A career in international marketing can be exciting and even glamorous, but it is an extremely challenging field that requires a dedication to life-long learning. While the career path will look different for each individual, here are a few key steps to take to build your own international marketing career:
1. Earn Your Bachelor’s Degree – Earning a bachelor’s degree in marketing or international business provides a solid foundation of marketing principles and international business practices. Most marketing programs will expose you to global marketing strategies while international business programs will provide opportunities to learn a foreign language. I double majored in both during my undergraduate studies while learning Spanish and it has turned out to be one of the best decisions that I could have made early on in my career.
2. Gain International Experience – International exposure will be essential to landing a job in international marketing, so seek out any opportunity that you may have to travel abroad. International internships and study abroad programs are a great way for students to gain international experience and even learn a bit of the local language. During undergrad, I studied abroad twice – in Costa Rica and then Japan. Those experiences and the skills I gained during that time will continue to benefit me for years to come.
3. Learn a Foreign Language – The most successful international marketers speak at least two languages. I’m still working on becoming fluent in a second language, but even conversational fluency can open doors for your career. Consider taking some language classes or spending a summer abroad to immerse yourself. If travel is out of your budget, spend time volunteering or hanging out in culturally diverse parts of town getting to know your community. You will be surprised who you meet and how willing they could be to help.
4. Seek Global Awareness – The world is constantly changing and evolving, so successful marketers need to stay aware of what is happening in the world. Watch international news channels, follow international marketing blogs, and attend cultural events. The key to international marketing is understanding the needs of individuals from all walks of life, so take the time to learn about them.