Ever dreamed of working around the world? Many people fantasize but when push comes to shove, most are stay-at-homes and travel is part of vacation. But if you have skills, international work is not as difficult as some make it sound. If you have itchy feet, you will get a chance to not just look at other cultures as a tourist, but participate in them as a co-worker and that is vastly different. This type of experience is like winning a new set of eyes and you'll never see the world in the same way again.
If you have kids, the experience will be a permanent reservoir of ideas and experiences that will never leave them. And with an international salary, return travel paid and the possibilities of a living allowance and even subsidized education for the kids, it is often a financial bonanza. If quality of education for children is a concern, you'll find the international schools in many countries have standards and expectations well beyond your local school and with the International Baccalaureate and other standards, the grades will be recognized when they come home. And for your career, you'll have a chance at leadership and training roles much sooner and these may be more satisfying than just staying in your usual cubbyhole. If you have read this far, you may have the wanderlust so start dreaming. Take these simple steps:
Assess your own self. Can you teach others your specialty? Are you patient? If you're a "my way or the highway type", do us a favour and stay home! Are you reasonably calm in the sense that when something does not work, you look for alternate ways and don't blow up?
Check your present employer. If you are part of an international company, ask the HR department if there are any chances to work offshore. If there are none, time to think of being independent. Or check out other companies in the same general line of business.
Do a search on the Internet. Start with international development agencies and companies working internationally. Look at the positions and bids advertised or contracts that were awarded and the consulting positions included. Read the terms of reference for these bids and contracts. Go to this site: dev.zone.org. You'll be amazed at what you find!
Browse through international magazines and newspapers. Many of these magazines like The Economist or The International Herald Tribune advertise international positions and often detail the requirements for such. These will give you some ideas on what to focus on as you upgrade your skills and experience.
Read through your data and identify your focus. This is necessary so that you can focus your energy, research, upgrading and networking on a few areas that you think you have good skills and experience in.
Assess and upgrade your skills and experience. Upgrade in areas where you think you need better skills and where the international job sites are putting an emphasis. Also, get more experience. Volunteer with international organizations doing international work. Do edu-tourism on your holidays. Check out voluntourism sites. This is an exploding industry and a great chance to add a bit of exposure to your resume.
Take a part-time teaching certificate course. There are hundreds of jobs for really interested teachers of almost any subject you can think of.
If you are an engineer or technician or accountant, the chances are really good. But they are just as good if you are a mechanic or civil technologist. Once you have started working on one project, and you win your chops as a reliable internationalist, the offers will roll in. There are surprisingly few people, especially in North America, with the craving for this type of work and if you are effective, the word gets around quickly.