Studied Abroad? Here’s How to Include It in Your Resume
Apr 05 2019
You returned from your study abroad adventure and couldn’t wait to tell everyone about it: your mom, your best friend, your best friend’s postman, the girl next to you in Soul Cycle, and even your dog. Although it was undoubtedly a life-changing experience, some of these people probably aren’t interested in hearing about how you nearly missed that flight to Rome or that you discussed French philosophy in French while looking at the Eiffel Tower.
You know who will want to hear about how these experiences shaped you? Your future employer!
Believe it or not, you gained a lot more while studying abroad than 10 pounds. You gained a multitude of skills and experiences that can be used in your future career!
Not sure how to include them in your resume? Read on!
You might not realize it, but when you ordered a taxi in a foreign language or made it to class on time in a brand-new city, you already gained skills that potential employers value highly. Soft skills, defined as an individual’s positive traits like good communication, creativity, and adaptability, are strengthened when you go abroad.
Because a recent graduate’s hard skills (teachable skills that can be measured, like the ability to use software programs) are less-developed, highlighting soft skills is important. Soft skills should be included in the resume under a section labelled “Skills,” and can be addressed in more detail during an interview.
The ability to achieve fluency in a foreign language is a skill that employers love. Not only does it allow you to communicate with a wider network of clients or business partners, it shows you are keen to accept a challenge and see it through.
Whether or not it was the motivation behind your decision to study abroad, there’s a good chance you picked up some of the local language. Living in and visiting a foreign country are two different things. Living abroad requires at least a basic understanding of the language to navigate areas like public transportation, healthcare, and housing.
If all you learned while abroad was how to order a café con leche and you want to brush up on your language skills, it can help to take a language course while looking for jobs.
Most people say they come back from their study abroad experience with a greater awareness and acceptance of foreign cultures. Since diversity and inclusion are considered drivers of innovation within organizations, being able to communicate and work well with people from diverse cultural backgrounds is something employers look for in their new hires.
Cultural awareness is not always easy to include in your resume. It’s often apparent in your ability to communicate effectively in various circumstances. Think about a time when you were abroad and illustrated good communication skills, whether through a class presentation, a written assignment (bonus points if it’s in a foreign language), or a group project or internship.
Study abroad is a unique experience because learning transcends far beyond the classroom walls. Translating these experiences into resume points can be tricky, but it can make all the difference when applying for jobs.