II. Selected Resources and Profiles

Your Job Search: A General Approach


Cast the net wide. Search broadly. See what's out there.

One of the greatest myths regarding the job search, international or otherwise, is that you should only be looking for open positions. Clearly, the position you eventually obtain will have to be one that's available. However, in searching for those open positions, don't hesitate to explore the wide array of possibilities with an open mind. Check out jobs that you may not yet be qualified for but that you might someday be interested in. Dig deeper into organizations that don't have job openings at the moment but that have missions that excite you and that are doing work you would like to do.

Be alert to individuals doing work you find compelling. Ask them about their career paths. Sherry remembers meeting the executive director of the National Council for International Visitors (NCIV) shortly after she started working at the Institute of International Education (IIE) in 1978. Visiting his office and hearing him describe his work, she recalls thinking, "How exciting! I would like to have his job someday." Some years later, fortuitously, that dream came true.

Pay attention to the colleagues you naturally wish to emulate. Try to discern why their work is attractive to you. Ask them how they charted their career paths. What skills must you develop to compete for positions similar to theirs?

The career resources noted in this chapter can supply the specific details of available positions as well as give you a better idea of the enormous variety of jobs that exist. Many social media and career websites enable you to research jobs, companies, organizations, and industries.

Many provide articles and other advice for job seekers. The panoply of players on the international scene has expanded so much in recent decades that it is difficult for any one person to grasp the full range of possibilities. Using these tools to cast your net wide and discover what's out there will help immensely in this process.

This approach holds true not just for those who are in the market for a new job but also for those who will someday decide to change and seek greater challenges, though they are currently in a stable job and have no immediate intention of leaving. In some way, everyone is a job seeker. Some are active job seekers—those looking to start a new job as soon as possible—and some are passive job seekers, only developing a better understanding of their options.

Regularly perusing job boards will help you at that point when you do decide to begin an active job search; it will also assist you in thinking about your broader career development. To be fair, fifteen minutes spent one afternoon scrolling through a long list of job postings will not suddenly flip the switch and illuminate your lifelong career path. However, the cumulative effect of regularly gathering information and pondering your career will better prepare you for that pivotal moment when it is time to make the next move.

What Is Your Goal?

Keep in mind that pursuing an international career is not synonymous with working abroad. Just because a job enables you to travel doesn't necessarily mean it is the best opportunity to begin or continue your career in international education, exchange, or development. In the same way, even though a job does not have a travel component, it may still help to build your career in international relations in significant ways. Finding the job that enables you to visit exotic locales can be an exciting and worthwhile goal, but it is imperative to determine if this is your primary goal. What is more important to you? Traveling and working abroad in and of itself? Or creating a substantive career in international education, exchange, or development? These two can certainly overlap, and they often do, but they are not one and the same. In fact, given family commitments and considerations such as those described later by Luby.

Ismail in her profile interview, the challenge may be to forge an international career that requires minimal travel abroad.

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