According to consultants who specialise in the international recruitment of expatriate workers for large multinationals around the globe, the most important attributes to have when seeking work abroad are not related to your academic achievements or even your level of professional experience.

If you’re contemplating moving to work in Dubai or perhaps in Europe and you want to stand the very best chance of being recruited, the following sagacious and hard learned advice will probably prove invaluable to you!

The consultants who have provided their expert advice on what makes a candidate attractive and therefore successful when job seeking abroad, have all seen for themselves what works in recruitment and what doesn’t, and which candidates make the grade after being relocated and which return home having failed at their overseas assignment.

As stated, you may well be surprised to learn that the most important attributes to have when seeking work abroad are not related to academia, rather they are related to your attitude and mindset.  According to Neil Jacobs from YSC, a successful expatriate candidate being relocated by a company to work abroad will be adaptable and have a naturally positive mindset.  I.e., it is more important to have the right mental attitude to deal with the upheavals that the change will inevitably bring, than it is to be 100% perfectly qualified for the job but have a very closed attitude unused to dealing with adjustment.

Mr. Jacob’s professional opinion is shared by many international recruiters, and also by consultants working in the field of advising large companies on the recruitment and relocation of staff.  These professionals all understand that a relocation overseas is about far more than just the job…and there is what’s called ‘a culture shock cycle’ that all expats have to go through in order to adapt.  It’s those who have the right attitude to work through and survive this cycle who make happy expat employees and successful international workers.

The cycle is something that we’ve talked about on Degtev before – it affects all those who move abroad, whether they are relocated with work or actively make the choice to move themselves with no professionals backing up their relocation.  It starts with the individual in question loving everything about their exciting and thrilling new life, they embrace change and ignore the challenges seeing only the good.  This period is relatively quickly followed by a period of negativity which can turn to hostility for some people.  They see the differences between their old and new life as being more pronounced, they miss the old and the familiar and homesickness, boredom and resentment can kick in.  It is at this stage that one needs to be most adaptable and have the ability to think positively.  Those who cannot, well, they either return home or remain living the life of an unhappy and whinging expat.

There’s a final point worth mentioning, and that’s that a would-be expat who is expecting his or her spouse to accompany them on a work assignment abroad needs to keep their happiness in mind too.  The success of an assignment can so often rest largely on the shoulders of the one expected to remain in the home, adapting the family to the new life abroad.  The burden of responsibility coupled with feelings of isolation, loneliness and boredom can prove too much for many a so-called ‘trailing spouse’ and cause the whole expat assignment to collapse.

For an employer who has spent far more on recruiting a professional from abroad and relocating them to the new nation, a failed assignment is a costly mistake – which is why increasing numbers of firms in countries such as Dubai are using the services of professional consultancies who know what to look for in a would-be candidate.  Therefore, if you want to work abroad, you need to be adaptable, positive and have a very supportive partner!