introduces you to a whole different world of business models and working culture. Maybe you take a siesta period in the afternoon, or perhaps you work crazy hours and only get home at 11pm.
Whatever the situation, working abroad will give you a perspective on working life at home, allowing you – especially if you’re in your early career – to work out what style and culture suits you best. This means more well-informed decisions about what roles you do – or don’t – decide to take on in the future.
If you’ve lived in the UK for a long time, it’s almost certain you’ve already built up a good network of contacts at home. Those contacts are always going to be there – so why not expand your horizons and window of opportunity by building up a network of contacts abroad? This means in the future, you’ll have the option to work in both places rather than just one.
If you’ve just graduated or are a recent graduate remember that a graduate scheme isn’t the only route available to you. There’s no time better than now to give moving abroad a go; so pack your bags and we’ll see you at the airport!