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Obtaining Employment Abroad May Aid Career Advancement

Obtaining Employment Abroad May Aid Career Advancement

In addition to exposing job seekers to new opportunities that may naturally advance their careers, working abroad can give candidates a leg up on the competition for positions when returning home.

Dan Black, director of campus recruiting for the Americas for Ernst & Young, told Forbes that young job applicants who have experience working overseas in some capacity - be it an internship or volunteer work - have an advantage over other similar candidates.

"We definitely see overseas experience as an advantage," Black, who directs campus hiring for the consulting firm, told the publication. "Our clients are demanding more of us these days. They want diversity of thought and diversity of values, and many of our clients are multinationals."

Particularly, Black notes that experience working in emerging markets such as China and Brazil can make employees a true asset to their companies back home, as they can tend to have the knowledge that proves valuable during times of expansion.

With the role of executives - especially the chief financial officer - changing on a regular basis to reflect a more strategical, global view, such experience can only add to one's resume. For this reason, overseas endeavors can also aid mid-career professionals to climb the corporate ladder, Black says.

Forbes also cites Mary Anne Walsh, a career and executive coach with a specialization in global talent management. Walsh, who has had many American clients move abroad following college or graduate school. For her part, Walsh says that her clients had a much easier time moving forward with their careers overseas than they would have in the U.S. Even the language barrier has not prevented career mobility in some cases, as Walsh cited one woman who deals with Chinese executives despite a lack of knowledge of Mandarin.

Still, Walsh notes that some of the advantages for workers abroad have to do with the lesser effects of the recession in other countries, according to Forbes.

The recent Global Professionals on the Move Report commissioned by the Hydrogen Group suggests further evidence that working abroad can be a boon for one's career, particularly for women.

According to the survey, which elicited responses from more than 3,000 mid- to senior-level professionals, 91 percent of women questioned said that they were already working abroad or planning to do so. Ninety-three percent of female respondents said they would jump at the chance to work abroad again, while 100 percent recommended that others take advantage of such opportunities.

In addition, the researchers looked at employers themselves, finding that 63 percent said international experience was an important aspect of their company.

In terms of finance, the survey found that while the U.S. was the most preferred destination for finance professionals to work, the fact is the most opportunities in the financial sector could be found in the Middle East and Asia. This supports the notion that career advancement prospects may be brighter abroad than they are at home, particularly in finance.

Overall, not enough can be said for the international experience that can be garnered while working abroad, regardless of the country. Such immersion can not only benefit prospective employers down the line, but also the candidates themselves as far as building character, adds Gary Baker, the U.S. global mobility leader for consultant and accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"It gives you a greater respect for other cultures, and you learn to be better at managing teams that are diverse," Baker told Forbes.