4 Vital Cultural Considerations for Global Career Success

Posted on Aug 22, 2017 | 0 comments

4 Vital Cultural Considerations for Global Career Success

Whether you reside in Canada, Zimbabwe, or Mumbai, cultural factors play a huge role in both seeking and maintaining a job. Even the smallest cultural faux-pas could potentially hinder your progress at work, or remove you from consideration for future projects and promotions. Cultural competence, therefore, is the key to a comfortable workplace transition and integration. Below are several excerpts from the Passport Career Country Portfolios, which include sections on different key cultural factors. Keep this information in mind as you explore international career opportunities in your chosen field.



Gender & Age in the Workplace

Every country has different statutes and protections for various genders and age groups. It is important to know what protections you are entitled to, and what types of behavior are acceptable. When you relocate to or visit your future country of residence, pay close attention to cultural norms regarding gender roles, as well as to the hierarchy of age. In many cultures, age is an indicator of experience and expertise that engenders a certain level of respect, but in many industries this needs to be balanced with new technologies and rapidly changing workplace standards of productivity. Passport Career members can research their destination culture in our Country and City Portfolios.


Workplace Norms & Time

The way that various cultures interpret time can be described as a spectrum with monochronic interpretation at one end, and polychronic at the other. When planning a transition abroad, it is a good idea to understand toward which end of the spectrum your native culture falls, and where on the spectrum your destination culture is placed. It is also important to determine your personal perception of time, and how that will align, or misalign, with that of your destination culture. If, for example, your destination culture perceives a 3:00 appointment to begin promptly at 3:00, but you tend to run 15 minutes late in general, you may want to adjust your habits accordingly: schedule every appointment 15 minutes earlier than its actual start time on your calendar.


Business Attire and Fashion

Each culture has its own interpretation of what attire is acceptable in the workplace. Suitable attire also varies from industry to industry. Research the most appropriate clothing choices for your destination culture and industry to ensure that you make a good impression during your interview and your first few days at your new position. If you are unable to find information on attire specific to your career field, it may be prudent to observe what working professionals in your general area of residence wear during commuting hours each day. Passport Career members can also learn more about appropriate attire in the Crossing Cultures section of Global Topics, as well as in the individual Country and City Portfolios.


Non-Verbal Communication and Personal Space

Learning the basics of the local language is a great way to get to know your destination culture. Equally important, however, is learning the norms of non-verbal communication and personal space. Pay particular attention to cultural rules about eye contact, posture, physical contact, and how far away you should stand when speaking with someone for the first time, in comparison to acquaintances or friends.

There are many other cultural factors that contribute to a successful global career. Above all, it is important to remember that each culture is different, and even if you make mistakes, a genuine attempt to reflect cultural norms is often seen as a positive effort, and will ultimately help you begin to build important business and social relationships. For a more in-depth look at these and other cultural factors, Passport Career members can login to their account and browse the Country and City Portfolios and Global Topics sections of the private site.



Passport Career provides more detailed career information and extensive resources about networking, finding an international job or internship, country-specific business protocol and culture, alternative career opportunities, writing country-specific resumes/CVs, cover letters and interview strategies for other countries. If your university/college, organization, company, embassy, library, or other institution would like access to our country portfolios and global career training program (50,000+ pages of expert content for 90+ countries and 275+ cities) to share with your students, employees, spouses/partners, and others managing a national or international career transition, please click here to contact us (or send email to: global@passportcareer.com) regarding a free, live, online demo and details on how to obtain a license to access Passport Career.

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