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The ultimate guide to getting hired after your internship abroad

“The professional has learned that success, like happiness, comes as a by-product of work. The professional concentrates on the work and allows rewards to come or not come, whatever they like.” ― Steven Pressfield

Taking an internship abroad is a wonderful way to gain professional experience while also enjoying the opportunity to learn about a foreign culture. Though it can be sad to say goodbye to your exciting international life abroad, when you’ve returned home, the experience isn’t exactly over. You’ve had all of these wonderful professional opportunities – now is the time to capitalize on everything that you’ve learned abroad to find yourself a J-O-B. We’ve got you covered, find out how to turn an internship into a job right now.


How to turn an internship into a job

1. Reach out to professional contacts

Once you’re back from your internship abroad, it’s time to reconnect with any contacts you made during your experience. Connect on LinkedIn and Facebook. Write a personalized email or message to your new connections to see if they know of anyone hiring in your area, or if they’ve at least heard of some good companies where you are looking for work. At the very least, your internship supervisor should be able to write a killer letter of recommendation that you can use when you apply to your next job.


2. Take stock of your experience

Spend an afternoon thinking deeply about everything that you learned and worked on while you were abroad. Make a list of professional duties and accomplishments as well as the different professional skills that you improved while you were abroad. Once you have a comprehensive list, highlight the tasks and abilities that will be the most important as you start applying for jobs in your field.


how to turn an internship into a job


3. Update your resume

It’s time to transfer that international experience to your resume. Using the list mentioned in step 2, write out (in a succinct way!) the different duties that you had to take care of at your internship. Cater your resume to the job that you are applying for and list the most relevant experience for the position that you want. The fact that you worked abroad will definitely grab the attention of hiring managers.


4. Become a networking expert

Oftentimes it just takes meeting the right person to get your foot in the door in your industry. Attend networking events in your city and do some research about the different employers that you would like to work for. It also can be incredibly useful to reach out to professionals that are just a step or two ahead of you in your career. Approach them in a friendly and complimentary way and invite them out to lunch or coffee. If you’re eager and enthusiastic about getting a job, they’ll have solid professional advice for scoping out positions and they might even know of some openings.


5. Expand your horizon of job opportunities

It’s good to be looking for jobs within your industry, but keep an open mind about what your first full-time job is going to entail. It likely won’t be your dream job. That’s OK. The important part is to get your foot in the door in an industry or company where you want to work. From the inside you can grow professionally and see what you need to do in the future to climb the ladder towards a more desirable position.


how to turn an internship into a job


6. Apply! Apply! Apply!

Put yourself out there whenever you can and dedicate as much time as possible to seeking out professional opportunities. Rejection or not hearing back from certain employers can be discouraging, so it’s important to be relentless in applying. Success rarely comes after the first try. Also remember that it will take longer to find an entry-level position in certain industries than it will in others, so have patience and realize that rejection isn’t necessarily a reflection of your professional abilities.


8. Come prepared

Once you’ve been asked to interview for a job, it’s time to do everything that you can to leave the best impression possible. Decide to measure your success on whether or not you nail the interview, rather than getting the job. You can’t really control whether or not they decide to hire you, but what you can control is how much you prepare. You need to know as much as possible about what the job entails, the company, company goals, what skills you have that would fit well in the company, what experience you bring to the table… the list goes on. Do lots of research and some practice interviews. Spend a few hours practicing how you talk about your work experience abroad. Rehearsing beforehand will help you answer more clearly and concisely in the interview itself.


9. Don’t let rejection keep you down

Even for the most qualified professionals, it can take months before finding the right fit. Don’t internalize the rejection. Every hiring manager is looking for something different and is choosing from a unique pool of candidates. Focus your energy on continuing to apply for positions, improving on professional skills and networking. It may take some patience, but you’ll eventually find a position that’s right for you if you truly set your mind to it.



Apply now for an international internship to get on the career ladder!


Photo 1. based on 2013 World Water Week Young Professional’s_24, by worldwaterweek, CC-by-2.0

Photo 2. based on Internship, by Idaho National Laboratory, CC-by-2.0

Photo 3. based on Thinking, by Ray Tsang, CC-by-SA 2.0

Photos and blog by Elizabeth Trovall

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The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!