In 2012, IES Abroad reported that 97% of students who had taken part in their study abroad programs had found employment within one year of graduation, while only 49% of the general student population had found employment during that time.
50% of IES Abroad alumni felt that their study abroad directly impacted their job prospects, while 84% expressed that their experiences abroad aided indirectly to their job search by helping them to develop skills and abilities that increased their marketability to employers.
A German study found that students who go abroad score higher on the “Big Five” traits of openness, conscientiousness, and extraversion
Many employers place a high value on international experience when interviewing job candidates. Beyond listing your study abroad experience on your resume, you can use many examples of experiences you’ve had abroad to market yourself during job interviews. We have compiled a list of questions that can help you to brainstorm experiences that might be highly attractive to employers. We recommend that you consider these types of questions in depth before an interview, as it can be difficult to recall your memories of studying abroad during the stress of an interview. Be selective about which stories you tell, and have a thorough answer planned out- don’t just give them a run-through of your time abroad!
Questions to consider:
- Why did you choose your specific study abroad program and location?
- Did your study abroad program include students from a wide variety of backgrounds? Was there any time that you were able to serve as a leader in spite of intercultural communication difficulties?
- Did you take part in any sort of community service or volunteering abroad? What kind of skills did you use or develop during these experiences?
- What were some of the most interesting projects you completed abroad? What did you learn from them? Was it more difficult to carry them out because you were abroad?
- What was your proudest moment during your study abroad?
- What was the most difficult part of your study abroad?
- What were some instances in which you had to be flexible?
- Did you participate in an internship or work abroad? What did you learn about doing business in another country?
Including Study Abroad on Your Resume
Many employers value international experience, particularly in jobs in fields such as international development, public relations, marketing, consulting, and tourism. The first step towards utilizing your study abroad to enhance your career possibilities is often to integrate it into your resume. Here are some tips on how to do so.
- Focus on your accomplishments and skills. Your resume should focus on the “results” of your study abroad experience, not simply where you went or what you did.
- You can include your study abroad experience under education or relevant experience (see examples below). If your experience was heavily academic (large course load, research work, etc.), it may be best to include it under education. However, if you completed a professional internship while abroad, you might choose to include study abroad under relevant work experience.
- Adjust your resume to your audience. You likely won’t submit the same resume to a graduate school and to a potential employer.
- Don’t forget to include any other relevant aspects of your experience - such as volunteer work, independent studies, etc.
- Add a “Skills” section and list some of the skills you have learned abroad. Skills can include items like:
Tailor your resume to each job you are applying for. Take note of the required skills and capabilities, and modify your resume to highlight the skills you have that the employer is seeking out.
- Intercultural competency/tolerance
- Leadership skills
- Thrives in ambiguous/uncertain situations
- Willingness to take risks
- Foreign language proficiency
- Communication skills
- Knowledge of international politics
- Critical thinking skills
- Time-management skills
University of Colorado Denver (August 2010-May 2014)
- BA in Psychology
- Overall G.P.A. 3.57; Major G.P.A. 3.9; Dean’s List 2012-2014
- Thesis: The Psychology of Gender Roles in the Spanish Language
Study Abroad, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (January 2013-May 2013)
- Completed course work in Spanish culture and society
- Demonstrated willingness to take risks through enrollment in Spanish speaking curriculum
- Gained fluency in Spanish
- Produced research project on the effect on Spanish society of gender roles in the Spanish language
Working as an OGE Peer Mentor
Keep your experience alive by helping others
One way to share your experiences from abroad is to join the Global Education team as a student peer mentor. Student peer mentors share their experiences and help prospective study abroad students reach their international academic and personal goals.
Peer mentors work closely with Global Education staff to take students step-by-step through the study abroad process and guide them to the appropriate resources. As a student peer mentor you have the opportunity to share your invaluable perspectives on living and learning in another country. Peer mentors are also assigned tasks according to their passions and skills, which can include such tasks on-campus marketing, social media management, and producing print materials. Interested study abroad alumni may contact a study abroad advisor either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303.315.2001.