July 16, 2014

climbing the international career ladder and seeing the world

Today's post is written by first-time wannabe/employee guest writer Eileen Archer. Working abroad is such a current topic - thanks for charing Eileen!

Oftentimes, it’s difficult to see anyone other than an English teacher living abroad and doing what they love. It doesn’t necessarily have to be this profession. You just have to be well-prepared for the move. After a good few years of teaching in private academies abroad (yes I fit the stereotypical English Teacher) I changed my life around. I became a Writer for magazine articles and online publications, and have more ambitions aside, that involve more travelling. 

I used my experience in teaching English and new-found grammar ability to hone other skills, and gradually made a parallel move - a successful one at that. So for all of you in the same boat as me a few years ago, or even just with the thought of moving abroad and changing or developing your profession to change you and your life in some way, it’s much easier than you think. Remember, that first step on the ladder is your pathway to other greatness, and a way to see the world while you achieve that.

Widen your scope
You really need to take on more work, not just to make yourself invincible in the workplace but to increase your skillset. This is where you will become THE person the company will want to send abroad.

I was a Teacher of certain levels and certain classes. I soon changed that. I didn’t want to stay teaching the same bunch of kids for what felt like forever. So I taught adults and exam classes the following year. The year after that, I was able to get an even better job in a better academy.

Skills and practical ability and knowledge are all great. However, in this day and age, only a piece of paper, along with the ability of course, will make potential employers sit up and take notice. So whenever your boss offers you the chance to do some official training, jump on the idea. For example, if you really want to go international then learning a language might be a good idea.

I became an examiner as well as a teacher. My boss at the time gave me the opportunity to do this and other than adding to my skillset, it also brings me in some very good money on the side.

Looking up
It’s easy to get stuck in the same boring job for years, we all do it or have done it to some extent. The key is to remember your passion at all times: moving abroad and developing your career. Make sure that when your boss asks who would like to take on a project that involves travelling, that your hand is up first. Even if your future career plans don’t involve this current company, always make sure you have the travel experience that prospective employers will be looking for.

CV Sending
Before you send that top notch CV and covering letter, you have to remember that if you’re applying to live abroad, that you follow their rules when doing so. You’ll also need to remember to show your knowledge of other cultures and experience of living abroad. Employers will be impressed by this.

The way I first applied for jobs abroad was different to the way I do it now. The country I was working for required a photo attached to the CV. I had never heard of that before. My covering letter is now also dramatically different: I now know that a successful application includes your awareness of cultures and adaptability to living in another country.  I wish I knew all of this back then!

Do you have anything to add about having a career abroad?

Bio: Eileen Archer is currently a resident blogger and a chief writer at After obtaining a Masters in English language she decided to dedicate her time to creative writing as well as providing assistance to students. She spends her free time reading, writing poetry and studying for a PhD in an art-related field. 

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