Leveraging Study Abroad in Your Career
International experiences greatly affect individuals at the personal, academic and professional levels. The exposure to adverse situations and new environments that study abroad provides not only enables students to be more flexible and adapt to new surroundings, but it helps to develop knowledge, skills and abilities that are desirable in any professional setting. Thus, it is essential that you leverage your study abroad experience in your job search, via your resume, cover letter, and definitely in your interviews.
Unfortunately, when interviewing candidates, many potential employers look for a certain skill set that fits the available position but fail to recognize the benefits of international exposure and how they apply to the open job position. Therefore you must learn to effectively communicate the unique skills and experiences from your international exposure to differentiate yourself form other candidates.
Recognize the skills that will ‘add value’ to a potential employer.
Put into writing how your international experience fits into your long-term career goals.
·Write out a strategy as to how what you learned abroad might uniquely benefit a professional in the particular career field in which you have an interest.
·Identify what skills you have acquired/enhanced while abroad, such as:
Enhanced cultural awareness and sensitivity to customs and cultural differences *Foreign language proficiency *Adaptability *Ability to identify and achieve goals *Increased confidence, initiative & independence *Awareness of global, economic, political issues and realities *Problem solving and crisis management skills
How to incorporate Study Abroad into your Resume, Cover letter & interview
·Consider listing the program in the education section of your resume
·If you worked while abroad, list the experience and focus on the cross-cultural learning.
·If the experience included an internship, list it as a professional experience rather than an activity.
·If your resume includes a section for skills, include specific skills acquired or improved while abroad.
·State that operating in a global arena and having international experience are key to being successful in today’s global market.
·Focus on what you learned, not just how much fun you had.