How to Market Your Study Abroad Experience
Could your international experience be the icing on the cake?
When speaking to domestic or international employers, it is crucial to develop ways
to market your international experience to help you get the job that you desire.
Articulating your skills and traits that you have acquired will enhance your ability
to compete as a top job candidate. Start by visiting the Hart Career Center, then check out these tips and links to sites to help you get started.
What types of skills and attributes are developed through studying abroad?
The skills and attributes gained while studying abroad are as diverse and varied as
each individual's study-abroad experience. The following list, from Ball State University,
offers examples of skills often developed through living in other countries:
- Communication skills (including listening and overcoming language barriers)
- Foreign language skills
- Global point of view, appreciation of diversity, tolerance, cultural awareness, and
sensitivity to customs and cultural differences
- Flexibility and adaptability
- Motivation and initiative
- Organizational and time-management skills
- Ability to identify, set, and achieve goals
- General travel and navigational skills
- Problem-solving and crisis-management skills
- Patience Independence, self-reliance, and responsibility
- Open-minded and observant
Tips for Success
- You should include your study abroad experience on your resume, and refer to it in
your cover letter, portfolio, and job interviews.
- When writing a good cover letter, it is important to match your skills and abilities
to the needs of the employer. Use the cover letter to highlight one or two of your
top skills or attributes when referring to your travel experience.
- Be prepared to situate the general environment of the school you attended while abroad.
- Be prepared to speak about the specific cultural traits of your new study abroad host
country nationals and intercultural skills.
- With language skills, indicate the level of reading, writing, and speaking skills
you have acquired.
- Recognize the value of the general skills you developed while abroad.
- Be professional in describing your study abroad experience. Avoid shocking stories,
bizarre tales, or misadventures.
- Use the language of your future work. Avoid using too many names and titles that will
be foreign to your prospective employer. Avoid detailed geographical descriptions.
- In dealing with international employers, don't mix personal goals with career goals.
Never announce to potential international employers that your career goal is to live
in Paris or to travel extensively in Asia. Employers want to hear about goals that
match their skill requirements.
- In dealing with employers with no international experience, do not overstate or dwell
on your re-entry adjustment problems, demonstrate your business focus and avoid wearing
souvenir clothing or jewelry.
For more ideas, visit studyabroad.com article on Marketing YOUR Study Abroad EXPERIENCE.