You’ve done the time, now how do you explain all that you’ve learned and developed while working abroad? Through a killer resume of course! If you’re resume writing-challenged, don’t worry. Here are some tips on incorporating your international experience on your resume.
- Understand what to include and where: Where you place your experience is just as important as the information you include. One rule of thumb is to look at your study or work abroad experience like a previous job. Another is to make your own section entitled “International Experience,” where you can list the employer name or program name, country, dates and a brief explanation of the experience. Make sure it’s relevant to the job you’re applying for. If you strictly studied abroad, list this experience under the “Education” section.
- Sell your experience abroad. Simply listing your experience overseas isn’t going to cut it. You have to make it relevant to the job at hand and really convince hiring managers that your experiences helped shape the professional you are today. Because living and working in another country requires the ability to adapt to a new culture, language and customs, illustrate the skills you’ve gained. Go beyond the bullet point and turn it into a compelling selling point to potential employers.
- Apply the experience: Bringing your experience to the workplace in tangible ways is crucial if you want to set yourself apart from the rest. But it’s not all just about language or communication skills. You can apply your experience to a broad range of skill sets, playing to your strengths, such as:
- Money management
- Problem-solving skills
- Decision-making skills
- Time management
- Global awareness
- Intercultural communication skills
- Increased confidence
- Networking skills
- Writing, interviewing, research
- Go further than the paper: Employers are looking for someone who stands out from the paper or electronic resume they are reading. Plan ahead and write a journal or chronicle your experience through photos. Write a blog, be active on social media, write journals, collect experiences. If you can include a link to your blog, this will enhance your international experience and bring it to life in the reader’s eyes. Giving your resume an enhanced texture can add another layer to your experience abroad.
- Back it all up: Of course, you’ll need to back up your experience, so be prepared to provide a writing sample, speak in the language you have been studying, or offer some other unique insight into your skill set. This gives you another opportunity to impress the hiring manager. Before submitting your resume, ask your study abroad advisor, academic mentor, colleague or former boss to look over your resume so you can get feedback.
To augment and improve your resume, it’s important to have a firm grasp of the language in which you are studying. BRIC Language Systems can help with our innovative approach to language learning, whether Mandarin Chinese, Brazilian Portuguese or Spanish.