International Business Career Advice

by Kalin on

Below are 7 tips to help you navigate the first few years of your international business career: 

1. Keep current- Stay abreast of world news, trends and social progressions that pertain to the area and industry in which you work. It is easy to lose track of what’s happening back home when you’re afar, however, it is critical to do so in order remain knowledgeable and appear in control. 

2. Get feedback-  Ask your supervisors, colleagues, family and friends how you’re faring in the various responsibilities you’ve taken on. Talk to your boss about how well the new project you’re helping to implement is being received. Check in with your mom to ensure you’re doing a sufficient job of keeping in touch. They all go hand in hand, make sure you get an alternative perspective on your performance. 

3. Continually improve and enrich yourself. Whether this consists of reading books related to the political environment in which you live or reviewing case studies on the industry in which you work, constantly bolstering your knowledge will only be an asset to you in the future. Are there any skills you notice some colleagues have that you don’t? Obtain the proper training in order to remain competitive. Living in a region that’s multi-lingual in languages you aren’t fluent in? Take steps to learn some basic conversational words or work to enhance and practice what you already know. The more seamlessly you can assimilate into your environment, the more professional you will appear to others and subsequently, the more content and satisfied you will be on a personal level. 

4. Find a mentor. Seek out someone more senior that you truly respect and admire, who holds a a similar position to what you aspire to have one day. This is an important relationship to cultivate as they’ll be able to give valuable advice and will be likely to go to bat for you when necessary. 

5. Learn from your competition and don’t turn them into enemies. You’ve heard the expression “don’t burn bridges,” well this is important at any career stage, but especially at the beginning. You have many years in your future for the destruction of a relationship to come back to haunt you. Many of those just starting out in their careers don’t see the potential value in someone they have a current conflict with, but as painful as it may be in the moment, doing your best to be respectful and cordial to this person may pay off down the road. It’s just too important to not do. 

6 . Do your homework. Know what any position you’re vying for entails,  be able to answer a spontaneous question your supervisor asks you regarding your current assignment and study the location in which you hope to live and work. The proper due diligence, whatever the matter, is critical to remaining ahead and staying on point.

7. Travel! Working in an international business capacity, it is inevitable you will accrue some mileage. Being as well traveled personally as you can is not only important for strengthening your smarts while on the move ( think experience dealing with canceled flights, lost luggage, language barriers and driving on the opposite side of the road) but to witness as many locations and cultures as possible. The more places you’ve been, the greater your knowledge will be about where you’d like to someday work and will also allow you to rule out a few places you most definitely would not.

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