Many Filipinos dream of working abroad because of the promise of higher wages and an overall enriching experience. Truly enough, getting a job overseas has its distinct advantages compared to when you are working here in the Philippines. Aside from the opportunity to travel to places you’ve never been before, getting a job overseas also means diversifying your professional portfolio on an international scale and getting introduced to a new workplace culture completely different from what you’ve experienced in your home country.
The idea of meeting foreign colleagues in a new work setting sounds exciting, right? But before you send that resume and book the next flight to your dream destination, it’s important for you to know which skills are in demand globally. In general, some skills have a universal appeal and will help you land a job almost instantly. But remember, skill requirements vary depending on the workplace culture of your chosen country.
Before we dive deeper into the specific skillsets, let’s take a look at the two types of skills usually used by hiring managers to assess their candidates aside from personal details:
- Hard Skill- Also known as technical skill, hard skill is your in-depth knowledge about a certain field, area, or practice. It also covers your ability to apply such knowledge through the use of tools, equipment, or software.
- Perfect examples will be programming, data engineering, research, social media marketing, SEO writing, graphic design, project management, and office management skills. Hard skills can be learned and improved by taking courses and attending vocational and on-the-job training. Added to that, you can enhance your hard skills through the course of your employment.
- Soft Skill- On the other hand, soft skills are non-technical skills that still have relations to how you perform your work. They are what build you up as an employee and affect the environment you are working in.
- Soft skills include problem-solving skills, time management, leadership, empathy, the ability to listen and communicate, teamwork, creativity, and dependability.
Some may be wondering which is more important than the two. Actually, there’s no definitive answer for that as hard skills are equally important as soft skills. They need to complement each other in order to achieve great results.
Now that we’ve got that cleared up, let’s now take a look at the skills you will need for successful employment abroad. Note that the international labor market is very competitive. Therefore, by knowing which skillset is more favored by foreign employers, you will know how you will upgrade your own to increase employability for a successful international career.
Essential Skills for a Successful Career Abroad
Adaptability and Resilience
Working abroad means welcoming yourself to a whole new world and experiences both in your workplace and living space. This also means that you will be meeting and working with various nationalities with diverse backgrounds rooted in their specific country’s culture. The secret to this lies in adaptability. You have to be flexible enough to adapt and fit into the mold. Being adaptable also means acknowledging different cultures and respecting their customs for what they are.
With adaptability comes resilience. Adjusting to new faces and places can take a toll on you. Be resilient enough to cope with the stress and strain brought about by the new environment you’re in.
Effective communication skills
Effective communication and language skills are crucial components in every job’s productivity and operations. How can you perform and move as a team if you can’t understand each other, right?
Filipinos are lucky to be proficient enough to speak and write the world’s universal language, English. In fact, the Philippines ranks as one of the countries with high English proficiency in Asia and clinches the 18th spot on a global scale. They pose an edge over non-English speaking nationalities.
But don’t limit yourself to learning English only! It’s also a plus if you have the penchant to learn a new language, specifically of the country you are working in! This makes communication and understanding easier both for you and your employer. It can be hard at first, but as the saying goes, practice makes perfect!
Time Management Skills
Are you the type to procrastinate? Better yet change this habit as early as possible. One of the reasons why work productivity is declining is because of poor time management.
Make sure to maximize your time to complete more tasks as possible. Write down the tasks you need to accomplish for the day. Not only that it will keep you organized but will increase productivity as well. This trick works whether you are performing administrative tasks or working as a domestic helper or caregiver.
The advancement of technology continues to dominate the world. And it is a great advantage if you keep up with the technological improvements, especially if you are working in the IT sector or computer industry or any related field. Being digital-savvy and knowledgeable on how to use online tools can set you apart from other employers and can widen employment opportunities in the future.
Having a good understanding of how technology works can also help alleviate the feeling of homesickness. With just one push of a button, you can easily talk and be updated about the lives of your family and friends back in the Philippines.
People skills, just like other skills in this list, are extremely crucial for the success of your employment. If you are working directly with consumers, you need to have excellent people skills to establish rapport with your clients. If you are working on the back end, you need to be able to play with the team by communicating well and clearly.
Take the time to learn the social norms of the country you are working in. What’s acceptable in America can be offensive in Italy and vice versa. Don’t hesitate to immerse yourself in the new culture to gain a deeper understanding of its norms and customs.
Creativity and Innovation
“Without wonder, life is flat, and empty. And it is a good thing for human beings to be able to create wonders out of their own effort. “
This is one of my favorite lines in H.J. Alden’s book, The Book of Nothing. This line briefly expresses that we humans need the power of wonder to create innovations to further improve our way of life.
Empathy and a Positive Attitude
Feeling empathy allows you to put yourself in the shoes of others. When you start to look at things from their perspective, it will prompt you to be more understanding, thus lessening the chances of arguments and altercations.
And most importantly, maintaining a positive outlook and attitude will help you foster good and lasting relationships with your colleagues. Yes, being knowledgeable and skillful makes you competent, but most employers prefer someone who displays a good work attitude and gets along with others really well.
Being an OFW isn’t as easy as it seems and international job search entails lots of paper work and requirements. To be able to keep up with the growing demand for migrant workers, aspiring ones should be skilled and prepared enough to meet global standards.
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