Securing a Position Abroad

Chloe Andersen is a manager of learning and development at Amazon. She completed her undergraduate degree in Geography at BYU Hawaii and her MBA at BYU. After receiving her MBA, Andersen accepted a full-time position in human resource (HR) management at Citigroup in New York City, NY with high hopes of working abroad. Two years later, Andersen secured an overseas rotational position in Tokyo, Japan and accepted a permanent position abroad at the completion of her rotation. After working in Tokyo for 3 years, she moved to Hong Kong, China where she directed HR coverage for a region of 14 countries for 15 months before returning to the U.S.

Convey Your Desire to Travel

Andersen first left the U.S. in high school to spend a semester in Belgium. Doubting young Andersen’s desire, her mother had agreed to let her go if she could figure out how. Proving the level of her intent, Andersen broke open the yellow pages and found the program through which she would get her first taste of traveling with a passport.

Before Andersen completed her MBA, she began establishing with her future employer that she wanted to go abroad, just as she had with her mother. Andersen’s first step was to intern with a company for which she knew that she could one day work overseas. For Andersen, this entailed making a leap into the financial services industry for the first time.

Once Andersen started working full-time, she further conveyed to her company her desire to go abroad. “I made it very clear from the beginning that one of the reasons I was so interested in Citi was the global presence and the opportunity to potentially work overseas” says Andersen. She stresses that establishing her desire to work overseas was one of the major factors leading to her career abroad.

Identify Your Goals

Beyond letting her company know of her desire to go overseas, Andersen developed a clear understanding in her own mind of why she wanted to go abroad. Speaking of her own purpose, Andersen said, “I’m a much better global leader because I’ve lived in other countries. That is part of… why it was important [to me].”  The same is true of anyone seeking a position abroad.  Intention, focus, and an understanding of why are key to success.

Though traveling abroad offers many exciting experiences, that alone is not likely to merit a company’s sponsorship. Andersen speaks fondly of her cultural and educational experiences while working in Tokyo and Hong Kong. But more importantly to her employers, she acknowledges, “I really liked being in the business world and just getting to understand how business operated differently.”  Anyone looking to secure a position working abroad must also remember to focus on career and business goals.

Communicate Your Purpose

Once Andersen identified her personal goals, she made a point to communicate her goals in 3 ways: directly to the company, directly to coworkers, and indirectly through hard work and performance. She holds that “being able to talk about the return on investment, the ROI, for the business in investing in you,” is of high importance to securing a position abroad. Along with communicating her purpose to management, Andersen made sure to ask questions and establish connections with people who had previously worked abroad in the program for which she was applying. With both her managers and coworkers aware that Andersen wanted to work abroad, she further validated her intentions through high performance in the U.S. leading up to her application to work abroad. Andersen believes that this allowed her to build trust and show that she could work abroad and produce the benefit her company desired.

Conclusion

Whether you have been traveling the globe for years or you are seeking your first experience overseas, working internationally can be a great opportunity for career growth and development. Chloe Andersen successfully secured a line of positions abroad and has become a strong global leader because of it. She recommends that anyone seeking to work overseas convey their desire to travel early on, identify their goals of going abroad, and communicate the purpose of their international work for both themselves and their company.

Learn more about Chloe Andersen’s experience working in Tokyo and Hong Kong, as well as her insights on securing a position abroad here.