Last week I began answering a reader’s question about how she could get a role in international compliance when she only had experience within her country.  My first advice was to study the international laws that affect her business (Click HERE to read Part I).  In addition to learning about the law, there are several other things that she or you can do to increase your chances of moving into global compliance. 

Plan a Visit to Your Company’s International Office(s)

If you want to get into international compliance at your current company, try to find a reason to have a business trip to an international office.  Perhaps you can schedule your next meeting in in South America or Europe?  Maybe you can do your next internal investigation in person? 

If there’s no budget or reason to send you abroad, you can always plan your vacation to a place with a significant company office.  Let’s say you want your remit to expand to Europe.  Can you plan a vacation to Spain and work one day in the Madrid office?  Can you head to South Africa and meet the Cape Town-based legal and compliance team while you’re there? 

It may seem extreme to plan a visit abroad, but remember, people are always more comfortable with someone they know than someone they’ve never met.  By making friends and alliances in the international offices, you are more likely to be invited to work in the international business.

Write an Article on an International Issue for the SCCE Magazine or Blog

This past year I was interviewing potential compliance officers to fill a role on one of my client’s compliance teams.  Several great candidates applied.  One candidate had written an article in Compliance and Ethics Professional Magazine on a sanctions issue that was critically important to the company.  It probably won’t surprise you that he got the job.  We were so impressed with his mastery of the subject (as proven by the article) that he immediately became the preferred candidate.  If you want to move into international compliance, there’s no better way to show thought leadership and understanding of the issues than to write about them in a public way.

Get Your CCEP-I Certification

Many readers will be familiar with the Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional qualification “CCEP”) qualification, but did you know that there is an international version as well?  You don’t have to have worked internationally to sit CCEP-International exam, but you do have to have experience in compliance.  More information can be found here.  

Gaining CCEP-I qualification shows that you have studied international compliance and understand the laws and requirements specific to working in multi-national organizations. 

Apply for International Jobs

Does it seem far-fetched that a company might sponsor you to move to another country?  It shouldn’t – people move around the world for work every day.  If you see a job at your company or on a website for a job in another country, why not apply?  In many parts of the world, compliance officers are thin on the ground.  Compliance is still nascence in much of Europe, Asia, South America and Africa.  Your skills and willingness to go to an unfamiliar country could take you on an incredible adventure.  There’s no harm in applying!

Study a Foreign Language

One of the biggest barriers to being hired to work internationally is a lack of language skills.  You can overcome this barrier and put yourself at the head of the applicant pool by becoming proficient in another language.  Choose a language based on either (1) the language in a country or region in which you’d like to work or (2) the language that would most benefit your current business.

I took French in high school and studied Spanish in college.  At the time I had no idea that I’d someday be living in Britain, and that one of my jobs would require monthly business trips to Paris.  I also didn’t know how much training I would be doing in Spanish-speaking countries, particularly in South America.  My French is still quite rudimentary, but these language skills have allowed me to be comfortable when I’m traveling.  More importantly, it gave managers faith in me and allowed me to be closer to the business because I was quite literally “speaking their language.” 

Working in international compliance is an incredible opportunity.  By preparing for the job you want, instead of simply performing the job you have, you’ll make yourself a much more viable candidate when the opportunity to work in multiple jurisdictions arises. 

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