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Employability skills: Global fluency

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Published: 26 November 2020


It’s a small world. For many of us, thinking about our careers no longer means just thinking about businesses in one country.

There are around 600 multinational companies in the world right now – defined as operating in two or more countries. And that number is only growing.

So how do you make the most out of this international world of business? The answer – global fluency.

It’s the way we measure how good an individual is at maintaining a competitive advantage in a global workplace.

This comes down to certain knowledge and abilities that help you become the most effective person to be working internationally.

All this makes global fluency an important skill to add to your CV, and one many companies will be looking for.

The skills

Speaking a foreign language

It almost goes without saying but being able to speak another language is really important if you want to work internationally.

But even if you do happen to be bi- or multi-lingual, some languages are more sought after than others.

The most looked for by top employers are:

  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Chinese (Mandarin)
  • Arabic

If you need to brush up on any of these, consider taking a free online course like Duolingo to get the basics.


Less easy to define than speaking lots of languages, openness is an important part of working with people from different cultures.

It comes down to the ability to see and understand the perspectives of others, especially if they come from countries with different ways of living, different beliefs and traditions to you.

Being able to do this means having an ability to confront complex problems and find opportunities in business.

You can develop this skill by learning about the culture you want to work in. Read books by its authors, watch TV made in the country, speak with people and really listen to what they say.

Become digitally savvy

One of the best ways to understand a new culture is to visit the country. Ideally, that would mean going there on your travels, perhaps finding a temporary job or some work experience. 

But COVID-19 has put a stop to that for the time being. Instead, you can get to know the international world online.

A large amount of global business is now done over the internet, so understanding how to perform simple tasks like using email, Google and Microsoft Word are vital.

But more than that, you need to start thinking about how you can connect with people across the world. Use professional social media sites like LinkedIn to build your own network.

These are just some of the skills you’ll need to keep in mind when considering working in international business.

If you think a global career could be for you, take a look at courses like the MSc in International Business Management, BSc in International Tourism and Hospitality Management or the MBA in Supply Chain Management.

Each of these focus on their areas from a global perspective, helping set you up for a successful international career. 

If you want to find out more about our international degrees, visit the MBA, Business, Management and Finance and Tourism, Hospitality and Events course pages.

Learn more about jobs skills on the Digital Literacy Skills section of the Library website.

For more information, visit our Careers and Employability page. You can read about employability skills on our news pagesFind out more by following #WeAreSunLon on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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