Leveraging Overseas Experience

Third Culture Kids or better known as TCKs brave growing up in different countries and they do experience cultural identity crisis. Well, the other side of that story or perhaps the result of the experience is a priceless gift they appreciate, the strong spirit to rise above all odds and think independently.

What happens usually is that when one is raised in countries other than his/her birth place, she/he is set to come across different sets of cultural norms, value systems, and behavioral personas that all together makes him/her adaptable to different cultures and more flexible to changes that come

Over the years, research has revealed more distinctive traits of TCKs. These includes: Emotional stability, better understanding of the environment, cultural sensitivity, resilience, communication and personal skills. We would agree that these traits make the exceptional student and or employee

Again, more study results indicate TCKs are well-read, well-travelled, and have the professional skills needed in most work places; that close to 80 percent of TCKs are professionals, executives or managers and that their career choices often reflect the need for advance education, creativity, insatiable desire for autonomy, flexibility, voluntary work and great interest working with others.

Bethany Clarke, an expat who manages an international film program in LA expected to impress the panel with her 3.9 GPA in Arts Education, Honors Society membership, multiple internships with reputable organizations and four year work experience in college but no, these never caught their attention. Instead they scanned through her resume and focused on her experience overseas.

“Wow, you happen to have lived in so many countries. What does this background make you?” she was asked. As you’d expect she prepared for the interview. However, she never anticipated this line of questioning. She succeeded of course but all through the interview she felt the panel was more interested in her expat life, the effects of it on her, and the languages she had learned.

In her article advising TCKs to leverage on their overseas experience, she emphasizes the need to include and highlight the following key aspects of expats life and character traits in their resume.

Cross-Cultural Background

A unique background always attracts attention she says: “It makes you stand out among others.” To leverage on your multi-cultural upbringing, highlight it on your resume then be prepared to explain how the different cultures have influenced your behavior and attitude towards both work and people, why it matters to the organization, and how it is likely to help achieve their set goals.

Values and Social Orientation

TCKs have experienced a rare gift, the world. Due to their interaction with different cultures and people, they have a broader worldview compared to their mono-cultural colleagues and are more comfortable engaging with diverse groups of people. To leverage on this, Clarke notes you could underscore the ease the many breakups you have had have helped you connect with other people.

Multilingual Ability and Skills

Other than the ability to speak more than one language which makes it easier to satisfy a larger client base, multilingual skills also makes it easier to understand certain aspects of one’s culture, which are best understood in native language. To make the most out of your ability to deliver on this aspect, again Clarke advices that you appeal to the organization’s international status or goal.

Adaptability and Flexibility

The ability and willingness to adapt to changes and new environments is a great attribute in any organization. As a TCK, the likelihood that you have at one point in your development been in a new, sometimes hostile environment and situations where you had to quickly adjust to the system including a different set of ideas and certain elements of tradition as well as learn a new language and translate the same either to work or in college is a skill that should not miss in your resume.

Finally, in a world where technology is rapidly blurring the boundaries, studies and careers even more becoming global, opportunities are increasingly becoming available and all you need is the right knowledge and skills to match the expectations. If you find yourself slightly ill-equipped to benefit in the new revolution, all you need is at least 40 minutes of your time on call with me.

Also, if you’re an expat or an expert with significant knowledge and you don’t mind sharing the same, perhaps you could partner with me in my laser -focused VIP Coaching session (2 hours) or you can apply to be included in my 90-day Mentorship Program, which starts soon, every 1st of each month and only three spots are available
each term.

 

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