Saturday, 14 November 2015

The Universal Candidate

 “The key to becoming internationally employable is an open mind – you need to be ready to accept different cultures and to prove that your personality is able to adjust to what is likely to be a very challenging disruption to your usual way of life.“
Alison J. Morgan, Director, Global Recruitment Solutions (UK) Ltd.
Specialised global recruitment agency

Of the 21,950 expats surveyed in our latest Expat Explorer report, more than 10,000 moved because of their careers. So if you’re looking for a job abroad – you’re in good company.

But finding work overseas can be tough. It is important to remember that your pool of competition expands to the entire planet - not just your local area. To stand out in a crowd of worthy candidates, you need to ensure that your CV is the best it can be by globalising your employability. You need to maximise your international desirability so employers are eager to hire you, regardless of where you’re from.


Be careful not to suffer from tunnel vision when putting together your portfolio for applications abroad – work experience is not the single defining characteristic. A number of factors come into play including personality, enthusiasm, a track record of hard work and a willingness to adapt to foreign cultures. Employers will be looking for a candidate with the perfect character match just as much as (if not more than) a candidate with all the right skills.

Creative Commons | Unsplash

Some crucial characteristics include the ability to demonstrate a mature open-mindedness towards embracing new cultures, as well as being ready to enter a new country with a clean slate. You mustn’t base expectations on your place of origin – especially in a new business environment. Employers will be wary of importing staff they think might clash with their current team. Being a ‘cultural chameleon’ is probably the most valuable skill to have when considering a life abroad.

Digging a little deeper into the specification of the ideal global recruit – the feature which stands above the rest is adaptability. You must be able to make any zone your comfort zone regardless of country, culture or language. Of course language may prove to be a barrier at first so employers will be looking for applicants who won’t be fazed by such a challenge, whilst also providing the assurance that learning the language will be made a priority upon arrival. The perfect candidate will be able to communicate their thoughts and ideas through a variety of intuitive visual and interactive mediums.

67% of expats who moved to improve their job prospects now have more disposable income.
-          Expat Explorer Survey Results

Naturally it is also important to be able to back up your application with a CV that represents a wealth of experience in the field that you’re applying for. You need to persuade someone that bringing you into their business from a different country is the best option– if your skills and professional experiences tick every box of the criteria for their role you’ll already have one foot in the door. All that’s left to do is prove that you’re able to apply those skills in a fresh cultural setting. 

Creative Commons | Pexels

Experience of travelling around other countries will stand you in good stead when promoting yourself as a universally desirable candidate. The ability to say that you’ve already worked in another country is second to none. Even demonstrating that you’ve travelled around the world and experienced different ways of life will show that the process of adopting a new culture won’t take so long, because you already have an enlightened perspective of the world.

If you can’t support up your application with international experiences then give examples of when you’ve been able to adapt to new environments or places of work. Perhaps you moved away from home to work in a new city, or maybe you went through an interesting career change.

Ultimately, to become internationally employable you need to show that your personality and skill set is not confined to the borders of your home country. Once you are able to do this, you will be ready for the process of finding the right location to start your new life abroad.

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