Working Abroad – Could It Benefit Your Career?

Mining is a global industry – no surprises there! With the global shortage of talent within the industry, the opportunities for working abroad are currently more plentiful than ever before. It's an ideal time for professionals and tradespeople in mining related occupations and trades to broaden their horizons by taking overseas jobs. It may also be that your employer wants to transfer you overseas to help develop a new project in a developing country where your skills are needed. Either way, it's a great way to gain experience that you probably wouldn't have had the opportunity to get staying at home.

The Benefits Of Relocating Overseas For Work

  • It will considerably enhance your 'cultural intelligence'. People with high levels of cultural intelligence are becoming increasingly more valuable to employers as global employment opportunities open up. According to Wikipedia, this refers to your ability to "relate and work effectively across cultures". It includes things like understanding the differences and similarities between cultures and how these affect the way one needs to do business in foreign countries. It also encompasses diplomatic skills such as being aware of appropriate verbal and non-verbal conduct in various situations and environments. Even moving from somewhere with a similar culture like the UK to Australia (and vice versa) will help broaden this aspect of your career. Obviously though if you're relocating to a country with a completely different culture there are going to be even more opportunities to develop this skill.
  • There are often more, and better, career prospects and opportunities overseas and this is particularly the case currently in mining. 
  • It will expose you to new and different experiences. Not only will this allow you to develop a greater understanding of cultures and countries other than your own but having to adapt and adjust to what may be a completely different way of life, or different ways of doing things professionally, will help advance your own personal development. 
  • You can expand your face-to-face professional network on an international level. This can be a powerful tool for anyone who wants to climb the corporate ladder as it opens up a whole new level of connections and options. We all know the power of LinkedIn for building global professional networks but being able to do it through actually meeting people in person is a considerably more effective.
  • It can help develop your soft skills, also known as professional or transferable skills. Soft skills encompass a range of intangible qualities and competencies that are hard to quantify on paper. They include:
    • Good communication skills – good communicators can adjust their language and tone to suit their audience. They can effectively describe complex issues to others who may not have the same level of understanding as them. They can effectively follow and/or impart instructions. It's also a required leadership skill.
    • Self-motivation – loosely translated this means having a positive work ethic and being able to work without supervision. It shows you're committed, reliable and willing to fit into the company culture without having to be constantly supervised.
    • Leadership – this doesn't necessarily mean taking on a management role. Leaders are those people who can motivate others, and self-motivate themselves. They're people who can clearly and effectively communicate with others, who have a positive outlook and a 'can do' attitude.
    • Responsibility – as a soft skill, this means having the ability to take ownership of mistakes you've made is being responsible. It also indicates you're humble enough to admit to making mistakes, and that you're willing to learn and grow from them.
    • Teamwork – being able to work as part of a team towards a common goal is something most employers value highly. People who are 'good team players' know when to step up into a leadership role, or when to step back and listen to other team members. They're receptive, and perceptive, to others.
    • Problem solving – it pays to be able to think outside the square and in a cool and rational manner. Hot heads that go to pieces under stress rarely make good problem solvers as they're not capable of keeping their cool and thinking things through logically. Good problem solvers are valuable on teams.
    • Decisiveness – a decisive person can weigh up the available options, clearly assess relevant information, put things into perspective, and foresee probable consequences.
    • Time management – this is a crucial soft skill for many management roles in particular. Time is usually money, and missing deadlines can be costly. Someone who can clearly assess their priorities, and then prioritise their time effectively in order to get jobs done within set timeframes, have clearly developed good time managements skills. They also don't allow themselves to get stressed, and can work well under pressure. Incidentally, these people often find they have time to take on new work, and meet new deadlines.
    • Flexibility – if you're looking to relocate overseas, you already have a degree of flexibility and the open-mindedness that goes with this soft skill. You're prepared to move out of your comfort zone and take on what may be unfamiliar responsibilities in a new country. Your reward will be learning new hard skills, and other soft skills as well.
    • Conflict resolution and negotiation – this is probably a soft skill you're definitely going to need, or will develop, by relocating overseas. Especially if its to help develop a new mining project! Navigating and maintaining that crucial social licence to operate for example requires people with highly developed conflict resolution and negotiation skills. These are people who can both exert influence and be persuasive depending on what's called for. They are also able to identify and work towards solutions that satisfy all stakeholders.
    • Self confidence – having confidence in your personal and professional abilities is only going to improve by moving overseas for work as you learn to master new experiences in a new country. Furthermore, the fact that your employer has enough faith in your abilities to transfer you or hire you to go there to accomplish particular things is also confidence boosting.


Considering a move overseas for mining? Why not reach out to me in the comments below. Mining companies are now hiring and if you've got what they're looking for, you too could be on your way to a new life in a new country.

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Tuesday, 04 August 2020
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