Daniel Porot: the advantages of a job abroad

Article published on Feb. 20, 2008
Article published on Feb. 20, 2008
We talk to the author of numerous books on career management and job-hunting in Europe, who also teaches in many European and American schools and universities

What are the advantages of taking your first job abroad?

For employers this experience shows flexibility and a curious outlook. It gives a person a double culture. In leaving, even if just for a short-term position, perhaps for three months, a young person opens a door. He can later broaden his abilities by taking inspiration from the different working cultures he has discovered.

Are there disadvantages?

The problem is that young people don’t know how to show off these qualities on their CV when looking for a job. This experience should be presented so that the employer can instantly see its immediate relevance to his own company. I met a young Italian who worked for Nokia in Finland and knew how to adapt his knowledge from cutting edge technology to Italian cooking. He developed with each of his experiences.

Is there a risk of not finding a job once back in one’s own country?

No, because going abroad to work is not running away. The main step backwards many students take to go forwards, the steepest climb, is when they collect as many diplomas as possible. The quest for knowledge is certainly beautiful, but it’s also suggestive of a fear of facing reality. Going abroad is a difficult step. Especially when we leave before having found a job. But there again this courage and positive feature is underemphasised.

How best to draw on the benefits of this professional experience?

Put it on your CV, summarising the abilities you have acquired. And bring it up in job interviews. It all depends on the employer – if the opportunities/resources pairing is good (that’s to say young graduates and recruiting companies), it should work. That’s why it’s essential to cherry pick the companies you contact. I think it’s important not to restrict oneself to job offer websites, what they call the open market. Of course, it’s simple and reassuring, but it’s competitive. It’s better to turn to the good decision-makers of the hidden market, that is, unsolicited applications.