International Assignments and Soft SkillsFotolia
Your international assignment can give your life a totally new direction.
Becoming a Valuable Employee
Their global perspective on their field of work and their cultural awareness make employees with overseas work experience gathered on an international assignment valuable for international companies. Employers with multi-cultural teams, or brands and products with a multi-national focus also prefer employees with this kind of experience.
In today’s globalized world, it is essential to work with people – colleagues, clients or business partners– from all kinds of national, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds. International work experience will therefore make you a real asset for every employer and ease your way into another international assignment.
Among other things, an international assignment will give you the opportunity to develop new interpersonal skills. After all, you will be dealing with a different culture, work ethic, business etiquette, and lifestyles when you are on an international assignment. This exposure to a new way of life is something you can benefit from in various ways during and after your international assignment.
It may take you some time to adjust to your new company environment. Still, your international assignment will help you gain and improve some essential soft skills, such as patience, perseverance, flexibility, and communication skills. These qualities are just as important for your employer as any of your hard skills, professional knowledge, and academic qualifications.
The latter are, of course, essential as well. After all, the head of an international petroleum company will not hire you if you are a Music and Theatre major and lack any significant qualifications. If that is the case, it doesn’t matter how well you are suited for international assignments. Still, soft skills are as important as having a diploma and work experience.
Acquiring Intercultural Skills
Hans-Peter (51) works as the head of the human resources department of a big software company in Germany. When he reviews applications for international assignments, he has to keep in mind that the applicant needs to fit in with an international team of co-workers.
We do pay great attention to the international work experience of our applicants. After all, we are working with people from all kinds of cultural backgrounds here. You can really tell the difference. Those who have worked abroad blend in much easier than those who have never left Germany before. They are more readily aware of potential obstacles on an international assignment, and they find more common ground with non-German citizens who may have moved here for work-related reasons.