Post by Michele Friedmann, Former Graduate Intern

Parc de Labirint d'Horta

Parc de Labirint d’Horta

First of all, if you are reading this, congrats to you for having an international experience to highlight on your resume! In today’s world, more and more employers are seeking out culturally diverse and experienced employees who can work effectively in a global workplace.

Studying or interning abroad does way more than benefit your personal, professional and academic growth; it can also enhance your marketability! Employers are increasingly seeking out students who have an overseas experience. They recognize that those who have interned or studied abroad are likely to possess skills highly sought after and needed in the global economy These skills include: cross-cultural communication skills, economic and geographical knowledge, analytical skills, flexibility, ability to adapt, understanding of local customs, and in some cases proficiency of a foreign language. So it’s important those who have international experience highlight these key skills and qualities to potential employers.

In today’s competitive market, you must find ways to distinguish yourself and stand out! As you prepare your resume, be sure to highlight your study or intern abroad experiences. It’s beneficial to include relevant global experience on your resume and to be prepared with a relevant story to tell in an interview. By listing these experiences you are showing employers that you are versatile, adaptable, willing to seek out new experiences and able to succeed in a new environment- all qualities employers are looking for!

Resume Tips:

1. If applicable, mention your international experience in the OBJECTIVE section of the resume.

  • Enhanced cultural awareness and sensitivity to cultural differences of customers.
  • Foreign language proficiency.
  • Awareness of global economic, political issues and realities
  1. List your study abroad experience separately under the EDUCATION section.

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, emphasis in Finance San Diego State                 University

Study Abroad, Institute for the International Education of Students, Barcelona, Spain

  • Extensive study of the Spanish and Catalan cultures through classroom and host family experience.
  • Learned valuable lessons in time management, foreign exchange rates, and cultural aspects of business.
  1. If you completed an international internship, list this under the EXPERIENCE section.

Writing your Cover Letter:

When you write your cover letter mention your international experience and briefly described the experiences and skills learned from studying or interning abroad. Make sure you identify HOW that learning is transferable to the position to which you are applying. Highlight related accomplishments while overseas and the person reading your resume will want to learn more about you! This information should come in the second or third paragraph of your cover letter.

Examples of what to highlight:

  • Enhanced cultural awareness and sensitivity to cultural differences of costumes
  • Foreign language proficiency
  • Awareness of global economic, political issues and realities

Sample Interview Questions and Possible Answers:

  1. “You studied in Barcelona, Spain. Why did you decide to go there? How was your experience the same or different from your expectations?”

Answer Strategy: Think back to why you decided to go. It may help to refer back to the personal statement you wrote with your study abroad application. Think about the things that surprised your while you were overseas. For example, you may have realized that Spain is more diverse than you believed it to be.

  1. “What have you accomplished at school or during your study abroad experience that you are most proud of?

Answer Strategy: Think about the goals you had for going overseas. Which goals did you meet? Which ones were you most proud of? As you related this to the interviewer, you might express it by…

  • Explaining the goal you had for traveling abroad; Describe how this goal was accomplished; Sharing what you learned along the way

3. “What did you learn overseas that will help you do this job successfully?”

Answer Strategy: Think about the ways in which you have changed. You might have learned to be more flexible, adaptable, tolerant, open-minded, patient, etc. You may have gained specialized skills or knowledge from your classes, an internship or volunteer opportunities. Think about how some of these changes and skills might be useful on the job.

Sources:

http://olincareers.wustl.edu/SiteCollectionDocuments/PDFs/WCC/OverseasExperience.pdf

http://career.sdsu.edu/resources/handouts/StudyAbroadExperience.pdf