So you want to land that ultimate dream internship abroad, which will help catapult you to the top of the stack when you start applying for your dream job after you graduate. Great! But if youre looking for an international internship that will really be a stepping stone to the best things, youll need to put some effort into getting the right one.
And whats the most important first step to landing an internship or a job? The resume of course! To even have the chance of landing an interview and showing off your true awesomeness, you first need to grab their attention with a perfectly crafted resume. And then once you return home, youll need to make sure that you show off the incredible experience you had at your internship abroad in the right way on your resume.
Crafting your resume to get that internship abroad
Do your research!
Read up on the typical style and layout of a resume (or CV) in your target country. In Australia, for example, a CV tends to be a much longer, more detailed document rather than the one page or die! view of a resume in the States. To impress your dream company and get the internship, show that you care enough to learn about and adapt to their norms.
If youre applying for an internship in another language, then your resume better be in that language! You may want to include two copies -- one in the other language, and one in English, just in case. If youre going to be translating your resume, make sure you have a native speaker (perhaps your language professor at school) to look it over and let you know of any glaring errors! Even if youre applying for an internship in an English-speaking country, theres a good chance there are some different spelling, grammar, or word usages that you should be mindful of. (Youre a world traveller -- not traveler -- in Canada, Ireland, the UK, and Australia!)
Put yourself in their shoes
"Highlight the skills and experiences that make you qualified for the position, but you should also give thought to what special things you bring to the table as an international intern"
Think about what the company might want from you or care about, not what what you think is important. You may want to highlight the fact that you have a 4.0 GPA, but they might not have any clue what that means! That might even sound like a bad thing, depending on the grading system in their country. If your ability to speak English, or your experience in an American workplace, is a strong point, then make sure thats stated clearly and emphasized. Just like an internship, you want to highlight the skills and experiences that make you qualified for the position, but you should also give thought to what special things you bring to the table as an international intern. Maybe its your connections back home -- own it!
Putting your international internship on your resume
Place it accordingly
Depending on the field youre in or the jobs you plan to apply for, you may want to list your internship just like any other internship or work experience on your resume. Or you may want to use it to build out a special International Experience section if that experience in the global workplace is especially relevant to your career. Most of the time, listing your international internship along with other experience is the best call, but there are certainly times when its worth calling extra attention to the fact that you have had such a significant experience abroad.
Call it out in your summary
"Emphasize your internship was abroad, you didnt just communicate with customers, you communicated with them in Spanish!
If you have a summary section at the top of your resume, give a shout out to that internship abroad. There is no shame in saying blah blah experience/skills in blah blah, including in Exotic Locale. You get the idea. You took the initiative to go above and beyond and not just do an internship, but do it in another country! If language skills are important to the position, this is also a great way to emphasize it, i.e.: Fluent Spanish skills, including proficient business Spanish developed through an internship in Argentina.
Emphasize the international aspect
When writing about the position in your resume, dont be afraid to emphasize and then emphasize again that it was an international internship. Its easy to find yourself writing a generic description of your skills and responsibilities that could just as easily be referring to an internship in your home country. If whoevers reading your resume happens to glaze over the location of your internship (which of course should be included in the header section with the position title, company, and dates!), they can still pick up that this was something special from your other clues. You didnt just communicate with customers, you communicated with customers in Spanish. You didnt just work in a team, you worked in a diverse team of Argentines. This is also a good place to note the different perspective or ideas you learned from working in the industry in another country. Maybe they do things a little bit differently -- mention that. Many employers will like the idea of being able to gain insight into a new way to do things (especially if it works!) -- so explain to them what youll be bringing to the table.
Following these simple tips when crafting your resume will ensure you get placed at the top of the resume pile both when youre applying to internships abroad and when you come home and start applying for that dream job! The very fact that you are putting this much thought into how to sell yourself the right way in this key step of the process shows that you are deserving of the position. Now just let them see that!