If you have the experience of studying abroad, it’s an awesome bonus point for your resume. It shows that you are resourceful, independent and not afraid to take risks. No matter if you spent a semester, a year or even longer abroad, you should definitely point that out in your resume.
When HR members and recruiters browse through resumes, experience abroad has a powerful effect and makes certain candidates stand out from the crowd.
This is especially valuable in companies where knowledge of more than one language is required, where there is a multicultural environment and companies that cooperate with businesses and customers worldwide.
Describe it in Your Introduction
To accentuate your study abroad experience and not let it get lost in the Education section, you can add it to your intro description.
If this piece of text is dry and unappealing, recruiters will often just skim through it or simply skip it altogether. Therefore, you have to make sure that the first sentence is captivating and keeps the reader interested.
Here is an example of a study abroad experience incorporated in a CV introduction:
“I’m a fast learner and passionate marketer with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and technology. With over four years of work experience and education in the field, coupled with international academic experience, I can provide your company with value and infinite ambition.“
After your CV is done, make sure you perform thorough grammar and spelling checks with online tools like Grammarly. If you are applying for a job in a foreign country, you can also hire a freelance translator to translate and proofread your resume in the target language.
Add it to Your Education History
This is the most typical way study abroad experience is included in a fresh graduate’s resume.
The benefit of placing your experience in the Education section is that this part is where recruiters and HR usually go to see whether you’ve had any experience abroad.
At the same time, if you list your high school, university and other courses that you have attended in your education section, your study abroad experience can get lost under that pile of text.
Here’s an example:
- Abbey Park, High School 2009-2013
- University of Toronto, Bachelor of Business Administration, 2013-2016
- Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany, student exchange, 2014
- The Schulich School of Business, York University, Master of Marketing, 2017-2019
As you can see, your precious international experience can easily get lost in the middle of other education listings. That’s why you should find other ways of emphasizing this, for instance:
- International Experience: Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany, 2014
- Master’s Degree in Marketing: Schulich School of Business, York University, 2019
- Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Marketing: University of Toronto, 2016
There are a number of different ways to list your education experience, not just chronologically.
Place it Under Additional Information
At the bottom of each resume, there’s usually a section for additional information like hobbies, special skills or fun facts.
This is another section where your study abroad experience can fit in quite well.
“I did a semester abroad in France, which is something I’m very proud of. In my resume, I’ve put it under Additional Skills, because I wrote a short explanation of all my qualities that have improved through my studying abroad”, says Diana Adjadj, writer and blogger at Studicus.
There is also another factor in this strategy. Namely, some employers don’t actually value study abroad experiences as such and see them only as a prolonged tourist adventure. Even though the international academic experience may be a factor that tips the scales in your favour and gets you hired, for some employers it just doesn’t do much.
If you have a hunch or insider information that your potential employer is not really into study abroad experiences, you can go for the additional information section. This way, the experience will still be there if your employer is interested, but will not deflect from other information that’s seemingly more valuable to the employer.
Use it as an Example in Skills
If you lived alone in another part of the world for months, chances are that you have used and improved a myriad of skills and virtues.
If you have a Soft Skills section in your resume, you can use your study abroad experience as proof that you acquired these skills, something like this:
- communicative (served as President of the Debate Team in high school)
- cultural sensitivity (developed during my semester abroad in Germany)
- team worker (won a case study contest with four team members)
This way, you will show the employer exactly what you learned and how you benefited from your study abroad experience.
For example, if you simply list it under Education, it doesn’t say a lot. Did you even enjoy your international experience? Have you learned something or was it a three-month party festival? Would you repeat the experience all over again?
When you put studying abroad in context, such as in the example above, some of these questions will be answered and your potential employer will view your international experience as an asset.
Get a Recommendation From a Professor
In CVs, one of the most valuable assets are the reference letters attached to the resume. Since job candidates come up with resumes themselves, a reference is a great way to find out what other people have to say about the candidate.
Try to reach out to one of your favorite professors from your foreign university and ask them to write you a recommendation letter. You can later attach this letter to your resume. It’s a great way to connect your international experience with good recommendations, which makes it one of the best ways for incorporating study abroad on your resume.
All in all, you should definitely include your study abroad experience in your resume. It’s a very valuable asset and a differentiation factor; even though some employers might convince you they believe the opposite.
Whichever way you decide to include your study experience in your CV, you won’t make a mistake. Simply compare these options and try to deduce which one best fits your resume overall.
And of course, there may be other ways to add studying abroad to your CV – tap into your creativity and come up with a way to present your experience and leave a great impression!
Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. While pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin gained experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. Now she works as a freelance writer at PickWriters. Kristin runs her own FlyWriting blog.