60% of employers consider international experience when hiring and promoting employees, according to the International Institute of Education. Spending an extended time abroad forces you to immerse yourself in culture and it’s no easy feat. Moving overseas requires flexibility, the ability to take calculated risks, and networking skills - all valuable skills for the workplace. If you didn’t have them before jumping on the plane, you’re sure to develop them abroad.
Language immersion, study abroad, and internships are all looked upon favorably by hiring managers. But of all the countries in the world, where should you go? A 2017 DHL customer survey found that 33% of respondents indicated that Asia was their highest priority global market. If you’re looking to be a competitive candidate among hundreds of applicants, you can be sure your time spent in Asia will pique interest for all the right reasons.
Learn the Language
Knowing the native language of your target market is a huge advantage. The ability to communicate with others will absolutely allow you to contribute to the development of business by expanding their reach. A majority of Asian business people learn English as the standard business language, so learning their language in turn shows dedication to understanding their culture and customs and instills trust in foreign consumers and partners.
Also, being bilingual has tremendous cognitive benefits. Studies show that bilinguals tend to be better decision makers, task managers, and are not as easily distracted as their monolingual counterparts. Not only is your employer getting someone who can directly interact with their target market, but a solid employee who can contribute ideas and follow through.
Travel is life’s teacher, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to learn from a professor. Being abroad doesn’t mean traditional education doesn’t have its place. With so many study abroad options, there’s no reason not to take advantage.
One option is to study for a TEFL certification. Teaching English abroad is a lucrative way to grow your career while traveling full-time. Maybe you’re interested in opening a business on an island off the coast; if so, consider studying business management and economics. Courses for travelers interested in healthcare, anthropology, journalism, and many others are also available to boost the “Education” and “International Experience” sections on your resume.
International internships are the perfect way to gain real experience. Program placements are with real small businesses and entrepreneurs who act as your mentor. While you use your academic knowledge and work experience to contribute to the business, mentors provide insight and guidance to understanding the industry and business practices in their country.
Legal recruiter and career development specialist, Ethel Badawi, says that on a resume you should focus on results over duties. Talk about how you helped to contribute to the growth of the business as an intern. For example, instead of saying you “Assisted with translating services” you could write “Assisted an average of 10 clients per day with full translation services.” Including the number of clients can portray the extent to which you assisted.
Spending a significant time abroad, specifically in Asia, can boost your resume to the top of the applicant pile. Employers are eager to recruit candidates with the skills and experience they need to expand their businesses. If you haven’t already, take the leap; learn a new language; watch the doors of opportunity open for you.