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More study not the answer

Question :

I did a BSc in Zoology and then an MBA in HR. I’ve been working as an HR generalist in India for the past four years. I’ve tried a lot to get a job abroad, but in Singapore and Malaysia, many consultancies and companies say HR does not have much scope abroad. What else can I study to enhance my chances of getting a job in a foreign country?  

Posted by Sundarvs on Saturday, 19 Jul 2014

Comments :

Before I answer your question, I would like to ask: why do you want to work overseas? Is India not able to offer you the job you want? With so many outsourcing companies established in India, I would assume there are a lot of opportunities for a human resources professional in areas such as recruitment, training, employee relations, payroll and administration.

Ask yourself what your strengths are in the eyes of your prospective employers. To compete, you must be able to demonstrate your value proposition. During the past four years as a HR generalist, what are the achievements that you are most proud of? Are you a strong project manager? A creative problem solver? An innovator?

I have a friend who clearly demonstrates his value by knowing about India’s labour market to recruit people from there for Hong Kong, as there is a shortage of application-development skills here. He is now in Hong Kong and doing extremely well.

What do you need to do? Going back to school is not going to cut it. Recently, the head of HR at a leading internet-related multinational was quoted as saying that GPAs and exam results don’t correlate with success at the company. They want to hire curious, analytical and smart people with a strong ability to learn. 

How much do you know about overseas markets? What are their unique challenges? I suggest that you do a self-assessment on the above traits, rewrite your résumé and market yourself in various channels, such as with recruitment firms that specialise in overseas placements and in online job portals. Also ask for advice from friends and colleagues who are working overseas – it is wise to connect with them.

Talking with a lot of recruiters, one clear trend emerges: they recruit for aptitude, for the ability to learn new things and incorporate them. Follow this direction and you won’t go wrong.

Good luck with your search for a rewarding career.

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