Back with a bang in the big apple, and strangely enough, it’s good to return to the madness! In my last post I mentioned the importance of taking those mental breaks at home – it literally did me the world of good! In saying that, my trip home was primarily to get my next visa approved (post on that coming very soon), and in the preparation for my interview at the US embassy, I noticed how much of a focus I was putting on the benefits of working abroad.
I think without a shadow of a doubt, that international experience can only enhance your CV, and help you to reach your longterm career goals. In classic Niamh fashion, I’ve decided to make a list of the main benefits below. (I work better in bullet points, story telling is not my forte)
So lets get straight to the point…
1 – International Cultures
If there’s one thing that’s character building, it’s immersing yourself into a completely new and foreign culture. I get it, there’s a thousand places more intimidating, far from home, and just completely hard to predict. But New York can be all of those things to one person. I mentioned in my last post, that familiarity was something I missed so much about home. I really believe that living/working somewhere that is unfamiliar is a great experience. Becoming accustomed to different manners, people of different backgrounds, ethnicities, and all of their individual characteristics, really helps mold you into a better, more receptive, and understanding person. These are all traits that will stand to you throughout your career.
2 – Do it while you’re young
If you aren’t going to do it now, when are you going to do it? In ten years time when you have a family, mortgage and/or a really fabulous golden retriever? The fact of the matter is, if you don’t do it while you’re young and free from obligations and commitments, then you probably won’t do it at all.
3 – Opportunities
I swear, the opportunities you get whilst working abroad is crazy. I’ve changed jobs once since I got to New York. I started off working with Clinique on their North America marketing team. While it didn’t end up working out to be in line with my long term career goals, and with the pressure of finding a company who could accommodate my visa needs, I found it was time to move on. In my 6 months there, I got so much exposure to the incredible brand that it is. Also, let’s call a spade a spade, having Clinique on your CV looks very good. It wasn’t my dream job or even close to it, but I learned more than I could have imagined! In my new role as a Social Media Manager, I found myself on a plane to LA in the first month of working there, headed to the biggest YouTube convention in the world! I feel like things move a lot faster here, and if you’re present in each moment and open to new ideas and opportunities, then things will happen for you. Finding myself in a manager role at 24 was something I did not expect, but if you show people your up for a challenge and willing to work, opportunities will come your way.
4 – Lessons learned
OHHHHH let me tell you I have learned quite the lesson or two. I think my style of work has just really sharpened up – does that make sense? You know what I mean… Things move so fast here, that there is zero tolerance when something falls through the cracks. Between learning to cover myself at every base, following up with people left, right and centre, and just being exposed to very different personalities in different workplaces, I’ve learned how to react (and not react) in situations. My best advice would be to keep your cards close to your chest. It truly is the most competitive city in the world, so don’t be surprised when people walk all over you. I sound like I’ve been through the wars with that last sentence – I haven’t at all, but I think it’s just important to remember.
5 – CV enhancing
I think having emigration on your list of things that you’ve done in your life is a massive plus for an employer when they’re looking at your CV. Whether it’s when you get to the place you emigrate to initially, or when you move home, it will 100% stand to you. My boss at Clinique told me herself that one of the main reasons she hired me was because I had moved here. It shows that you are outgoing, a risk taker, confident, independent, and most importantly – have ambition. You can feel like a bit of a dreamer sitting in an interview telling people “oh I just quit my job and spent every last cent I own on moving to New York”. But if you back it up with your long term career goals, and explain why this makes sense for you – then why wouldn’t someone want to hire you?
6 – Work experience
I know I’ve covered this point amongst all of the different points above, but just to reiterate… You will gain exposure to the different work styles of many people around you in a new office. These will differ to anything you’ve experienced at home. New office cultures is something that I really enjoyed experiencing. I had worked at home for 10 months in my previous job, and every singe thing I grew accustomed to there, just didn’t exist when I got my new job here. Between these two points, and the fact that you’re building up an international network of connections, you’re becoming more resilient by nature, and you just work faster – the work experience you can gain is invaluable.
If you found this post interesting or helpful, please let me know.
Photos: Brid O’Donovan
Bag & shoes: Louise et Cie