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Leveraging Study Abroad in the Job Market

May 30, 2012

This is a guest post from StudyAbroad.com – the Internet’s leading source of information for students seeking a study abroad program. Find your study abroad program at StudyAbroad.com, and visit us on Facebook and Twitter.

By Valeri Boyle

studyabroad1 300x239 Leveraging Study Abroad in the Job MarketA study abroad program is much more than just a global education experience. Besides the ability to learn a new language, network internationally, test your limits and meet new friends – studying abroad can help you prepare to land your dream job! Studying abroad may have been a lot of fun, but that doesn’t mean you can’t put a professional spin on your experiences as well. Employers are often impressed with the skills gained while studying abroad, and with these easy steps, you can begin to professionally articulate your study abroad experience.

Featuring Study Abroad in your Cover Letter

The first thing a prospective employer will read from you is your cover letter. This document is intended to outline some of the specific skills you gained from past experiences, and how they can be useful to the position you are applying for. This is your chance to make a good first impression – so make yourself stand out by talking about your study abroad experience!

What you write about should vary depending on the type of position you’re applying for. If you can draw from a specific experience you had abroad that directly relates to the position, great! If not, describing some of the intangible skills you gained while overseas can show an employer how versatile and well rounded you are. Find examples of featuring your study abroad experience in your cover letter.

Showcasing Study Abroad on your Resume

So your prospective employer read your cover letter and it peaked his or her interest. Next thing they will likely do is check out your resume. Here, you want to expand and go into a little more detail about your study abroad experience. There are a variety of ways to showcase your time overseas depending on how much room you have on your resume (remember, as a college graduate a resume should only be one page!)

One method, if you have limited space left, is to add your study abroad experience to the “education” section of your resume and then add the skills you obtained to the “skills” section. Depending on the position you’re applying for, it may be helpful to add all of the countries you visited as well.

If you have a little more room on your resume, or really want to express everything you did while abroad, you could consider adding an “international experience” section to your resume. This section would include a description of your program, skills you obtained, school activities or research you participated in, and of course any internships or jobs you had. Learn more about how to showcase study abroad on your resume.

Using Study Abroad in a Job Interview

Once you make it to the interview, the hard part is over. Clearly, the people at this company think you’re interesting and qualified enough for the position. Now you just need to seal the deal.

There are a variety of questions that you may be asked during an interview. Some questions can be as simple as “what attracted you to the position”, or they can be more complex situational questions. When you’re asked a situational question, try to answer in using the S.T.A.R. Method – situation, task, action, and result. Pulling from your experiences abroad will make this a breeze. Just think about all the amazing things you did while overseas! Learn more about using study abroad in a job interview.

sab logo stacked 300x215 Leveraging Study Abroad in the Job Market

The ability to leverage your study abroad experience in job interviews and apply the skills you learned while overseas to future positions will have any employer begging you to work for them! While going through the job search process, be sure to keep in mind everything you learned while studying abroad and how you can apply that to a position back home. From studying abroad you’ve interacted with different cultures, managed a budget, planned and organized outings in other countries, gained the ability to adapt to new situations, and communicated across language barriers just to name a few! Use these newly acquired skills and experiences to help secure your dream job!

Have you studied abroad? Did it help to land your internship or job? Let us know in the comments below!

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