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Friday, February 25, 2011

Internationalize Your Resume!

Flickr user: Paulo Brandão
So you're planning to or you have studied abroad, what next? Well you need to build a resume that properly markets your amazing experience to recruiters and hiring managers. CEO love applicants who have studied abroad, but most hiring managers don't even consider it as important as other factors (Read: They never had the fun you've had /will have from your study abroad). In the following post, I will break down how you make your international experience an attractive and important part of your resume, as it should be! Read on for all the juicy tidbits.



Some important things you need to always consider when you are drawing up a resume are:

  1. This is an advertisement, you are marketing your potential value to an employer
  2. K.I.S.S. Keep is short and sweet, no more than 2 pages. (1 is preferred)
  3. Keep your job names legitimate. They will read right through "Refuse Engineer" and you will seem disingenuous.
When it comes to your international experience keep in mind your audience. To have lived and studied abroad places you among a very small group of men and women, most people have never left their birth country so they will not have the perspective you do. Therefore mention in detail what you learned, what skills you developed and how the experience applies to the position. Believe me, you will find that an international experience can apply to almost any job. It's all about thinking outside the box. Below are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Traveled independently
  • Lived on a tight budget
    • Cost minded
  • Problem solver
    • Figured out how to use a new metro system
  • Can handle ambiguous situations
  • Can handle any crisis in a calm manner
    • If things when wrong while abroad, think about what you learned from that experience
  • Grew my interpersonal skills
  • Grew my inter-cultural skills
  • More patient and understanding

You also want to make it clear. All details and points should be intuitive to find by the reader - people hiring don't want to have to spend ages deciphering one resume when there are 10 others on the pile that may not have as much extraneous information. Hiring managers often are on a tight schedule with hundreds to thousands of other applications to read - they want to find what they are looking for fast - so keep it clear, well set out and to the point.

PRO-TIP: Under the education section list the university or school where you studied and indicate "Exchange program" under "area of study" or "degree gained." This is where you can really make your abroad experience pop. The hiring manager will see right away that you have been abroad and in many cases that will be enough to land the interview. In the unending sea of applications you have will have some cool and unique stories to tell at the interview. It is important to note that you should not overplay your experience.

It is also important to remember that you are more than just a single trip abroad, make sure you share a lot about you time at home as well. I will cover interviews in more detail in a later post.

In the end, getting the job is about gearing your resume and experiences to fit what the employer is looking for. Take some time to study the job description and the company's website. Learning about a company and fully understanding the job's description will help you create a strong successful resume that will land you the interview. In a later post, I'll detail how you can use your experience to control the interview and get you that dream job!


SEND US YOUR RESUME! We will look over it for you and email back our comments. It's always nice when you can have some fresh eyes look on your work. What's better is we won't charge you a thing.





Leave us a question or wish us well in the comments!