Less than five percent of students in the United States take the opportunity to study abroad. This means that studying abroad puts you in an exciting and interesting minority and will really make your resume stand out in a crowd. Employers now actively seek to hire graduates who have taken part in a study abroad program. Even though you may not realize it during your time abroad, you will definitely have learned some key transferable skills imperative for working in a global economy.
Initiative: The fact that you studied abroad shows you are an independent person capable of thinking on their feet and utilizing their own initiative. It demonstrates to an employer that you may be adaptable and possess strong problem solving abilities in a tough situation. It also makes it clear that the individual is able to easily adapt to new circumstances and relishes new challenges.
Pushing yourself: Travelling away from home for a year takes courage. It is not easy to move a long distance away from family and friends all on your own and this shows incredible determination, ambition and perseverance; all qualities which employers look for in a job applicant!
Language skills: We live in a global economy and all of the top multinational and international firms do business all across the world. If you decide to learn a new language or enhance your existing language skills by studying in a different country then you suddenly become all the more employable.
Cultural awareness: When a bulk of business is done in foreign countries, care needs to be taken to adhere to partner or client cultural preferences. A person already culturally aware and sensitive to other customs and traditions will require less training in an increasingly global workplace.
Flexibility: Many of the top jobs now require a person to travel to other countries on a frequent basis. Someone who has studied abroad has proven that they are familiar and comfortable with travelling and will not find it difficult to leave behind loved ones or their comfort zones for a period of time.
Problem-solving skills: When living abroad, students may be faced with challenges every day. This means you are also presented with an opportunity to shine. A simple trip to the shop in a foreign country can become complicated when you forget the word for “toothpaste.” Although it may not be completely obvious, the challenges you overcome demonstrate efficient problem-solving skills. It can also show that you can keep cool and not panic in stressful situations.
Employers will recognize a study abroad program on a resume as demonstrating all of these key skills listed above. In an increasingly global economy employers are looking for well-rounded individuals who are independent and are aware of other cultures and languages. Studying abroad is the perfect way to show that you have all of these qualities.
Richard McMunn is a writer for How2become, a leading career and recruitment specialist for public sector careers. For the last eight years How2become has helped numerous people prepare for and pass tough recruitment processes and assessment centers in order to secure their dream job. You can also connect with How2become on Google Plus!