In our articles on moving abroad we talk at length about the mental and emotional implication of an expatriate assignment. However, there is also a lot to say about the professional implications of becoming an expatriate and spending some time abroad. Whether it’s on an assignment of a few months or a few years, expats benefit from what they learn abroad.
Of course, you need to play your cards right. Your boss may not offer you any expatriate benefits unless you ask for it. The same applies to discussing your position within your company. An expatriate assignment may qualify you for a promotion upon your return. However, this could be up to your negotiation skills.
One of the less tangible expatriate benefits is the fact that an assignment will improve some skills you might need in the workplace. For example, you often learn a new language and perhaps even become fluent in it. Once you return to your company’s headquarters, this may make you a top-notch candidate for a new position higher up the management ladder.
If you should decide to change employers, an additional foreign language – especially a less common one – looks very good on your CV. Even if you are self-employed, this knowledge might help you acquire new clients or different projects.
Sergej (43) profited greatly from his three-year expatriate assignment in Tokyo.
“Barely anyone spoke Japanese or was familiar with the Japanese way of doing business. Before, I was just one guy in sales promotion,” he remembers. “Then – bam! All of a sudden, I was in charge of a whole team since Russian trading companies are seeking to increase foodstuff shipments to the Asian markets.”
But even those former expatriates who return back home and have to start all over again will soon notice how their career benefits from their time abroad. Their language proficiency significantly improves their chances of finding a well-paid job. Companies that operate internationally can always benefit from an employee with fluency in one or even more foreign languages.
During your assignment abroad, you will most likely acquire new professional qualifications as well. Your time as an expatriate can give you the chance of working in a field or on a project you wouldn’t have been able to explore in your home country.
Whatever your reasons for moving overseas may be, you should also spend this time abroad to learn as much in your new workplace as you can. An expatriate benefits from the additional experience he or she gains in their chosen field, providing them with a new focus and more relevant details to add to their CV.