careerBUZZ: Gaining Experience Abroad

Monday, March 26, 2018 - 9:05am

As our workforce becomes more globalized and interconnected, gaining international experience is becoming a more desirable quality for candidates to have. Studies from the Global Employer Survey Report indicated that 64% of employers would give extra credit to applicants with international experience, and 80% said that they actively seek graduates who did internships, volunteer, or study abroad. Employers value skills gained abroad such as cultural competency, taking initiative, and adaptability in new environments, so read these four tips to help you get started on your next international adventure!

1.) Think of what experience you are looking to gain:

 Are you looking for a summer internship, gap year program, or permanent employment? Do you want to focus on practicing a new language or building career skills? Would you prefer to work for a foreign branch of a US company, or a local company in your destination country? These are only some of the questions you should be asking yourself that will help guide your search for international employment.



International job postings are highly susceptible to scams, so it is extremely important to research prospective companies and make sure they are reputable. There are also country specific job search engines, and several programs such as Cultural Vistas, CIEE, and Premier TEFL that let you work abroad for finite periods of time.


Other things to consider are the process of obtaining a visa in your desired country, health requirements, and the political stability of your country. Check the U.S. Embassy and Consulates Office website for more information on travel safety. Thorough research and planning are crucial to minimize risks!


3.) Localize your application materials:

When preparing resumes and other application materials, be sure to look at sample formatting from that country because they might look different than a standard U.S. resume. Employers abroad may also be allowed to ask you certain questions that are not allowed in the U.S. Lastly, be mindful of the time differences when coordinating an interview time, and learn how to perfect that Skype interview – have a neutral background, look polished and professional, and test your equipment beforehand!


4.) Utilize the resources that the University of Iowa Provides

There are tons of ways to get involved in the international community in Iowa City that will make you a stronger applicant in the global job market. Take the course IS:2500 Working Internationally. Get involved with internationally-oriented student and community organizations. Most importantly, make an appointment with the Career Center and/or Study Abroad Office and let us help you make the most of your international experience!

For more tips on conducting an international job search, check out these links:


-Written by Marcus Smith, Peer Advisor Blogger