Building a global career in marketing and PR: In association with PRPOI

A decade ago, the idea of moving abroad for a job was only popular amongst the technical skilled professionals like engineers, doctors and researchers. But thanks to multiple elements like globalisation, sophistication of various industries in India and growth of our education sector, increasingly many young Indians now aspire to move overseas, irrespective of their experience and industry.

The Indian marketing industry is known to be one of the largest, competitive, and fastest growing industries in the world. So, can marketing professionals from India make a move to other countries and expect to build a career in the same industry? The answer is yes, but it’s a little more complicated than that. Rather tricky.

Here are some of the key elements to consider when opting to relocate, based on my experience.

But before that, my disclaimer: Views below are mainly related when an individual is looking to move to another country themselves via migration or education. The experience of shifting countries in an existing job differs vastly as challenges faced might be quite varied.

Setting expectations

Marketing as a skill is not a technical skill (like engineering). Hence the expectation of doing your exact job (that you may have in India) may not always work out in different countries. So, it is crucial that you understand this and spend some time researching what are the different industries that have opportunities in a specific country that you plan to move to. Working backwards from there and then either using your existing skills or upskilling, will help you find more opportunities.

The art of unlearning

Have you ever moved from an android mobile phone to an iPhone? The experience of moving job markets is very similar. Every country has a different culture and a unique way of doing things. As a result of this, the specific industry (that you have worked in) might have different ways of doing things in a different country. Let’s take media as an example. For instance, the media industry in India is probably one of the largest industries (in terms of numbers) as compared to the larger global media industry. However, developed countries like Australia, Canada and Singapore have a limited number of news publications and channels. Having known this, automatically you can imagine the number of jobs in media related sectors, such as PR, are far more limited.

So, as a marketing professional who has majority of his / her experience from India, it is important to unlearn ways of working / processes that are no longer relevant in the country that you want to move to.

If you are a passionate marketing nerd like me, you will understand that the beauty of marketing lies in your understanding of it. While it is good to specialise and grow in one specific branch of marketing to demand a bigger salary, there is no restriction to pick up more skills and grow into other marketing verticals. The fundamental basics of marketing remain the same, its only the tools and channels that change in each sub-industry. And these new tools and channels, in my experience, are not very difficult to pick up, if you really intend to learn.

The job markets in most developed countries are very competitive to the point that people don’t change jobs unless it is their absolute last alternative. Unlike India, promotions and salary hikes are not something that people get guaranteed every year. Irrespective of the industry and seniority, getting laid off is a common thing for people in these countries, especially when the economy is not doing well. Even small things like not being on time, can reflect poorly on you – even if you were a ‘Rockstar’ at work. So never loose sight of being a professional, who evolves with time and stays focused on discipline too.

    Think bigger!

    People often limit their experience only to what is listed down on their resume. “I have worked in the PR industry for 10 years, so I can only look out for PR roles”, Anonymous.

    Networking

    During my initial years as a PR professional in India, my understanding of networking was very different from what I had to do, when I moved countries. And this probably ties back to the earlier point of different markets living different cultures. In most developing countries, apart from what you need to do for work, marketing professionals are expected to proactively keep in touch with their colleagues in the industry via marketing associations or Facebook / LinkedIn. This platform is not just focussed on job openings, but is also about discussing views on specific topics, experience of running a specific campaign and sharing learnings. Even though it is voluntary in nature, it provides great value in staying informed on multiple things in your industry, which you may not have come across in your daily job.

    Finally, be the best version of yourself

    No, the intention was not to be dramatic.

    Hope these views have helped provide a better perspective of what you can expect when you plan to change countries. As a reality check, remember moving countries is a life changing experience and if anyone tells you that it was not difficult, then they are definitely lying. However, if you have the patience and determination to build your career in marketing – in another country - it can be absolutely rewarding.

    Written exclusively for PRmoment India by Bhushan Rao, communications and social consultant, National Australia Bank, Australia as part of an editorial partnership for September 2020 with PRPOI

    The entire discussion can be watched here: