Imagine learning about new cultures, customs and local business practices in an exotic location and calling this “work”.
The dream of working overseas in the finance sector is alive for many, so it pays to be aware of the mixed challenges and benefits of getting overseas experience before you actually take the leap.
Keep these 7 tips in mind:
1. Fast-track your career – Overseas experience might expose you to high-profile projects that wouldn't otherwise be available in your home country, or you may be offered more responsibility in a global organisation than at home. Financial hotspots are emerging rapidly in the Asia Pacific region, tempting professionals with excellent career prospects and potentially, the challenge of a different culture.
2. Improve your CV – Moving to another country, getting overseas experience and applying your skills in a new context can highlight your adaptability, flexibility and readiness to embrace new ways of working – all excellent skills to emphasise in your CV. You’ll be exposed to interesting and challenging opportunities like learning about new business practices, immersing yourself in a new culture and language with all of its communication nuances, and building up a strong network of international contacts.
3. Highlight your flexiblity – In large multinationals, a willingness to relocate is often essential for new hires. If you're not open to the possibility of an international move, you could potentially close doors on job opportunities in a company. A willingness to get overseas experience in a role may be in your job description or touched on during interviews, and keeping an open mind to these possibilities shows flexibility and passion for the role.
4. Choose transferrable skills – Yes, go out and see the world, but make sure your overseas experience is transferrable back home when you return to your own country. In finance, your ability to practice in the Asia Pacific region is often contingent on specific qualifications and compliance with local tax systems. Similarly, qualifications from home may not be recognised in every foreign country, so make sure you’re legally certified and licenced to work in the country that interests you before you apply for an opportunity there.
5. Remember, soft skills count– To successfully transfer your skills to an overseas opportunity, you'll need to display top plain-English communication skills, the ability to persuade and influence, people management skills, and competence in public speaking and presenting – alongside the technical abilities and qualifications that are usually expected of a finance professional.
6. Show stability – Although overseas experience in the finance sector is an excellent selling point on your CV, it’s useful to show you’ve held committed roles for reasonable lengths of time, rather than a series of short-term stints, to show you’re a worthwhile investment and you can add long-term value to a company.
7. Mix it up – An ideal CV will show experience both at home and abroad, rather than focusing on foreign experience alone. Your employer will want to see that you understand local compliance, legislation and protocols as much as they’ll appreciate overseas experience and the passion it shows for your career.