Study Abroad and the Job Search

Wednesday, 23 February 2011 16:07 by gmiller

Does your Study Abroad experience relate to your job search?  Absolutely!  Through Study Abroad, you are building and/or developing an entirely new set of skills that can help you stand out from other candidates and transform you into a more confident person. 

There are certain qualities that employers seek in an ideal candidate, a few of which include: verbal communication skills, a strong work ethic, teamwork skills, analytical skills, and initiative.  At a recent Unpacking your Study Abroad Experience workshop, Career Services and Study Abroad teamed up to help students articulate and market skills such as these by utilizing examples and illustrations from their time abroad. 

I asked two students to give some insight into at least one thing they gained from their experience that might serve to strengthen their job candidacy.   

Amber Keeseman ’11 – London, England:               
While my desire to study abroad never stemmed from a need to improve my resume, it is just an added bonus that my experiences abroad are great examples of characteristics necessary for success in the workforce.  As most people who have studied abroad would agree, the person who leaves is not the same as the person who returns.  The transformation that I experienced by pushing myself out of my comfort zone is sure to have a positive impact on my career success.  Now when I talk to employers, I attempt to convey my increased confidence and my new-found willingness to take on risk. 

Caitlin Murphy ’12 – Maastricht, Netherlands:               
My college experience has provided me with valuable time management and critical thinking skills. Whether it’s analyzing literature in English Class, volunteering in a student organization, or playing basketball on the court, I am confident in my abilities to handle my tasks. Another aspect of my college career that was very influential was my study abroad in the Netherlands. I was forced to make difficult decisions about which train or plane to take and other survival necessities. The roadblocks I faced made me realize my ability to think through any situation and the confidence I gained from each challenge has made me the independent and capable person I am today.

What you are able to ‘unpack from your experience’ will be unique to you – the important thing is to remember that your study abroad experiences can be great additions to your job search!