03 September 2011
Careers Without Boundaries: Preparing Your Teen for the Global Workforce

The global economy is beckoning. And college educated, English-speakers are in demand.

Sweeping advances in technology, communication and transportation have given rise to the growth of transnational corporations, as well as overseas growth of such all-American brands as Microsoft, Google, Cisco, Accenture and 3M.

The hottest jobs in international business? Sales and marketing, followed by opportunities for financial professionals, English teachers and nurses – either in a traditional employee role or on a contract or freelance basis.

Real World Reality Check

Even if your teen never plans to leave your hometown, it is likely that your son or daughter will work with or for culturally diverse organizations at some point.  As the economy becomes more globalized, the workplace becomes more competitive. Teens will face the challenge of either preparing for the global economy – or becoming obsolete.

Spending a year or two working overseas can certainly provide long-term career enhancement benefits.

Opportunity. In the current stagnant job market, new grads – especially those with liberal arts degrees – often find themselves unemployed or underemployed. Yet, jobs in marketing, publishing and public relations are readily available for college-educated, English-speaking generalists in foreign economies.

Good pay. International positions pay comparable or higher salaries (commensurate with local cost of living) than similar domestic positions, and often include other economic and travel incentives.

Transferrable skills. A resume that shows overseas work experience demonstrates flexibility, ambition and a wider worldview to an employer.

Provide a Global Perspective

Globalization begins at home, where parents can help develop an understanding and appreciation for the richness of cultural diversity, opening doors to new ways of thinking, acting and living. It could be as simple as eating at ethnic restaurants and attending ethnic fairs, or expanding your teen’s worldview with overseas travel.

Encourage Foreign Study

Of course, encourage foreign language study for your student from an early age. Having a second or even third language on a resumé is almost a requirement for work abroad. Likewise, support opportunities for your teens to study and travel abroad now or in college. You can review work abroad programs by country at www.studyabroad.com.

Pursue a Business Degree

To prepare for a career in the global economy, your teen could benefit from a course of study in international business, which helps develop an understanding of international business, marketing, finance and trade, and improves communication skills and cultural awareness. In its 2011 college rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranks South Carolina, NYU and Penn as having the best international business degree programs.

Consider an Alternative Track

Not all global opportunities are overseas. Here at home, the federal International Trade Administration hires international trade specialists, economists and import compliance specialists. Likewise, U.S.-based cultural advisers instruct international businesspeople in foreign languages and cultures.

In the end, a career without boundaries is awaiting those who prepare for the demands of the new global economy.

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