One of our readers recently asked, “I have been working in the HR field for the last few years and would like to break into the Expat Management/International Mobility field in Global HR. What is the best way to gain experience that will make me stand out to an organization that is recruiting global mobility staff?”
First, thanks very much to the reader for posting the question. We truly appreciate receiving input from and creating dialog with our colleagues.
To begin with a broad response to the question, please take a look at my June 25, 2009 entry, “How Can I Develop Global Human Resources Management Expertise?”.
Since the question focused specifically upon expatriate management / “Global Mobility”, some additional considerations include:
- Become a member of ERC Worldwide, use their resources, attend their meetings and become involved with their local affiliate groups’ meetings as well. You also should consider obtaining the GMS certification. ERC also posts career opportunities on their web site and you should monitor those.
- If you are based in Europe, or are in Europe frequently, consider becoming involved with EuRA.
- If you are currently employed in an organization that has a international assignments / Global Mobility program, get to know the staff responsible for the program – especially those with managerial responsibilities. Take them to lunch, ask their advice, learn what you can from them and, perhaps most importantly, volunteer to help them with their work. In today’s environment, they’re likely to be rather overworked and would welcome some help!
- Seek employment in corporations with established international assignment / Global Mobility programs, network with the global mobility management staff in those companies, keep an eye on job postings on their web sites. ERC’s members roster, their job postings board and involvement with the meetings mentioned above are ways to identify target companies and, possibly, specific opportunities.
- Do the same as above with the various global mobility service providers such as Bristol Global Mobility, Cartus, Prudential, SIRVA, MI Group, AIReS, Crown, Primacy, Lexicon, Plus Relocation, Weichert, Altair, Brookfield, etc. There are many more and you can find them via the ERC resources listings. Please keep in mind, however, that in the current economic climate, the overall relocation business has slowed significantly so hiring in the industry has as well.
- Seek out and participate in global mobility meeting groups in your area. For example, in Northern California, the Western International Personnel Association (WIPA) and Bay Area Professionals in Relocation Management (BAPRM) have a strong orientation toward global mobility. There are many other such meeting groups around the country. Global HR News hosts conferences in many locations across the US and abroad.
- Consider joining the Forum for Expatriate Management, and the many LinkedIn groups that focus upon Global Mobility. Track the discussions, and tap into the information and leads that appear in these forums.
- Keep an eye on job listings at Blue Sky and Signature Source, make contact with the principals in those firms to “get on their radars”. They are search firms that specialize in Global Mobility.
- Take advantage of specific classes, seminars and webinars. For example, ORC Worldwide, AIRINC and Mercer – the top three providers of international assignment package data – offer regular training programs. Also, please sign up for the remaining five sessions of the IOR Global Services webinar series that started on Sep 15 (I’m leading the Sep 29 session).
- Read, read, read – there is a great wealth of books, periodicals, white papers, research reports, etc. that has become available over the years. You’ll find items on Amazon.com, at the SHRM bookstore, at the World at Work bookstore and within the ERC website.
So to summarize, learn as much as possible about international assignments / global mobility and network with people already working in the field. The best way to learn, get on someone’s radar, and find out who is hiring, is to hang out with them!
Thanks again to our reader for her question. We ask others to also provide suggestions and guidance via comments on this post.