Career Search Tips from the Delaware Study Abroad Re-Entry Conference
By Molly Reed (Vladimir, Russia ’11)
Molly Reed recently attended the Delaware Valley Study Abroad Re-Entry Conference in Philadelphia, PA. Below she shares tips she learned for job search strategies and where to look for international jobs.Marketing Your CLS Experience
An important tip for all students returning from overseas, and one that really struck me at this conference, is the value of marketing your study abroad experience during your job search.
Students who study abroad develop many transferable skills and abilities such as teamwork, problem-solving/analytical abilities, comfort with ambiguity, flexibility, and self-confidence. They also gain a wider perspective on global issues, improve language skills, and increase their knowledge of other cultures, all of which should be highlighted on resumes and mentioned during interviews.
Behavioral interview questions in particular allow students to frame their study abroad stories and highlight transferable skills through the STAR technique (mention the Situation, Task, Action, and achieved Results in each story).
Finding International Opportunities at Home
I was surprised to learn of how many internationally-focused opportunities exist in the United States. There are huge international communities in major U.S. cities, and a host of organizations have sprung up to serve these communities and promote multiculturalism. Philadelphia, for example, is home to the Philadelphia International Visitors Council, Philadelphia Multicultural Affairs Congress, Philadelphia Multicultural Resource Center, and the Welcoming Center for New Philadelphians; many of these organizations have corollaries that students can become involved with in other major cities.
A great piece of advice I heard was to network with the local community who speaks your target language (Russian, Chinese, etc.) and find out more about the programs that serve them. Some places to look are local consulates, organizations that teach English language skills and job-seeking skills to new immigrants, and regional international visitors’ councils.
Students who are interested in joining a non-profit that serves the international community were advised to come to the interview prepared. For example, students who had a great new idea that could earn the non-profit a grant might be more likely to be hired to work on that project.
Another domestic career path with an international focus is working at a company's international office, which is possible in some major cities.
International volunteering is another opportunity for those itching to go abroad again. The most important advice offered on this topic was that overseas volunteers should consider how they are going to leverage their experience when they get back and should select an opportunity based on their interests. For example, someone interested in health care or public health should look for health-related opportunities.
Volunteers should also understand why the experience is important to them, what skills they are learning, and how the experience fits into their larger goals.
Graduate School Abroad
Earning a degree abroad can also be a good way for students to become more competitive in an international market. There are special programs, such as GlobaLinks Learning Abroad, that help guide American students through the overseas application process.