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As you move forward in your job search process it is important to thoughtfully develop your application materials. If you are applying for jobs within the U.S., your resume should articulate some of the skills you learned while abroad. If you are applying for a job overseas, your application materials should be tailored to the job, country and culture. Click on the links below to find out more.
Vitas and resumes both have similar purposes -- as marketing documents that provide key information about your skills, experiences, education, and personal qualities that show you as the ideal candidate. Where a resume and a curriculum vitae differ is their use, format, and length. This article will help with your writing and preparing your vita.
A curriculum vitae -- often called a CV or vita -- tends to be used more for scientific and teaching positions than a resume. Thus, vitas tend to provide great detail about academic and research experiences. Where resumes tend toward brevity, vitas lean toward completeness.
Listed below are some general tips for your resume and CV. For more specific information, visit Career Services.
Whatever you decide to do next, don't forget to include your learning abroad experience on your résumé. Education abroad can lead to the beginning of intercultural competence that is appealing to potential employers and graduate schools alike in our increasingly interdependent society. When adding learning abroad to your résumé, think about the skills you gained and what you learned while abroad. Did you become proficient in a language? Did you gain research experience through conducting an independent study project? Have you become well-versed in some aspect of your host country's culture? Remember that you must make the connection to the actual skills you gained through the experience you had - it won't always be obvious to an employer.
So, how do you get these skills across on a résumé? Here are a few examples:
SNAPSHOT 1: You can include your study abroad experience as part of your education including those skills relevant to your academic experience.
Oregon State University Corvallis, OR
University of Alcalá Alcalá Spain
SNAPSHOT 2: You can include your study abroad experience as part of your related experience including those skills gained through your time abroad.
Rainbow MarketMinneapolis, MN Night Manager
University of Alcalá Alcalá Spain Study Abroad
Jan. 2004 - June 2004
You may also decide to list study abroad twice - under both education and experience. The choice is yours.
Click here to view a full Resume example.
Wondering what other skills students gain through studying abroad? Some other possible outcomes of an international experience may include:
Adapted from Tips for Creating a Global Resume or CV by Mary Anne Thompson and Preparing a Curriculum Vitae: Proven Success Strategies by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.
Find out what is appropriate vis-a-vis the corporate culture, the country culture, and the culture of the person making the hiring decision. The challenge will be to incorporate several different cultures into one document.
Typical vita categories or headings may include some or all of the following:
Some general advice:
Click here to view CV Example 1
Click here to view CV Example 2
Best Resumes and CVs for International Jobs:Your passport to the Global Job Market by Ronald L. Krannich, Wendy S. Enelow
The Global Resume and CV Guide by Mary Anne Thompson
JobWeb: Country specific CV guides for Canada, Japan, Spain, UK, France by Mary Anne Thompson
Cover Letters are often called Letters of Interest in other countries. Both should be one page in length and articulate your skills and experiences as related to the position you are applying for. The format is as follows:
Your Contact Information
Employer's Contact Information
Introductory Paragraph- State the position you are applying for and indicate how you learned of the position.
Body of Letter- One or more paragraphs connecting your skills to the employer's needs. Highlight your skills and experiences and how they make you a good candidate for the position.
Conclusion- Be polite and enthusiastic. Indicate the next step (if you will call to make sure they received your resume or to set up an interview.)
Education Abroad and the Interview
A few questions to stimulate your self-reflection and prepare you to answer questions about your study abroad experience:
1. Share an example of how you had to set priorities to achieve a desired outcome in your learning abroad experience.
2. How did your learning abroad experience enhance your knowledge, skills and understanding of your intended career field? What assets might international experiences yield for you as opposed to someone who studied domestically?
3. Share an example of a travel situation that helped you build your understanding of human motivation. How did this enhance your understanding of leadership or teamwork?
4. Share an example of how your international experience has improved your skills in communicating with others. How might this make you a better professional in your field?
5. How did you have to adjust or adapt to your new cultural surroundings? Share examples from academic, social and work settings. How did this influence your ability to interact successfully with others?
6. Share an international experience in which you had to resolve a conflict or solve a problem. What skills and personal qualities did you tap into? How did the experience help you grow as a person?
7. Share an example of a learning abroad experience in which you took initiative to achieve a greater result.
8. Share an example of a time when you may have been in danger or afraid. What did you learn from it? Why?
9. What was the most significant thing you learned about yourself through your learning abroad experience? Why?
Linda Gross, Ph.D. Michigan State University, 2003