I’ve worked abroad
Travel opportunities – whether short-term trips or long-term postings – rank high as a job perk for young graduates. The glamour factor aside, working abroad adds to your professional and personal development. From a career standpoint, the experience will expose you to all the nuances, challenges and growth opportunities of working in a different culture and environment. You broaden your horizon and learn best practices from other parts of the world.
Being posted abroad also comes with financial benefits. And, of course, it is a privilege usually reserved for those marked out for a career fast-track, which means promotion will likely follow a posting. Personally, expect to grow up and fast!
I’ve inter-department experience
A finance-trained professional was eyeing the Chief Financial Officer’s (CFO) post. She knew that to get the post, she had to develop a more rounded view of the company. So instead of remaining in the finance department, she asked for a transfer to marketing as an analyst. “In finance, you can develop a very insular viewpoint, focusing just on reporting without really understanding what actually happens in the field. But when you get to the CFO level, you need to know how the business works,” the young woman says.
To understand things better, she needed to get closer to sales and marketing, the main revenue drivers. She spent two years each in both departments and was eventually promoted to CFO, the youngest person to ever hold the position in the pharma company.
Senior management posts are rarely specialist jobs. Leaders are expected to know the ins and outs of the company to be able to make intelligent decisions. Gaining cross-department exposure sets a candidate apart as one with a more holistic view of the business.
I’ve started a business
Entrepreneurship is a true character test. Once you’ve run your own business, your thinking will be changed forever. Whether you remain an entrepreneur or return to the corporate world, you bring invaluable skills that no training room can ever provide. You can achieve this by starting something either full time or part time.
But what if you do not want to leave corporate life? Companies often offer opportunities internally to head up new initiatives or businesses requiring the same kind of drive. Meaning you enjoy the safety of employment and financial backing with the risks and challenges of entrepreneurship plus the advantage of being able to launch something on a larger scale.
I’ve worked with an MNC/conglomerate
It isn’t that a multinational company (MNC) or a conglomerate is better than a local organisation, but steering your career path to include stints in either can enrich your resume in many ways. MNCs and conglomerates – home-grown and foreign – are often able to offer a wider scope of exposure. Apart from their global or regional connections and large-scale projects or big brands, they also have in place best practices, technology, corporate culture, talent development and other initiatives benchmarked against high standards. There is a lot of breadth in learning opportunities, which you can take with you when you join a smaller or local organisation that will, in turn, offer you more depth in your career specialisation.
I’m still learning…
Getting a degree doesn’t mean the end of learning – it’s just the start. Companies often line up training programmes for staff but that should not stop you from looking outside to improve yourself.
Go on, sign up for courses, get certified beyond your current competency and participate in conferences… the list goes on! “I am not in a sales job but I believe every job involves some level of selling skills. So, I make it a point to attend at least one sales training course in a year, on my own time, with my own money. And I attend several previews by international sales coach to discover the best I can learn from,” says Ariff, a General Manager. Look at the skills you will need now and in five years, and develop a plan for picking up those skills as you progress.