There was a time when most college students could rely on finding a steady job in their native country. People simply didn’t have the resources to travel, and companies didn’t have access to information technology allowing them to exchange documents quickly over long distances.
Today the game has changed significantly. American car companies that once employed over 10,000.00 American plant workers are now outsourcing most of the jobs to China and other sources of low-cost labor. Even the white-collar sector is affected by the change. IT companies in the United States, Canada, and European nations are outsourcing their tech support jobs to India and Pakistan.
So, what steps should today’s college students take to ensure they have the best chance of keeping their jobs over the duration of their career? Here are three tips to not only keep your job, but to make yourself irreplaceable:
1. Study other languages and cultures. Start yesterday.
To one degree or another, our home country’s culture and our native tongue indelibly shape us. Someone who speaks English and spends their early life in the US or the UK will perceive the world differently than someone raised in Saudi Arabia or India. While having a unique world perspective is valuable in and of itself, it’s important to be able to convey that perspective to future employers and clients in the clearest possible manner. Further, it is important to learn different cultural rules of social engagement so that you don’t give the wrong impression or cause offense in a business setting.
If you’re still working on your primary education, take advantage of any free language coursework offered to students. If you’re in college, take language courses until you’re fluent in at least one other language. Take advantage of study abroad programs and attend a foreign university for a year. Multinational corporations will choose your application over those of others simply because you’re able to truly communicate with their clients.
2. Specialize in a field that is difficult to outsource.
Even if you live in a country that is currently benefiting from outsourcing, realize that the trend might only be temporary. As the population of your country becomes more educated, the average salary of a college graduate will become less inflated compared to other specializations. The sad truth is, when more people have college degrees, those degrees are worth less on the job market.
With that in mind, choose a field of study that is desirable in nearly any job market or country. Medical professions, pharmaceuticals, and engineering always weather even the worst recessions well. Better yet, they are generally hands-on jobs. In other words, it’s harder to outsource them to the next up-and-coming country.
3. Don’t fight outsourcing. Embrace it.
Students in countries that are experiencing an influx of outsourced jobs will have an easier time finding entry-level jobs than their foreign counterparts. Enjoy the advantage and use your first job to gain experience. Realize that the companies outsourcing you are paying you pennies on the dollar compared to your American or European counterpart. After gaining several years of experience, seek a transfer to an American or European position in your company. Your salary will see a significant increase.
If you’re a student in a country that outsources most of its projects, consider finding a job as an on-the-job trainer. Companies who outsource to India, China, Pakistan, and the like are always seeking young, qualified employees who are willing to move overseas for several years. You would be training employees in American/European business practices and trouble-shooting language differences. That counts as leadership experience, and looks great on your resume.
Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at Online Degrees, researching areas of online colleges. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.