HOW TO DESCRIBE YOUR INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE ON THE RESUME?
To conquer space in an increasingly competitive job market, it is essential to know how to highlight your experiences. So that you can increase your chances of success in the selection processes.
As companies are currently increasingly globalized, they are always interested in hiring people who have had some kind of international experience. Who demonstrate greater adaptability and are open to new experiences. Mentioning it on your resume and in an attractive way can show the recruiter that your experience in another country is valuable for the company.
If you have already done an exchange, speak more than one language, or have experience traveling abroad and you don’t know how to put these characteristics on your resume, don’t worry, we are here to help you!
HOW TO DESCRIBE YOUR INTERNATIONAL EXPERIENCE IN ON YOUR RESUME?
The first step is to analyze the most suitable field on your resume to include your international experience and also what kind of international experience is worth mentioning and which is not.
The CV should be adapted to the type of vacancy you are looking for and mention only what is relevant to the company in question. Do you have any doubts about this? Follow us as we explain!
There are different types of international exchange and experiences and depending on the type of job you are looking for, it may be interesting to give more relevance to the experience of having spent a month studying a language in another country than to mention a flamenco dance course that you have taken during a trip to Spain, for example. Remember that you must adapt your resume to the desired vacancy, always showing your qualities and experiences that have to do with the image you want to pass on to the recruiter.
Below, we list the most common types of international experiences and indicate how you should mention each of them on your resume.
A recommendation that we give is that if you have done more than one of the experiences mentioned below, it may be interesting (always thinking about the relevance for the desired vacancy) to create a field on your resume that says “International Experience” and include all your experiences in other countries.
So, let’s get started!
Let’s start with the most basic and easiest thing to do: travel to another country. Leisure travel can be included on your resume especially if it is relevant to the vacancy you are trying to land.
When you go on a trip to another country, you have the opportunity to learn many things: practice the local language, learn to go through stressful situations, improvise, be more organized, learn to live with people very different from you, and other things that they grow as a person. That is why we believe that adding your trips to your resume can be something very good and relevant.
Travel can be described in your resume in the field of “Personal Skills” or “Hobbies” since in general, this type of experience says a lot about what you like to do and how you are. However, depending on the vacancy, remember to only mention the trips, without delving into the matter. Focus on the practical weight that experience has given you and how it is relevant to your training.
We leave you an example of how you can mention your trips on your resume:
“Personal Skills: ease of relating to different cultures acquired through various trips abroad, United Kingdom, Germany, the United States, and France).”
One suggestion that we give you is that if the vacancy requires fluency in a language, it is worth mentioning that you were in situations in which contact with foreign people was necessary and you had to speak in another language. This shows that you can communicate in another language in a different context of a class.
In case you have had the opportunity to travel to other countries due to a previous job, it is valid to mention in your CV (in the description of your previous job in the field of “Professional Experience”) the frequency and reason for such trips.
This type of international experience is very relevant and it is important to mention it also in the interview, if possible. Focus on the reason for the trip and how it helped you grow and learn more about your profession.
We leave you here an example:
“Professional Experience: Representative of the XXXX company in international fairs in the city of New York in 2019 and 2020.”
SPECIALIZATION, EXTENSION AND POSTGRADUATE COURSES (INCLUDING MASTER AND DOCTORATE)
This type of experience adds a lot of value to the resume, especially if the course has to do with the area in which you intend to work. We do not recommend mentioning a surf course that you have taken on a trip if you are applying for a vacancy as an accountant, for example. Be sure to mention only what is relevant to the position in question.
In this case, it is important to describe the experience mentioning the course, the institution, the country, and the period in which it was carried out. This can be done in the “Other Activities” or “International Experience” field, as we demonstrate below:
“Photography and Photoshop course held at the University of Cambridge – the United States in August 2019.”
Now, if you have studied a course such as an MBA or a postgraduate degree, we believe that it would be best to mention these activities as part of your academic training:
“Master in International Law from the Faculty of Business and Law at Harvard University. United States – 2018 and 2019.”
When you go to another country to do a language course, regardless of the duration, you live a lot from the culture you are in, which greatly enriches your life experience.
We suggest that this type of activity be included in the field “International Experience” or “Other Activities”, accompanied by a short description of the experience (course, reason, institution, country, duration).
It may also be interesting, depending on the profile of the vacancy, to mention the level of contact you had with foreigners and natives during the period, since this is a point that demonstrates your ability to adapt and to live with different people (a point highly appreciated by The work market).
You can do something similar to the following model:
“Cultural exchange for the study of the English language and culture at the Enforex school in the United States, between June and July 2019. That summer I lived with a host family and interacted all the time with locals and students from various parts of the world ”.
Many people take advantage of their university studies to study a semester at a foreign institution, which generally occurs through agreements between their university and the institution they want to go to. This type of experience usually carries an important weight, especially if you are a recent graduate or if you are looking to do a professional internship or a trainee program.
We recommend that your academic exchange experience be included in the section of your CV referring to your “Academic Training” or in “International Experience”. You must mention the name of the institution where you were, the country, and the duration of the exchange, as in the following example:
“Academic exchange at Harvard University in the Faculty of Communication. January to December 2019.”
Volunteering is an incredible experience and one that is frowned upon by virtually all recruiters. Therefore, if you have already had the opportunity to do volunteer work in another country, you should mention it on your resume with a brief description of it and also with the country where you did it and for how long.
You can talk about your volunteering in the field “Other activities” or “International experience”, as in the example below:
“Volunteer work in Spain as an English teacher for low-income adolescents. January to July 2019.”
WORK OR INTERNSHIP ABROAD
If you have done an internship abroad or have professional experience in another country, you must enter this information in the “Professional Experience” field. This information must be present on your resume because working in a culture different from yours is an experience that adds a lot of value to your career and can help you get the job you want.
You can describe it as in the following model:
“Professional practices in the area of international law at the United Nations. March to July 2019 – Geneva.”
KNOWLEDGE OF LANGUAGES
Last but not least, you should mention the languages you speak and what is your level of knowledge of them. If you have any certificate of proficiency in the language, such as TOEFL or IELTS, for example, you should mention them as well. We give you an idea of how to do it:
“English (fluent – TOEFL iBT certified with score 101)”
How are you? Have you already managed to better understand how to describe an experience you had abroad on your resume?
Our final advice for you is: any experience in another country is valid to improve your resume as long as you consider it as such. But before describing your international experiences to get a job vacancy, always remember to consider whether the experience in question has any practical value for the vacancy for which you are applying and how to mention the information in a relevant way.
We hope we have helped you with your questions about how to describe your international experience on the resume. You can leave any other questions you have here in the comments and we will help you!