23 Sep Resume Tip #2: International Experience
How to Showcase Your International Experience On Your Resume
After spending a couple months studying abroad, you're back. You've acquired a ton of new knowledge, honed your communication skills, stuffed your face with enough tapas to last you until the rest of the year, and now you’re ready to take on the job market. As you go about this, you must remember that the main goal is to market yourself. It is imperative that you effectively communicate to potential employers how you've been affected by your time abroad, and how your newly developed skills make you perfect for the job.
Here are a few things you should consider when crafting your resume:
Resume size. One thing you may want to take into consideration as you list your international experience is the resume size. According to an article by Dr. Katharine Hansen, “Resumes for new college graduates and entry-level job-seekers are often, but not always, one page.” It’s always safe to try to keep your resume length at one page, however, according to Dr. Hansen two pages is probably a better choice if you have “lots of relevant internship, summer job, extracurricular, leadership, and sports experience that justifies a two-page resume.” Employers looking for more experienced candidates will accept three- to four-page resumes.
Placement. You have a choice when it comes to where to include your study abroad experience. You can include your international experience under Education or create an International Experience section. Immersion programs can be included in the Education section of your resume. Internships and teaching abroad opportunities are relevant to work experience and probably go best under that section.
Relevance. I doubt there is anything you could have gained abroad that would be considered "irrelevant" but for the sake of the job objective (and resume size), you’ll definitely want to emphasize some things more than others. For instance, you want to start with the basics:
- The name of the study abroad program or the school at which you studied while abroad
- The name of the host country
- Time spent working/studying abroad (e.g. months, years, semesters, etc.)
- Courses you completed abroad (be sure they are relevant to the job objective)
Okay, we covered the where, now let’s get to the what.
The important thing is that you know how to sell yourself. Explain how you can apply the experience to the job. Some transferable skills you might want to include while you discuss your time spent abroad are:
- Adaptability Skills
- Increased cultural, economic, and political awareness
- Foreign Language(s) spoken and Proficiency level(s)
- Social Awareness and Communication skills
- Organizational Skills
- Critical Thinking Skills
- Analytical skills
- Time Management Skills
- Financial Skills
You won't need to list all of these, in fact, you can choose two or three to specifically include in your cover letter and later expand on.
Remember: Don't try to shove every little detail into your cover letter. Your resume, if written clearly and concisely, will be enough. If the hiring manager has any questions they will contact you, and that's when you can show out and let them see what you're made of.💜