The job market is competitive and if you studied abroad, you’ve got something that sets you apart. Here’s how to make your potential employer see how your study abroad experience helped you grow into a great future employee.
It’s not enough to just tell a potential employer that you studied abroad in college. To get the advantage, you have to explain why it matters. Think about you before your program and you after your program. These differences could be more concrete changes, like becoming fluent in another language. They can also include growing some of your soft skills, like cultural awareness or adaptability.
If you kept a blog during your time abroad, that’s a great place to start. See how you reacted to cultural differences or unexpected changes in the beginning of your program versus the end of your program. A study abroad blog is also something that your potential employer would likely be interested in.
Now that you’ve figured out why your time abroad makes you a more valuable employee, it’s time to add it on your resume. You can decide if it makes more sense for your personal resume to put it under education, or under a separate section. Adding key courses you took that might be relevant to the job you are applying to is also recommended.
Update your LinkedIn profile to reflect your study abroad experience, or create one if you haven’t already. Most employers will look for your profile during your job search.
Add a short, professional summary about yourself and incorporate any skills you gained while studying abroad. Enter the university that you studied at and your courses in the Education section. Include any volunteer work or internships you completed abroad.
Make connections on LinkedIn by joining groups. You can network and converse with other members of the group, and potential employers will also see a visual representation of your background on your profile by seeing your groups. A great place to start is joining the ISEP Alumni & Friends group.
So you’ve stood out enough to snag an interview. Now you have to prove that you’re as good in person as you’ve presented yourself on paper.
Look at the job that you’re applying for, and find key skills and traits mentioned in the listing. How does your study abroad and educational experience relate to the requirements? Speak about any skills that will easily transfer to your future job.
Have interview-appropriate stories ready to back up the skills that are on your resume. Review your reflection stage and figure out what situations and experiences best provided you with the skills that you’ll need to do this job.
Your study abroad experience is more than just an extended vacation. Use your resources to show your potential employer why your time abroad added to your education and made you perfect for the position.