So you’ve just finished your internship program – now what?
Wondering what to do after an internship finishes? You’re definitely not alone! An internship abroad provides a unique chance for a young person to gain real-world work experience abroad. It’s the kind of resume-building experience that will make it easier to get a job once you’re back home. But how exactly do you make your international experience translate into a job? Follow these steps in order to make your internship program pay off in the long term. Learn how to leverage your experience in the competitive job market and prove that your internship abroad has prepared you to be a reliable professional:
What to do after an internship ends
1. Take stock of what you learned
Spend some time reflecting on your experience. Write down which soft skills you’ve developed, what responsibilities you took on at the office and your daily and long-term contributions to the team. Think about how you became more adaptable, more communicative and more multicultural. How were your analytical skills and problem-solving abilities put to the test? What you learned through your internship should be a combination of concrete, industry-specific skills and also soft skills that all different types of offices look for in the members of their team. By taking stock of what you learned, which skills you honed and also the contributions that you made to the company, you can see how you are now prepared to make similar contributions at a full-time job.
2. Update your resume
It’s time to make that experience shine on your resume. As your resume should be in reverse chronological order, this international experience will be the first thing that your future employer sees (win!). Although the experience was an internship, the time commitment was like a full-time job and the whole experience happened in a foreign country, so there are many reasons to include your abroad experience in your resume. There’s no doubt it will be mentioned again in your job interview. Internships are commonplace, but adding that international experience to the mix makes the accomplishment even more impressive.
3. Actively look for jobs
Make a list of places where you would like to work, do your research, and reach out to see if they are hiring. Go to networking events in your city for people in your field, make business cards and pass them out. Check for job openings online too. Don’t forget about the contacts that you already have either. Former supervisors and coworkers can lead you to job openings and then also serve as a reference during the interview process. The key is to be active. You can’t wait for the opportunities to come to you.
4. Once you start getting job interviews, cater your experience to the job opportunity
Consider your list from before, with the different skills that you developed and your work contributions at your internship abroad. Look at that list and compare it to the job description and duties involved with the position that you want. Look at the company values and mission too. See how you could fit in at the workplace and think about what you can say about your previous experience that proves that you’re keen for the job. You have to prove to the hiring manager that you have the technical and soft skills worthy of the open position. To do this you’ll need anecdotal and numerical evidence from your past professional endeavors.
5. Practice talking about your qualifications
Prepare for your interview by practicing different potential interview questions. Become really comfortable talking about your work experience and explaining why it makes you a great candidate for the open position. Think about standout examples. Don’t just say that you interned abroad. Tell them about the time that you had to translate for the company’s CEO because he didn’t speak Spanish. Tell them about your wide network of international contacts. Have friends or family members listen and give you feedback so that you can improve your answers. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t be too brief, but it’s important that your answers are clear and concise. Get to the point quickly so that the interviewer stays interested. After all this rehearsal, you’ll be less likely to freeze up when the pressure is on during the actual interview.
6. Nail your interview
After practicing your job interviews, you have to perform. Keep calm and go into the experience really believing that you are the best candidate for the position. Take a deep breath if you feel overwhelmed. Smile instead of panicking if you lose your train of thought. Try to keep yourself at ease and maintain your confidence.
7. Follow up
In an email, thank the interviewer for their time and remind them who you are with a small reference to the interview and what you discussed. Now all you can do is wait and hope for the best. Keep in mind that sometimes it can take several months of applying to jobs to find something that’s the right fit. You can’t let the competitive job market discourage you – you just have to use it to make you an even stronger, smarter professional.
From international internship to Finance dream job – Click here to learn about how former intern Alex Baum found his finance dream job after taking an international internship.
If you’re yet to secure your international internship, apply now to boost your career!
Photo 1. by The Intern Group