Now that you have successfully entered the field of international education, what can you do to become more involved, improve your skills, enhance your knowledge, and become a leader? Here are some questions and accompanying suggestions to get you moving on the path of career advancement.
What are your long-term career goals?
As in any development process, start by defining your goals.
What are they related to?
- Position change/advancement
- Office/institutional advancement
- Job security
- Office/organization growth and development
- Specific duties/shift in responsibilities
- Development of expertise
- Involvement for personal fulfillment
- Work/life balance
What strategies will best help you realize your goals and how might you initiate the process?
How can you raise your profile/get involved on your campus?
- Volunteering for committees and attending functions that high placed staff and administrators attend
- Organizing a campus network around a topic or function (international interests, staff development, students affairs, internships) that draws from a variety of offices and encourages networking
- Identifying a mentor on campus
How can you raise your profile/get involved in the field?
- Joining a committee of interest or chaired by someone you admire
- Volunteering for a position in an association
- Volunteering at conferences
- Getting articles published (International Educator, Frontiers, etc.)
- Proposing sessions for conferences at the regional and national level, either on a topic you are interested in or have done work in or just chairing the session and recruiting professionals you admire to present
- Expressing interest to peers you know and trust who are already involved and asking them to include you
How do you translate this involvement into career development outcomes?
- Make sure professional activities are profiled on your CV including conference attendance, workshop participation, all presentations you are involved in, and noteworthy outcomes (for instance, if one of your sessions is named “Best of Region”)
- Incorporate professional activities into performance reviews, if they are not already
- Define the benefits and status of such activities for your office/organization/institution (your profile benefits your employer!), if they are not already recognized
- Document and keep a portfolio of activities and contributions
- Target activities aligned to an area you want to move into or develop expertise in
How do you identify or approach a mentor?
- Who does the job you wish you had? They would make an ideal mentor.
- Who is in a position to assist you with your goals?
- Where will they be available to you on your campus or at a conference?
- Who do you know that could introduce you?
- Once you are introduced or introduce yourself, express your admiration (most people love a compliment).
- Ask for advice or to hear about their experience (most people love to talk about themselves).
- Once the relationship is established, ask for guidance or permission to resource their advice, ask them to keep you in mind for initiatives, positions, etc. There is something more concrete about the articulated mentor/mentee relationship.
*Note to introverts: You may find it more comfortable to initiate the relationship through a less intimidating method such as e-mail. A nicely worded communication could be just as effective as a personal introduction and you should work with your own style rather than conform to the pressure to be an extrovert!
How can mid-careers work as a unified group to increase our representation in the field?
Use your success to assist your cohort by:
- Including mid-career colleagues in committees you are invited to be a part of
- Proposing conference sessions workshops profiling and exhibiting our expertise and/or addressing our issues
- Nominating other mid-careers for positions
- Nominating other mid-careers for awards
- Recommending mid-careers for institutional or organizational boards
- Promoting consultation by our “experts”