You’ve returned home from studying or working abroad and had an amazing time. Your international experience helped you to expand your horizons and increase your global perspective, and you even became fluent in a foreign language.
There is enough data out there to know that education and work abroad can have a positive effect on your career development and give you a competitive advantage in today’s job market.
And for many years, study and work abroad programs and their sponsors such as college and university on-campus advisors have supported the many benefits of international experience in broadening your resume and making you more marketable as a job seeker.
So why isn’t your international experience helping you to get interviews and eventual job offers?
What do you do with all that you have seen, learned and gained through your international experience and how exactly do you capitalize on it to find and land your dream job back home?
It’s no secret that international experience is something that is highly valued by employers across all industries, but it definitely needs to be more than just a line on your resume and international experience alone won’t get you a job.
But truly and deeply understanding the desires of potential hiring managers will.
You see, it’s up to you to clearly articulate the experiences you’ve had and skills you developed while abroad. It’s simply not enough to have international experience - the experience itself has little value for an employer.
In order to stand out among the sea of job seekers, you must be able to step back and think about how your international experience can be applied to the workplace.
Today, I want to show you how to challenge your assumptions and focus on three high-value activities up front that can have a dramatic impact on your job search results and help you translate your international experience - whether it’s study, work or volunteer abroad, or just travel for sheer pleasure of it - to prospective employers in a meaningful and relevant way and build an amazing career wherever you call home.
3 Ways to Use your International Experience to Boost your Job Offers
1. Become extremely specific about what you’re looking for.
Instead of taking personality or self-assessment tests that provide broad or general career advice, find an underlying theme among a variety of things that you find interesting based on your experiences abroad, really taking the time to figure out what type of industry interests you the most.
Then get really specific about the type of career niche and respective job function and job title you want within a particular industry (so for example, if you wanted to work in the travel industry, your career niche would be hospitality, job function would be marketing and job title would be hotel sales manager).
It may seem counterintuitive, but by forcing yourself to be specific, you actually increase your chances of finding your dream job, because your whole approach, from your resume to even your references, will be specific to the position you want.
2. Form relationships with the right people.
Develop a targeted list of 5-10 companies that you’re interested in working based on your desired career niche, job function or job title.
Then use social media (LinkedIn, Twitter) to research and find current and former employees at those companies and to see how you're connected to them and get their email addresses as your first point of contact.
Reach out to them to via email to request informal informational interviews (or coffee meetings) in order to learn more about their companies, their jobs, to get the inside scoop on the industry overall, how international experience is viewed and job opportunities that exist before they are made public.
This kind of networking is more effective than just talking to anyone and everyone about how you are looking for a job or submitting your resume to online job boards and then hoping and praying you'll get a call for an interview, just because you have international experience.
I want you to realize that it isn’t just about collecting business cards. It’s about developing relationships and assembling a team of people who see the value in your international experiences and can refer you to job opportunities on an ongoing basis.
3. Show and prove that you’re the best candidate for positions.
Only after you’ve gotten specific about the type of job you want and have made some connections with the right people, you can then work on crafting a tailored resume that is not chronological (and lists your entire life's work history), but a functional resume and cover letter.
Both resume and cover letter needs to tell a story about how your experiences abroad and the professional accomplishments you have cater to targeted positions based on your specified career path and adds value to your respective researched companies.
The key to remember is that it’s not about you. It's always about the hiring manager's needs and wants and how you can be the solution to their problems. You have to be able to invade the hiring manager’s mind.
Even though you may have become fluent in French during your study abroad trip to Paris, it doesn’t matter if you can’t communicate how it can solve problems for potential hiring managers.
Discover what you can offer a company and how you can add value. Ask yourself, how can I contribute? What problems can I solve? Get into the mind of the hiring manager or executive you will be working with. What keeps them up at night? What is the hardest part of their job?
Those who have spent time abroad should have an advantage when looking for jobs in the global marketplace. However, your ability to capitalize on that advantage depends on how well you make your international experience meaningful to the manager who makes the final hiring decision.
By implementing these three steps, (which is something most job seekers never consider doing), you’ll be able to go from being just another person who has spent time abroad to being a sought-after top candidate.
To learn more about how to land your dream job in months instead of years and how to make travel an important part of your career, please visit www.TourismExposed.com, an online community for students and professionals interested in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry.