Published on September 1, 2015

How to use your internship abroad to get a job

Why intern abroad? An internship abroad is such a multifaceted experience, it sharpens soft skills while giving you industry-specific international knowledge. After living abroad and having earned relevant professional experience you'll be able to use this amazing experience as leverage in the competitive job market. However, this depends on how well you are able to prove that your internship abroad experience has prepared you for an available position. Take a look at our tips on how to market your international experience to see how you can rock your next job search:


why intern abroad


1) Make a list of improved soft skills, your tasks at work and the contributions you made to the office

It's time to reflect. How did working abroad make you more adaptable? How were your communication skills put to the test while working in an office where multiple languages were spoken? Think about important skills all workplaces look for; problem solving, teamwork, communication, adaptability and critical observation. Living abroad will improve those skills both at work and in daily life, the trick is coming up with concrete examples to prove you have these skills.


Now by listing the duties at your internship along with what you learned and your contributions to the company, you'll see all the different ways your internship prepared you for a job. If you have specific numerical data that proves your contributions, definitely include that in your list.


why intern abroad


2) Think about which skills from your internship will be necessary for your job

Read the list you made that basically hashes out what experience you gained from your internship abroad. Now look at the job description for the position you want. If any of the work duties are the same as what you did at your internship, make note of it and make sure to lead your resume with the overlapping job duties. If you can prove to the person interviewing you that you know how to handle the job's required tasks, you're in a good spot. Also, consider the most valuable soft skills for the position in question. How were you forced to use those skills specifically at your internship? To summarize, having a concise list of what you learned, how it makes you qualified for the job, backed up by anecdotal evidence, is the key to a solid post-internship interview.


3) Practice talking about your experience

It's one thing writing down your experience at home, on your own time. It's another thing to explain to a potential boss why they should hire you for that experience. That's why it's important to practice interviewing with a friend or family member. Practice a couple of stories that illustrate how you contributed to the internship office. You'll be more comfortable talking about your experience and better able to make a case for yourself when the pressure's on.


why intern abroad


4) Prepare your references

If you made a good impression on your supervisor during your internship abroad, they will be happy to give you a good reference to a potential employer. Just make sure to ask them beforehand if it's OK to use them as a reference and include their contact information with your job application. Also, keep in mind that contacts like former supervisors and coworkers are great people to turn to if you're looking for job openings. Since they work in your field they may be able to connect you with someone hiring in your area.


For more tips, check out our Intern Latin America Alumni's personal tips on how to sell your international internship.





Photo 1. based on Networking, by Sean MacEntee, CC-by-2.0

Photo 2. based on 15271-Career Handbook-professional students-9522, by Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography, CC-by-2.0

Photo 3. based on Dunedin Internship Speed Dating 2012, by Samuel Mann, CC-by-2.0

The author
Elizabeth Trovall
After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her third year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.

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