What qualities do you need to succeed in an international career?

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An international career is a dream, but you have to succeed in this experience. This success is conditioned by the qualities and skills that the future expatriate must have. Language skills, open-mindedness and adaptability are among the essentials.

What are the essential qualities for a successful international career?

A successful international career requires several qualities:

  • good interpersonal relationships. These are subjective skills, associated with the psychology of individuals such as adaptation, openness to novelty, flexibility, empathy;
  • adaptation. When you go to live in a foreign country, things change and you have to open up, learn and adapt to the local culture;
  • to be aware that there will be difficulties and that obstacles must be overcome. The first step is always the hardest to take;
  • become the best you can be. You have to take risks and seize opportunities as they arise;
  • be open. You must always learn, be curious and take the time to build your life;
  • trust your instincts. The others remain “givers” of advice.

What language skills are needed for a successful international career?

Without a doubt, English is the international language of reference for an international career. Thus, fluency in English is an essential prerequisite for working abroad. The future expatriate can put all the chances on his side by learning English courses, to perfect his skills.

Spanish also has its say. This language opens the doors to new markets in Latin America and, of course, in Spain.

Mandarin is one of the useful language skills. Indeed, it is the most spoken language in the world. It is used mainly in Asia and China.

For these languages, it is important to have good reading and comprehension skills, not to mention writing skills.

Thus, the mastery of language skills allows for significant progress in an international career. Indeed, they allow you to create links with your contacts, who can be customers, suppliers and employees.

How can professionals develop their adaptability and flexibility to succeed in an international environment?

In an international environment, knowing how to adapt and be flexible is essential. Adapting to challenge, evolve, change and adjust. Moreover, the fact of going abroad widens the open-mindedness and multiplies the experiences in different cultures, different countries, different sizes of structure.

Having an international career also means knowing how to navigate outside your comfort zone and expertise. Thus, the future expatriate is able to change his mind or revise his convictions, depending on the situation and the needs of his environment.

Also, being adaptable allows you to better face all kinds of challenges. In addition to developing one’s flexibility, adaptability allows one to react well to new situations, both in terms of responsibilities and situations encountered in the workplace and on the personal side. Developing it allows you to overcome obstacles with greater ease.

How can professionals improve their ability to work in teams and communicate with colleagues from different cultures?

Working as a team is a major issue. It is even more so in a team of different cultures. Also, a professional must get to know his or her interlocutors, in order to establish a better communication and understanding of the needs and expectations of each. From this perspective, intercultural communication is a real challenge.

To succeed in such a challenge, a few attitudes are required:

  • get informed beforehand. If a professional is part of a multicultural team, it is necessary to learn about the customs and habits of the different nationalities with which he or she must communicate;
  • be open. There are many prejudices about different cultures. The best thing would be to forget such clichés and to be open to the culture of your colleagues. Moreover, it is always possible to ask the interlocutor to explain his gesture or to specify what he expects;
  • keep it simple. It is recommended to avoid using overly complex or technical terms. You must convey your ideas or instructions in a simple, precise and concise manner;
  • adopt active listening. Good communication works both ways: speaking and listening. In order to improve intercultural communication, the practice of active listening should be encouraged to help understand the message being sent;
  • cultivate benevolence. In practice, the language barrier and geographical distance can be a source of misunderstanding and stress in the professional world. You must be careful to give your employees confidence and ask them to repeat themselves if they do not understand.
Updated 21 April 2023