Whether it’s for a semester or for your bachelor studies as a whole, deciding to study abroad can become an invaluable experience for your future career growth. And as with any academic or professional development experience, your study abroad should find its place in your resume and cover letter for any future jobs.
With that in mind, let’s explore the ways in which you can include your studies abroad in your resume in order to get your thoughts and experiences across to the interviewer in a succinct and informative manner.
Why Include Study Abroad on Your Resume?
Before we get into the specifics, let’s briefly touch on the multitude of advantages that can come from including your study abroad in any future job resumes.
As you are properly already aware, the global work industry is growing more competitive and demanding by the day. While companies continue to raise their bars for entry in terms of hiring fresh graduates, the students themselves also continue to impress with their extracurricular involvement, volunteering efforts, and development in preparation to enter the job market.
Studying abroad, and subsequently adding that fact to your resume, can thus lead to a number of beneficial factors for you, including:
- Stand out from your peers and gain better odds of engagement with more lucrative companies
- Higher chances at full-time employment and paid internships shortly after graduation
- Ability to secure a better income and benefits as a result of your expanded expertise
- Better networking and development opportunities in the industry
Set Your Sights on a Company/Position
What’s important to note about writing and submitting a resume is that each company, startup, and organization will look for different things in their candidates. Consequently, while your study abroad is a past experience that cannot be modified, the way you word your bullet points, their position on the page, and the emphasis you place on your time abroad will vary drastically depending on the company and position you are applying for.
For example, a travel agency or a global sales firm will greatly value your study abroad experience so you’ll want to mention it early and clearly on your resume. Meanwhile, a local business with local clients may not place as high an emphasis on your time abroad.
Choose your target positions prior to writing your resume and keep them in mind throughout the writing process.
Prioritize Your Experiences Abroad
While you may have spent years abroad studying in a foreign university, not every experience you had will be applicable to your future employment.
For example, a backpacking trip with your cohorts — while highly beneficial for you as an individual — won’t have the same value as an international conference you attended as part of your undergraduate studies.
Prioritize your experiences abroad and choose those that suit your target company’s employee expectations. These expectations will be listed in the job listing.
Outline Projects, Seminars, and Educational Events Abroad
Speaking of international events, professional development which takes place concurrently with your study abroad will prove highly advantageous in your resume.
Any seminars, international projects, or educational conferences that you attended and which fit in with your degrees and target industry should find their way into your resume. These will showcase your ability and willingness to develop news skills and knowledge.
Language Skills Matter More Than You Think
In the increasingly connected world we live in, language skills can be the thing that tips the scales in your favor.
While the English language represents the world’s lingua franca at the moment, languages such as French, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, and German are all highly sought out after by companies across the globe.
If you’ve put time and effort into learning a new language while abroad, that particular skillset should be taken advantage of during the post-graduation job hunt.
Mention Study Abroad in Your Cover Letter
Even though your resume is a useful tool for outlining your professional development path so far, the cover letter you submit will speak volumes about who you are as an individual. That’s why its important to include your study abroad experience in your cover letter as well as your resume.
When discussing your time abroad in your cover letter, be sure to include what the experience has done for you personally and how spending time in another country has altered your perceptions and/or values.
This will create a cohesive whole with your resume and will allow the interviewer to understand your mentality more clearly prior to the interview. (It’ll also make it easier for you to bring up your study abroad during the interview, but more on that later.)
Include Recommendations from Abroad
Did you spend time volunteering while abroad? Or maybe working in a local company or NGO? If so, you’ve got some great potential recommendations for future employers.
If you’ve already finished your study abroad program, get in touch with your contacts and ask for letters of recommendations and contact information.
These recommendations will give the interviewer an opportunity to hear about your personality and performance from people you’ve worked with in the past, enabling them to assess how you would fit in with their business culture.
Prepare to Discuss Your Study Abroad During the Interview
Lastly, in order to prepare for the interview itself, you should familiarize yourself with everything you’ve listed on your resume, including your time abroad.
Job interviews often revolve around the points, skills, and professional development history you’ve outlined in your resume. Thus, to take full advantage of your study abroad program, make sure you are prepared to discuss your time abroad and, specifically, how the skills and experiences you gained help make you the perfect candidate for the job.
While it may sound cliché at this point, to study abroad is to commit to change and personal development in unimaginable ways – qualities which many CEOs and interviewers specifically look for in job candidates.
Outline your experiences abroad, include them in your resume, and proudly submit those documents for evaluation. Before you know it, the right interviewer will recognize your skillset and personality as the ideal fit for their company.
How ULS Can Help
If you’re traveling overseas as an international student, ULS can help with all your translation needs. From diplomas and transcripts to letters of recommendation and student resumes, we provide professional, certified translation services in more than 200 languages.
About Diana Nadim: Diana is a writer and editor with a Masters degree in marketing. She combines her passion for writing with her interest in research to create thought-provoking content in various fields. Besides working as a contributing writer for WriteScout, Diana also does some editing work at Subjecto and Studyker. What inspires her most in her writing is traveling and meeting new people.