3 Reasons Your Career Needs Global Experience

Mark Horoszowski

Mark is the Co-founder of MovingWorlds.org, a global platform connecting people who want to volunteer their expertise with social impact organizations.

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Think back to when you were deciding to work at the company you’re working at. Think back to any time that you were being recruited…

Did the prospect of an international rotation sound appealing?

What about a sabbatical?

What about enough vacation to go traveling internationally?

Those things all sounded great. Almost too good to be true…

But did you do it?

While international work experiences are a key recruiting tool, it turns out that most professionals don’t actually end up taking them. Too bad, it would do a lot for their careers – and yours. Here are three reasons you should take the global experience:

1. Stand Out

The Harvard Business Review consistently writes about the importance of global experiences, highlighting that overseas assignments are considered “a rite of passage for up-and-coming executives.” They are not seen as gap years, vacations, or slacking, they are seen as formative experiences. And, according to the 2010 Global Financial Employment Monitor, a report published by the world’s largest specialized staffing firm Robert Half International:

“A majority of the 6,300 top executives surveyed feel that a candidate with a better understanding of global markets is given more serious consideration before being appointed to higher level positions.”

2. Develop Leadership Skills

And beyond going overseas, international assignments highlight more than just global experience. They exhibit key leadership traits of innovation, passion, adaptability, and ability to function in ambiguous environments.  According to Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, a senior adviser a leading executive search firm, promotes non-linear career paths are essential to develop core skills sets because:

“The world of work is increasingly complex—uncertain and volatile, global and diverse—and information is easier to access. As a result, experience and knowledge are less relevant, whereas the capacities to learn and adapt, be resilient, and connect with others have become more crucial.”

Maya Frost, author of The New Global Student, share a similar stance:

“Experience abroad–whether it’s study, volunteer, internship or work–can provide a tremendous boost in terms of both personal development and career options. “

 3. Stay Inspired

Ask anybody about their international travel and or volunteer experience and you’ll hear phrases like

“Life-changing!”
“Amazing!”
“Incredible!”
“Inspiring”

Beyond that, according to a report from Northwestern University, corporations notice increased engagement and performance from their inspired employees.

And as it turns out, disruption might be exactly what you need in order to get to the next level in your career, at least according to this great video by Whitney Johnson at the Harvard Business Review.

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