What Leaders Should Know

The Secret to a Successful Stint Abroad

Champagne in France or beer in Bavaria? When working abroad you will discover new perspectives, but be prepared – it isn’t automatically the case that upon return you’ll be met with a promotion.

A promotion is not always guaranteed when you return from abroad. Therefore, headhunters advise checking in with your home office on a regular basis.

The careers of successful specialists and executives nowadays increasingly include an international chapter. But when does a stay abroad make sense? And how can your career benefit from time abroad? We spoke with Rupert Nesselhauf of Civitas International, a company that specializes in headhunting international executives.

Who is the Weakest Link?

Nesselhauf believes that the various challenges of a stint abroad will build a stronger personality, and that it is an integral part of personal development for young managers. It’s a great weeding out process to discover which among the “rising stars” will shine brightest. Experience abroad at a younger age is also advantageous, states Nesselhauf. If a person has spent time working abroad, in a relevant market, between the ages of 20-30 this can be a huge asset on a CV.

Promotion in Sight – or Not?

When planning a stint abroad make sure to go into it with the right intentions; the manager who goes abroad only with the intention of receiving a promotion upon return may find himself disappointed. According to Nesselhauf, the main issue is that often times companies don’t have enough senior level positions to offer those coming back. So how can you turn your time abroad into an asset you can cash in on? Nesselhauf recommends keeping in contact with your parent company back home, wherever you might currently be located. Additionally, keep in mind that headhunters exist. If the path to promotion at your company back home is blocked, reach out to a headhunter prior to return to see what opportunities might await you!

Like a Local

An international assignment in a given career usually lasts between two and four years, so you will hopefully become very familiar with the land in which you relocate, as well as its culture. This can be extremely beneficial if your stint abroad is in a relevant market to your industry – upon return you can act as the interface between your company and the country with which you are now so familiar. And should you happen to pick up the language of the region while there, even better! This kind of experience and knowledge will surely set you apart from potential competitors in your same job market.

Feeling inspired? Check out all of the international opportunities we have available at Experteer. Who knows, your next move could take you to Zurich or Shanghai or Munich or …