Securing a Global role - how to make an effective case

Our Director Michael Colton recently wrote the following article for the June 2019 issue of the IOSH Magazine.

Question: I have seen a role that requires the successful candidate to improve HSE compliance across multiple countries. However, I’ve only done this in the UK. Can I make an effective case for the role?

In short, the answer would be, yes.  Every person currently managing HSE across multiple countries had to start somewhere - its unlikely that their first health & safety job had this level of responsibility.  It’s good to keep in mind, if others can take that step, so can you.

If you can successfully improve HSE compliance in the UK, then this is your starting point in evidencing that you can replicate your strengths and approach across other countries.  Multiple countries, brings multiple levels of complexity, different laws and regulations, cultural differences, languages and different approaches to work.  Look at where your experience has equipped you for dealing with these variations that would give you an advantage over other candidates. 

Have you gained any overseas experience in your career?  Does your current company have international operations?  Do you have visibility of HSE strategy in other regions or countries?  Have you worked with different countries on projects or in other capacities?  Gather all the evidence you can, to profile you as the most suitable candidate.  Once you have given this some thought, you need to document it.

CV’s are usually the first contact an employer will have with a prospective candidate.  Repurposing your CV specifically for this role would be a crucial part of building an effective case.  It’s important to get it right.

Make sure you document the achievements and improvements you made in health and safety in your UK roles.  Reductions in accident or incident rates or positive results from staff engagement surveys are tangible and good examples.  Many clients I work with, focus on achievements more than they pay attention to responsibilities.  Responsibilities are similar from role to role, achievements make one candidate stand out from another.  If you can use facts and figures where possible all the better.

Highlight any international projects, teams or initiatives you have been involved, go through your roles and look for examples. Have you worked or studied in another country, or lived in other parts of the world?  Detail this experience and elaborate to give context and relevance to the role, it all helps to build a picture of someone who has an interest and ability to transfer successfully into this kind of position. 

If this is your long term career goal, then seek out any opportunities which will lead you to it.  If you work for an international company, look for internal opportunities or projects you can get involved in to gain relevant experience. Network internally with your compatriots in other countries, meet them when they’re in the UK and learn more about safety in their country.

Keep in mind, that your career is a marathon not a sprint. Think about the steps you can take over coming years to achieve your goal.  Every person currently in a global role had to take a series of steps to get there, with some planning so can you!

Michael Colton is a Director at Irwin & Colton, the health, safety and environment recruitment experts.
Contact: michael.colton@irwinandcolton.com or 01923 432 633

Posted on Friday Jun 7