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  • Writer's pictureJohn Swallow

An International Career?

Need some advice on how to have an International Career?

Recently, I have been asked, how have I worked in so many countries in my career?

It is an exciting challenge with great experiences and opportunities to meet different cultures but is not for everyone, with long hours and arduous travel. Here are a few tips to get started for those considering this challenge:

1. Join a company with opportunities - International companies already present in other countries are the best option, the more the better. There may be other options available if you surf the web but global companies are the easiest option.

2. Prove yourself – No company wants to send a bronze performer to try and spread gold. Talk to those who are the best people in the business and ask them about what they do and how they got there. Then, become one of the best yourself. Win some awards and gain some recognition.

3. Develop yourself - Find out what knowledge and skills you need to have in order to do one of the available roles and put the hours in to learn what you need. Certify and let the company know what you have achieved.

4. Put yourself forward – Apply! Remember, having a specific skill may not be enough without the language but you become a desirable asset if you can define, focus and solve problems combined with persistence and good leadership skills. This will give you the ability to progress to other roles where the local language is not necessarily required.

5. Develop a successor - If you do not do this, you will become more valuable where you are. There you will stay. Find, train and coach someone to take your place. This is sometimes the role that you will deliver in countries anyway. Sometimes, an assignment may be to go in, help the local team overcome a challenge, prepare someone to lead it forward and then leave.

6. Be flexible - If you have dreams of a sunny beach, know that you may not get there immediately. Take the first opportunity offered and prove yourself. You can be more selective later.

I love coaching!

John Swallow


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