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Thursday, August 7, 2014

How you can benefit by getting experience abroad

Working abroad may not be on the top of many job seekers' minds, but there are several reasons it should be. Employment opportunities abroad can sharpen your job skills, give you an advantage over other workers, and even provide financial benefits – all good reasons to broaden your job hunt to other countries.

Career skills
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Tax benefits

One of the least known but most tangible benefits of working abroad is the potential tax breaks. According to an article by recruitment company Personnel 2000, U.S. citizens may be able to work with the IRS to have some income earned abroad excluded from taxation. Canadian residents, meanwhile, can earn a tax credit based on what they pay while working abroad. And United Kingdom citizens who obtain non-resident status "are not subject to having their offshore income taxed." It's recommended to check out your specific country's tax regulations to find out more.

Language skills

If you work in a country where you'll need to use a new language, you'll gain two benefits based on that alone. First, using the language every day will sharpen your abilities with it. Second, according to the International Business Times, recruiters are expected to heavily value language skills over the next several years. At the same time, not many workers plan to put in the effort to develop another language, which could be a mistake since, per AOL Jobs, bilingual workers tend to earn more money. Honing a second language could provide a heavy advantage over other job seekers, both in your home country and abroad. What better way to prove your skills in a new tongue than by using it while working in another country?

Cultural experience

Hand-in-hand with language skills comes the chance to adapt to and experience a new culture. At Forbes.com, Chloe Grey, a New Yorker working in Mexico City, writes that, "Each country abides by a different set of values, mannerisms, and customs in the workplace – and when you start working somewhere new, you'll have to adapt fast." This is an invaluable skill both while traveling and in the job market. For instance, Grey recounts co-workers in Mexico not responding well to overly direct communication. Knowing when to be blunt and to-the-point versus polite and demurring can make all the difference in an intercultural interaction – or in a job interview.

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Grey goes on to point out the value of her contacts gained abroad, writing, "If I were to move back to the US, I could position myself as someone who can bring valuable business contacts and high-level knowledge of the region to a company looking to expand into the Latin American market." Compare that to a job seeker who's never worked abroad: Their contacts will most likely consist of friends, family, classmates, and former coworkers, all from their native country – and none of whom provide a chance to truly expand a potential employer's reach.

It never hurts to build up references, either. Developing a crop of good references abroad can be invaluable on future job searches. Imagine how impressive it'll be if you adapt to another culture, pick up the language, and help an employer enough for them to vouch for you in the future – a combination that just isn't possible working in your home country.