In business, everyone is after a competitive advantage. When recruiting, all companies, no matter the industry, are looking for people who can help give them that edge. Ask yourself how you are different from the hundreds or thousands who will be competing against you for the best jobs in your industry. If you are honest with yourself, chances are you won’t likely be happy with your answer. Today, nothing will set you apart the way an international co-op will. Here are just 5 ways it will make you a highly desirable candidate in your career field:
- First, and foremost, when employers look at your résumé and see you have worked abroad, they will be highly intrigued to know what you have learned, in terms of technologies and methodologies that you can bring to their operation, to help set them apart. Whether it is because of knowledge, culture, tradition, reputation, every country is different, and different is what employers are looking for.
- If you have worked abroad, employers will assume that you possess a level of maturity well beyond your years, and that is a huge advantage. Once upon a time, being young presented a huge advantage because companies were hiring for the long term. They were looking to recruit people who were able to give 30 years. This is no longer true; in fact, the opposite is true today, as employers are finding that after a few years, employees become comfortable and are no longer open to change and innovation. Employers are always looking to replenish with new blood. This means that whether you are 18 or 38, employers will hire you, regardless of age, if you can demonstrate you are right for the job. Moreover, all things being equal, employers are more likely to view a 38-year-old as more mature than you. That is, unless you can demonstrate you are mature for your age. Living and working abroad will do just that.
- Having lived and worked abroad, I can tell you that the international network you build is invaluable. When you work abroad, you don’t just meet local people; you meet other people who are doing exactly what you are doing, so you are making connections all over the world. Surely, you have heard it said that networking is the key to success. Robert Kiyosaki said, ‘The richest people in the world look for and build networks. Everyone else looks for work.’ Which do you want to be?
- The importance of having proficiency, knowledge, or even familiarity with a second or third language cannot be understated. Most companies today are doing business on an international level, and need people who can communicate in other languages. Although English is still the international language of business, Mandarin is not far behind, nor is Spanish, Arabic, and Russian. Being able to communicate in any of these languages, even at a basic level, goes a long way in establishing and maintaining good international relationships for a prospective employer.
- Because more companies than ever before are doing business internationally, they are always looking to hire people who don’t mind travelling for work. A former colleague of mine was passed over for positions on a few occasions because they reported a fear of flying. If this sounds like you, you might want to consider seeking treatment to overcome your fear and then make your first trip overseas an international co-op.