Don’t Discount Your International Experience

International Expertise I’m always surprised when international clients, whether based in the U.S. or abroad, try to diminish their international experience on their resumes.

That’s because in many cases, international experience is a benefit.

In fact, follow the work of Heidrick & Struggles CEO L. Kevin Kelly and you’ll find that his suggestion that cultural quotient, or CQ, is as important as IQ and EQ in today’s increasingly global economy.

(Google “Davos 2013: End of the expat model and the start of the Cultural Quotient model” for an insightful article that copyright doesn’t allow me to include here. Readers of my blog would do well to follow Heidrick & Struggles on LinkedIn, Twitter, and elsewhere.)

Indeed, if you’ve lived, worked, or traveled internationally–depending on your professional seniority–that’s experience that can set you apart as international companies look at global growth.

In my practice, I often find that people with international experience, however, try to Americanize their histories. To downplay their international backgrounds.

Consider these clues from my practice. International clients routinely:

  • Hold advanced degrees from some of the world’s finest schools
  • Speak at least two, and often multiple languages
  • Understand cultural norms and distinctions in multiple countries

So why do so many want to sweep that work under the rug? Why don’t they instead use their backgrounds to, indeed, make them more marketable?

Based on my work, I’ve come to believe that human nature tricks us into considering that an experience to be ordinary once it is achieved.

I’ve ghost written for professionals who studied at some of the world’s most esteemed schools, and today work inside the world’s most influential institutions, and it holds true.

People tend to downplay their experience (much less international experience) as just what they do.

Well how about just what you do isn’t like just what someone else does, so the onus is on you to make the distinction evident.

In fact, stepping outside the international / cultural focus for a moment, some of a professional’s most latent experiences, contributions—and even perceived limitations—can become his or her greatest virtues and selling points once the right audience is identified. (Which is why a long-range stealth job search is a good idea as your seniority increase. Positions don’t appear overnight, and most certainly not through job boards.)

Make more of your international experience.

If you bring international work, travel, and / or living experience to the table, don’t downplay it.

How can someone who’s rarely been abroad effectively navigate a business development meeting in Tokyo, negotiate a deal in Buenos Aires, or see all sides of the risk equation in Hong Kong when s/he can’t properly hail a cab in the city in question? 

Define yourself, niche yourself, to the point where you not only command top dollar, but top dollar comes to you. It finds you. (Another reason to be on LinkedIn well ahead of any intention of leaving your existing company, and “Why It’s Smart to Take Recruiter Calls.”)

Here’s what the retained executive search giant Spencer Stuart says about “The International Leader.” Consider following Spencer Stuart on LinkedIn and Twitter. You never know when the right opportunity will find you.

Until next time!

Jared Redick

Visit: The Resume
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
Like Us:

Call: 415-397-6640

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: