After studying English in California for three months, your new and improved language skills are not the only thing you can add to your CV. Check our handy tips on how your time studying abroad can really make your CV shine.
It’s all about the soft skills
Soft skills are all the rage when it comes to preparing for the job market or applying for a job. But what are soft skills really? They include the skills and knowledge you gain outside of the classroom and through work; some key skills employers look for include: the ability to communicate effectively, to build relationships and be a team player, often in multicultural settings.
These are all skills you’ll practice each and every day while living and studying abroad, in a new environment, in a new culture and with new people, often from very different cultures. Even celebrating Thanksgiving with your host family will improve those all-important soft skills, so it’s something you’ll definitely be able to include in your CV afterwards.
Location, location, location
Study abroad experiences can be put in different places on your CV, so be as specific as possible and don’t repeat yourself. If you went abroad to improve your language skills, add the experience under Education. Any internships or volunteer work combined with language classes should be split between Work Experience and Education. If you were on more than two study abroad trips, create a new section called “International Experience” or “International Education” and list your achievements there.
Content, content, content
Now that the real estate is purchased, this is the information you should provide:
- Program name / Company where interned or volunteered
- City and country
- Diplomas and exams (and if needed: grades)
- Classes you took
- (Extracurricular) Activities you took part in
- Other internships or volunteer work
And here’s an example of what it could look like on your CV:
EF Academic Year Abroad, London (UK)
August 2013 – May 2014
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English
Special Interest Classes: English for Meetings, Corporate Culture, Marketing, Global Environment Issues
Keywords that will pop
Spot-on keywords are crucial, especially when you apply online or want to spice up your LinkedIn profile. Feel free to pick and choose but make sure they match the job description: language skills, adaptability, cultural competence, communication skills, flexibility, problem-solving skills, decision-making skills, time management, networking skills, sensitivity to foreign customs and traditions.
Focus on the action verbs
Begin your sentences with action verbs: Adapted, cooperated, developed, exchanged, fostered, improved, immersed, managed, organized, overcame, practiced, traveled etc. These words will make you sound like the awesome go-getter you are.
Examples in action
How might these action words look like in your CV? Try using sentences like…
- Adjusted to living with host family in (country) for (time)
- Immersed in language and culture of (country)
- Conducted all course work in (language)
- Adapted to unfamiliar environment and embraced cultural differences
- Used communication and organization skills to navigate through new environment
- Increased global awareness through reading, writing, and conversing with people from different backgrounds and cultures
- Built interpersonal relationships with students from all over the world
- Improved independence and confidence by traveling through (country) alone for (number of weeks/months)
Now that your language skills are in good shape, check out some more tips to make your CV top-of-the-pile material.