5 Ways to Progress in Your International Career
If you’re interested in moving ahead in your career, a professional degree is important but it's only the first step; participating on a work experience or internship program is a great way to start to apply your knowledge, but even that may not be enough to get your career started.
To get a better understanding of what it takes to move ahead in a career and achieve the professional success you are looking for, we asked Caroline Woolff, Head of Recruitment, to share some insights from an employer’s perspective. Here are her top 5 tips:
1. Understand what the market wants
Take the time to get to know exactly what your market is looking for, whether it’s professional qualifications or technology and know-how; things change fast. Look through job adverts so you can spot what employers want today. And, if they’re looking for things you don’t have, think about ways you can develop them and make yourself a more attractive prospect to a future employer.
2. Don't underestimate the importance of soft skills
Attitude counts a lot more than you might think and having good soft skills is critical. Your employer will want to know: how well will you communicate with others? Can you communicate across different cultures? Will you have the ability to persuade and influence people? Can you work in a team? These are skills that are hard to teach so you need to demonstrate that you already have these.
The importance of certain soft skills will depend on the level of the role you are applying for. As a manager for example, influencing skills are particularly key. For more junior positions, you are more likely to be assessed on what you know, your positive attitude and your ability to learn new skills.
3. Tailor your cover letter
In addition to a well-written CV, a tailored cover letter will really help your application to stand out. Don’t copy and paste a general template you found online. Understand who you are writing to and make sure the company knows that you understand who you are writing to. Make a reference to something in the company that you like or link things from your own experience to something that the company does. This will turn your letter into a piece of communication that actually says something about you.
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4. Master your English
A good command of the English language is an essential skill in the global job market: you’ll need a good grasp of grammar, a strong base of vocabulary relevant to your professional area, and the confidence to convince recruiters in English that you are a credible candidate who can compete on a level with those whose first language may be English.
Take the time to learn English terminology for your chosen field, whether it’s in engineering, finance, information technology, or any other international field.
5. Build an effective network
Although knowledge and experience are vital for career progression, don’t underestimate the importance of a building your professional network. Word of mouth recommendation is still a great way for employers to find staff and a great way for candidates to find out about jobs so make the most of social media by participating in discussion forums, being an active member on LinkedIn groups, and make an effort to attend events and lunch-and-learn sessions conducted by specialists in your professional area.
Looking to improve your English for better career prospects? Check out our wide variety of Business English courses to find the right fit for you.