IT skills are sought worldwide and so there are many opportunities for working overseas in contract or even permanent positions. You may not be aware, but The IT Job Board also operates in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands; so we know just how many positions are currently available.
We have put together a list of four tips that will help if you’ve been bitten by the travel bug and are considering a cultural change.
1) Learn the Language
Communicating in the local language is a necessity if you want to truly gain the most from your experience. Some overseas positions may be available in companies that are International and thus primarily English spoken, but you may find yourself missing out on the day-to-day office chats. If you are planning on learning whilst in the country, then think about arranging a language school before you leave so that you are committed to the schedule from week one.
2) Develop Intercultural Skills
Along with the language barrier, there will also be the challenge of integrating into a different culture. This requires personal skills in understanding different cultural contexts, adapting communication and working in diverse teams. It would be wise to use your personal contacts to find a native mentor to guide you on cultural differences before you start work, thus avoiding any potential pitfalls or misunderstandings. Improving these skills whilst abroad will also benefit your career on your return to the UK; a study on ‘the value of intercultural skills in the workplace’ found that employers value and actively seek out such experience when hiring.
3) Gain Relevant Professional Qualifications
Not all UK qualifications are accepted overseas; it is worth comparing your current awards to the equivalent in the country that you plan to work in. By carrying out this research, you can then talk about how your UK credentials compare to those that the interviewing company would be familiar with. Also consider studying for internationally recognised qualifications to put you ahead of other applicants.
4)Develop Your International CV
Developing an international CV is a must; the style and format may differ from the normal UK version. Have your CV translated and edited into the local language and send it with a copy in English. In Germany, France and Belgium it is common to attach a passport-style photograph in the top right corner.
As an example, a German CV is called a ‘Lebenslauf’ and takes a formal format similar to a factsheet of one to two pages. Divided into two columns, it is best to leave out some information that you might include on a UK CV such as interests or personal qualities, which are considered unnecessary facts.