Marketing your International Experience
Post by Victoria Bills, a Peer Career Ambassador for the Undergraduate Center for Career Development
Whether you went abroad last semester, or you’ve spent your past four years here at Babson after leaving your home country, companies are now working to achieve a more global mindset, and are becoming interested in study abroad and the international experience. In 2014, 33.8% of employers were hiring international students, and over a third of the job postings in Career Connections are available to international students. In short, the opportunity for jobs abroad is there, and having a global perspective gives you a competitive edge over students who haven’t studied abroad. Last week, Babson’s Undergraduate Center for Career Development (CCD), and The Glavin Office of Multicultural and International Education held a session to teach students how to properly market their educational experiences abroad.
Didn’t make it to the session? Lucky for you I did! Here are the main takeaways from the session
While you’re there, write it down.
No sense in reflecting on everything you saw and learned after the fact. Think about all that you’ve learned while abroad, and record it so you don’t forget.
Split it up into different categories.
Housing, Academics, Community Engagement, Extracurricular, think about your experience abroad in those terms. Did you live on a campus or did you search for housing? What was the teaching style of the school? What other extracurricular did you do?
Companies desire interpersonal and analytic skills in their future employees.
While a strong GPA is still ranked as an employer’s number one desirable trait, being able to communicate ideas, and adaptability in the workplace is just as important. GPA can only tell so much about a person, so employers now rely on students to communicate through their resume and cover letters the experiences they’ve had and how this has improved their abilities over time.
Find three skills that are transferable.
It may not seem like it at first, but the small interactions you had while abroad have skills within them, or key values that you learned. Did you haggle in the streets of Phuket? Then you might say you gained slight knowledge in negotiations. Got turned down for housing in Milan over 5 times? You might say you’re persistent, and resourceful when faced with great difficulty. Think about how you can turn those little moments abroad into skills that can be marketed on your resume.
Demonstrate cross-cultural competence. Dig deeper.
Going abroad helps to broaden your perspective past what is native, to be open and accepting of new possibilities. This flexibility and being able to think with a global mindset is a trait to strive for, and takes a lifetime to master. Be open to have new experiences abroad aside from what you see on the surface (music, dance, language). Learn about social norms, the roles of gender, or what are political structures that affect behavior in the country you studied in. More or less, if you are able to adapt to two or more cultures then you are on your way!
Make an appointment with a Career Counselor.
Shameless plug. If you still cannot find the words to describe your experience abroad, let us help you along with the process. Schedule an appointment to meet with one of our counselors!
So there you have it! If you’re like me and you’re going abroad soon, keep in mind to record everything. You’re going to have so much fun, but remember your time away can also be used to help land you a job overseas or even be transferred to another country later on.