When people write resumes, they often forget to include their study abroad experience. These experiences, however, bring with them a myriad of different skills and abilities that almost any employer would find valuable. Therefore, when drafting your resume, make sure to include a line in your education section that lists where you studied abroad, and incorporate references to this experience throughout the document, as shown in the examples below.
Why Include Study Abroad?
Before incorporating study abroad experience into your resume, it’s important to know why employers might value this, so that you can better articulate the importance of your trip. As you may already be aware if you have studied abroad, this kind of travel helps individuals enhance their global awareness, their communication skills, and their ability to work with a variety of different people. This travel also increases one’s ability to work independently, and it demonstrates both an intellectual curiosity and a desire to expand one’s horizons—important characteristics in life and in a career.
List Your Experience Up Front
The first place you’d want to list your study abroad experience is in your education section. If you studied abroad in college, this experience should be listed separately from your home school and degree, but you should still list the year of study and the external program that directed the trip. For example, your education system would like the following:
B.S. in Economics, Colorado State University, 2012
Study Abroad, Institute for Study Abroad (IFSA), London School of Economics, 2011
When to Emphasize Study Abroad
Regardless of what position you are applying for, it is advisable to at least list your study abroad trip in the education section of your resume (as seen in the example above). This will personalize your essay and signal to employers that you possess a greater global awareness than those who have not studied abroad for any length of time. If you are applying for an MBA program or for a job that will require extensive international travel, however, you will want to emphasize that experience even more, since the skills you have derived from your trip will apply directly to those positions.
How to Emphasize the Program
If you are aiming to truly emphasize your study abroad experience on your resume, you should include a brief description or a list of bullet points outlining your work and accomplishments while participating in the program. For instance, the description for a study abroad program at the London School of Economics could look like the following:
•Completed courses in Finance and Accounting at LSE.
•Engaged in weekly round table discussions with LSE faculty regarding global financial trends.
•Produced a final project synthesizing study and discussions on global economic policy.
•Traveled through Europe to increase knowledge of different economic structures and business models.
Foregrounding this study abroad experience will allow you to start demonstrating your skills to employers from the minute they pick up your resume. It will also allow you to add a personal touch to your resume, which can be otherwise difficult to do given the stringent formatting requirements attached to the document.