Like any job, international jobs have their advantages and disadvantages, positives and negatives, ups and downs. Some people are fortunate enough to find jobs they really love. Many become obsessed with their work to the exclusion of all other interests and pursuits.
Most people, however, find jobs that are okay but nothing particularly special or exciting. They are not unhappy with their jobs nor are they particularly happy with them. To many, a job is a job is a job; its advantages outweigh possible disadvantages of not having the job at all.
However, we do know what leads to job search success both at home and abroad. Success is determined by more than just a good plan getting implemented. It is not predetermined nor is it primarily achieved by intelligence, thinking big, time management, or luck. Based upon experience, theory, research, and common sense, we believe you will achieve career planning success by following many of these 20 principles:
- You should work hard at finding an international job: Make this a daily endeavor and involve your family. Spend the necessary time conducting research on organizations offering international opportunities as well as networking among those who operate within the international job arena.
- You should not be discouraged with setbacks: You are playing the odds, so expect disappointments and handle them in stride. You will get many "no's" before finding the one "yes" which is right for you. Expect to receive twice as many rejections for international jobs than for domestic jobs simply because of the more competitive nature of international jobs.
- You should be patient and persevere: Expect three to six months of hard work before you connect with the international job that's right for you.
- You should be honest with yourself and others: Honesty is always the best policy, but don't be naive and stupid by confessing your negatives and shortcomings to others.
- You should develop a positive attitude toward yourself and others: Nobody wants to employ guilt-ridden people with inferiority complexes. At the same time, neither do they want to hire self-centered individuals. Focus on your positive characteristics as well as the employer's needs.
- You should associate with positive and successful people: Finding an international job largely depends on how well you relate to others and how effectively you engage your networking skills. Avoid associating with negative and depressing people who complain and
- You should set goals: You should have a clear idea of what you want and where you are going. Without these, you will present a confusing and indecisive image to others. Clear goals help direct your job search into productive channels. Moreover, setting high goals will help make you work hard in getting what you want.
- You should plan: Convert your goals into action steps that are organized as short, intermediate, and long-range plans.
- You should get organized: Translate your plans into activities, targets, names, addresses, telephone numbers, and materials. Develop an efficient and effective filing system and use a large calendar for setting time targets and recording appointments and useful information.
- You should be a good communicator: Take stock of your oral, written, and verbal and nonverbal communication skills. How well do you communicate? Since most aspects of your job search involve communicating with others, and communication skills are one of the most sought-after skills, always present yourself well both verbally and nonverbally.
- You should be energetic and enthusiastic: Employers are attracted to positive people. They don't like negative and depressing people who toil at their work. Generate enthusiasm both verbally and nonverbally. Check on your telephone voiceit may be less enthusiastic than your voice in face-to-face situations.
- You should ask questions: Your best information comes from asking questions. Learn to develop intelligent questions that are non-aggressive, polite, and interesting to others. But don't ask too many questions.
- You should be a good listener: Being a good listener is often more important than being a good questioner and talker. Learn to improve your face-to-face listening behavior (nonverbal cues) as well as remember and use information gained from others. Make others feel they enjoyed talking with you, because you are one of the few people who actually listens to what they say.
- You should be polite, courteous, and thoughtful: Treat gatekeepers, especially receptionists and secretaries, like human beings. Avoid being aggressive or too assertive. Try to be polite, courteous, and gracious. Your social graces are being observed. Remember to send thank-you lettersa very thoughtful thing to do in a job search. Even if rejected, thank employers for the "opportunity" given to you. After all, they may later have additional opportunities, and they will remember you.
- You should be tactful: Watch what you say to others about other people and your background. Don't be a gossip, back-stabber, or confessor.
- You should maintain a professional stance: Be neat in what you do and wear, and speak with the confidence, authority, and maturity of a professional.
- You should demonstrate your intelligence and competence: Present yourself as someone who gets things done and achieves resultsa producer.
- You should not overdo your job search: Don't engage in overkill and bore everyone with your "job search" stories. Achieve balance in everything you do. Occasionally take a few days off to do nothing related to your job search. Develop a system of incentives and rewardssuch as two free days a week, if you accomplish targets A, B, C, and D.
- You should be open-minded and keep an eye open for "luck": Too much planning can blind you to unexpected and fruitful opportunities. You should welcome serendipity. Learn to re-evaluate your goals and strategies. Seize new opportunities if they appear appropriate.
- You should evaluate your progress and adjust: Take two hours once every two weeks and evaluate what you are doing and accomplishing. If necessary, tinker with your plans and reorganize your activities and priorities. Don't become too routinized and thereby kill creativity and innovation.
This means you may have to work twice as hard in overcoming the rejections. If you are unable to deal with rejections as part of the game, you will be headed for trouble. Try to turn negatives into positives. Learn from them, leave them, but remember them as stepping stones to future acceptances.
have a ''you-can't-do-it" attitude. Run with winners who have a positive "can-do" outlook on life.
Employers generally seek people who are, bright, hard working, responsible, can communicate well, have positive personalities, maintain good interpersonal relations, are likeable, observe dress and social codes, take initiative, are talented, possess expertise in particular areas, use good judgment, are cooperative, trustworthy, and loyal, generate confidence and credibility, and are conventional. In other words, they like people who score in the "excellent" to "outstanding" categories of the annual performance evaluation. Many want God!
These principles should provide you with an initial orientation for starting your international job search. As you become more experienced, you will develop your own set of operating principles that should work for you in particular employment situations.