Marketing Your Study Abroad ExperienceStudents who have international experience are different than those who have not. Your unique set of skills and experiences set you apart from the average student. It also looks great on a resume and makes your undergraduate experience unique. However, potential employers or members of graduate or professional school admissions may lack these experiences themselves. It is up to you to effectively communicate the skills and proficiency's that will benefit their organization, convince them of the value of your experience, and demonstrate how this experience sets you apart from other applicants. You will have the opportunity to do this in your resume, your cover letter and even during your interview.
What skills or proficiencies have you acquired or enhanced while you were abroad? The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), through a task force of college career services and Human Resources professionals, has developed a definition, based on extensive research among employers, and identified eight competencies associated with career readiness. These competencies are also cited as skills that professionals with international experience have gained (see below). Take some time to reflect and write down those that come to mind. Then think of a brief, yet specific, example that illustrates each of the skills/attributes on your list.
Marketing Your EXPerience Virtual Session
Career Readiness Skills
Career Readiness Skills
- Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
- Oral/ Written Communications
- Digital Technology
- Professionalism/ Work Ethic
- Career Management
- Global/ Intercultural Fluency
Now that you’ve gained some great experience and developed important skills through Study Abroad you can leverage those experiences on your journey to a successful and rewarding career. To ready yourself for your future, it is important to know how to communicate your knowledge, skills, and experience in a clear and concise way. By participating in this virtual interactive workshop: Marketing Your EXPerience, you’ll gain tips and advice for your professional introduction (aka: elevator pitch), resume, interviewing, and even your cover letter, and LinkedIn summary.
View the virtual workshop: Marketing Your EXPerience and download the Study Abroad Career Competency Checklist.docx to fill out during the session.
Resume & Cover Letter
We recommend adding your study abroad experience to your resume as soon as possible after returning home, while the experience is still fresh in your mind. Reflecting on your experiences will aid you in creating bulleted action statements that convey what you have gained from your study abroad experience that you can bring into the workplace.
A cover letter complements the experiences outlined in your resume. It should not replicate them exactly. Your cover letter should highlight attributes that set you apart from other candidates.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- How does your experience relate to your field?
- How might your international experience uniquely benefit a professional in that field?
Resume & Cover Letter Writing Resources
- Study Abroad & Service Resume Sample
- IES Study Abroad Resume Example
- AIFS Student Guide to Study Abroad & Career Development
When speaking to potential employers it is important to be able to articulate the unique experience that you had abroad, through examples and storytelling. It is important to remember not to assume that the interviewer will realize how your international experience is relevant to your candidacy. Studying abroad provides you with multiple skills that can help you to be successful in your professional career, whether that career has an international component or not. Consider in advance where and how you will refer to your experience abroad.