From gaining independence, to experiencing a new culture, we know that studying abroad has many, many advantages. Today, we’re going to discuss how studying abroad will greatly improve your employment options, and how to make your Resume/CV look good with this experience.
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In today’s International world, employers are increasingly looking for candidates who have a great deal of life experience in addition to the academic qualifications. With the increased competition for jobs, including a degree or course studied in a foreign country, and any relevant experience or skills you have gained whilst being abroad, will set you apart.
To begin, when writing your CV, think of it as another job to include rather than just education or extra skills (though you should definitely include it in these sections too!) Many of the skills you have obtained during your time abroad are transferable skills (meaning they are relevant in lot’s of different areas of your life, both professionally and personally). More importantly, they will look great to a prospective employer.
Some aspects such as language skills are easily transferable, but others which you might not think are entirely relevant, could be the skill that impresses the boss the most! A recent survey by a leading recruitment agency showed that many employers feel that recent graduates are lacking a certain few basic skills including adaptability, communication skills and the ability to solve complex problems. As an international student studying abroad, you have all these and so much more!
You have had to adapt to a new culture, new way of life and new people, all whilst attending classes, managing your own budget and trying to settle in! You have also had to greatly improve your communication skills, not only in your own language, but in a completely new one, sot that you can communicate with all the new people you are meeting! And finally solving problems – you will encounter lots of problems that you will have to solve quickly and on your own, AND in new surroundings!
Some other skills to include on your CV which will no doubt develop during your study abroad experience that are definitely transferable include:
- Surviving and thriving in a new country, usually on your own (until you make new friends!)
- Language Skills and applying this to everyday situations
- Being bi-lingual or multi-lingual. In most countries, and international organisations, English is the most widely-used language. Being fluent in this, will set you apart immediately from other candidates who can only speak one language.
- Whether it’s getting lost on the Underground or having to overcome problems such as deadlines during your study, you will have to solve a lot of these every day, and usually by taking the responsibility and making them on your own. Showing you have the confidence and decisive-ness to do so, will only make you more attractive, as it shows your maturity and bravery at taking on such decisions and attempting to solve them.
- Whether it’s about deciding on new accommodation, or whether or not you should really spend your last £20 on a night out with friends, you will have to make important and trivial decisions throughout your study abroad journey. Similar to problem solving, showing you are committed to making one decision and standing by it, shows that you are good at taking responsibility for your own actions.
- From small matter such as being responsible for your own dinner every night, to budgeting and doing your own laundry to the big matters such as taking responsibility for sorting out your own accommodation, to managing your own safety and a full budget for the year – these are all your decisions, your actions which you will be responsible for. Showing you can take full responsibility for your own actions, shows that you have excellent self-management and leadership skills.
- Time Management
- From making sure you’re on time to your lectures, to balancing any voluntary work with your studies, a part tine job and having some fun(!), you’ll be constantly showing you can manage your time effectively to manage multiple projects!
- Budgeting and Financial Management
- From making sure you don’t spend all your allowance on the cinema or junk food, to ensuring you pay your tuition fees and accommodation rent on time, this skill will show employers you can be trusted to manage your finances and hopefully the company’s.
- Global Awareness/Experience of other Cultures
- Society is becoming increasingly global and living in different environment, meeting people from different countries, religion and races allows you to experience their cultures and broaden your horizons. It allows you to develop your communication skills and how to approach and speak with people from different backgrounds.
- Particularly when abroad, if you have the opportunity during careers fairs or job fairs, it is important to learn the art of networking. From introducing yourself in a 1 minute speech, to making contacts and taking opportunities to meet people in the industry you want to join, all these skills will reassure the employer that you are able to meet business partners, and customers and network with them to ensure good relationships.
- From adapting to a new country, to new ways of learning and travelling – you have to manage this all, while making sure you stay up-to-date with your classes. This will show the employer that you are flexible to changes. They will have confidence knowing that if emergency situations arise, if any industry changes, that they can rely on you to adapt your work accordingly to suit the situation.
Make sure throughout your journey, you keep track of your experiences and reflect each month on how you’re growing or what you’re learning. Don’t be afraid to boast about what you have done – be confident! Below, you’ll find some final statistics about study abroad students – we hope this convinces you of the advantages of such a journey!
Studying abroad is not easy, it is a challenge but it one that UKEC are confident that with the right preparation, all our students will excel at!
Download your FREE CV Template here. All you have to do is edit the text and you’re ready to go! (Microsoft Word, Open Office and Pages compatible).