international careers

Can you get hired for a job overseas?

October 21, 2011: 1:03 PM ET

Demand for talent is on the rise outside the U.S., but launching an international career takes special skills.

By Anne Fisher, contributorOverseas job assignments

FORTUNE -- Dear Annie: I will graduate from college in the spring with a major in business (minor in economics), and I can already tell from the scarcity of corporate recruiters on campus that it's going to be tough to get a job. I keep hearing and reading that some Asian and South American economies are growing much faster than ours, so I'm wondering, is the job market also booming in those places? Would I have a better chance of getting hired in some other country?

I spent my junior year in Kyoto, Japan, and have backpacked around Europe and Africa, and I think I could handle living in an unfamiliar culture. But I have no idea how to start looking. Should I just pick a fast-growing country, like maybe Brazil, and go? Or is there a better way? — Footloose

Dear Footloose: First, you're right about the slowdown in campus recruiting: U.S. employers are being "cautious" in their hiring plans for the class of 2012, according to a new survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. After stepping up hiring of new grads by slightly more than 20% in 2011, companies plan hire an additional 9.5% this coming year (compared to hiring in 2011).

The best reason to think about an overseas job hunt, though, is not merely to escape the doldrums here at home. "In the decade ahead, it won't matter where you work so much as how you work," says Stacie Berdan, a veteran of management jobs spanning three continents and author of a new e-book, Go Global!: Launching an International Career Here or Abroad. "Anyone who wants to get ahead is going to have to think cross-culturally and understand how all the world's economies are linked."

Diane Gulyas, president of the $8 billion performance-polymers division of Dupont (DD), agrees. She notes that, at Dupont as at most big companies these days, nobody gets to senior management without some experience abroad. More

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