The taste of paella with fresh mussels in Barcelona; that feeling at the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town; the lights and sounds of Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo. What are: things you can’t capture on a résumé?
We know a life-changing international experience can’t possibly be summarized into a few bullet points, but in order to enjoy the career benefits of study abroad, incorporating this experience into your professional materials and conversations is non-negotiable.
Think of this as the opportunity to take a stroll down memory lane and talk about your experience long after your friends and family have heard all about it—we’ll show you how, section by section and in our sample résuméexample!
When articulating your study abroad experience on your résumé, make sure to actually write about it! This may seem like a no brainer, but much of the time this information is omitted or not highlighted to its fullest extent, likely because it's unclear how to speak about it. This was probably was one of, if not THE most memorable periods of your life, so why not talk (or write) about it every chance you get?!
To highlight your experience abroad on your résumé, just list the following:
Your education abroad in the “Education” section of your résumé below your current school, or college or university from where you intend to graduate.
The city and country in which you studied or interned and with whom (whether it’s a university [Universidad Complutense de Madrid], a study abroad organization [IES Abroad], or both).
Any classes you completed during study abroad (that are relevant to the job or internship in which you're interested) on their own line in the "Education" section called "Relevant Coursework."
Skills, skills, skills! What skills didn’t you acquire while abroad? Good news—there is more than one place on your résumé where you can highlight your many talents:
Whether 'hard' (technical) or 'soft' (intangible), your skills can be included in the bullets under each of the positions you held. For example, if you want to convey cross-cultural communication, initiative, leadership, and teamwork, try something along these lines (or line):
Directed a task force of six peers from several different countries to put on first-ever student film festival
This one might seem obvious, but here's a section from our sample résumé:
8 Study Abroad Skills to Put on a Cover Letter
Soft skills may be easier to demonstrate in your cover letter than on your résumé. Here are several intangible skills you may have picked up:
Adapting to a new cultural and/or professional environment
Effectively communicating across cultures
Internationalize Your LinkedIn Profile
In much the same way it would be listed on your résumé, don't forget to feature your study abroad experience on your LinkedIn profile. You can put it in the “Education” section and also in the "Experience" section if you participated in some form of hands-on, experiential learning like an internship abroad. There's even an option to add “Volunteer Experience" if you did a service learning program or volunteered abroad.
Certainly, you can add as much detail as you’d like—if you enrolled in a course(s) and subsequently gained knowledge that is very applicable to your desired job or internship, or the tasks you were assigned at your international internship show your strong or transferable skills, add these to the “description” area, as well. There is also a place for foreign language skills, so if you improved your Spanish skills while you were studying abroad in Santiago (or even grew up speaking a second [or third] language), put it on there!
Now that you’ve got your ducks (or bullet points) in a row, it’s time for you and your résumé to step out for your big debut! Whether you’ve got an interview next week or are ready to dip your toe in the networking pond, our toolkit has you covered.