Your First 5 Post-Abroad Career Steps
This is a guest blog post written by Mariel Tavakoli, creative content manager at Pinc International.
Coming back from being abroad is never easy. You’ve had the time of your life, learned so much, and now you’re back home wondering, what now? Whether intended or not, while studying, interning, volunteering, or even simply traveling abroad, you developed amazing career skills that are coveted in the job market today. Now that you’re home, it’s time to translate that abroad experience into your next internship. With your time overseas fresh in your mind, take these five post-abroad career steps:
1.Reflect + Breathe. From unpacking to seeing friends and family, coming home can be a whirlwind. However, before you are totally overwhelmed by the transition back to home life, take a moment to reflect about your abroad experience (and take some DEEP breaths). While abroad, you had the opportunity to live in a totally different way and likely to either learn about or work on totally different topics. What did you like most? What was most challenging? These questions can help you figure out what aspects of life abroad you would like to apply or pursue in your future personal, academic, and professional life.
Some programs, like PINC International, even build this into their programming. CEO and Founder, Lisette Miranda, comments, “Once students get back in the hustle and bustle of life at home, they are physically distracted, but still mentally unprepared and prone to an unexpected wave of emotions. At PINC, we believe it’s so important for students to wrap-up their experience and anticipate re-entry shock, even before they get on the plane, and then to continue this self-reflection at home.”
2. Craft Your Elevator Pitch. Reflecting on or even writing down your lessons learned, both about the world and about yourself, will help you to then craft your new elevator pitch. Once you arrive home, you will likely hear the questions “How was your time abroad?” and “What are you planning to do next?” However, these are just trial runs for how you can pitch your time abroad during an interview. Although hard, boil down your abroad experience into 1-2 key lessons or influential stories. Then, think about how these apply to the position and your qualifications. Everyone from potential employers to curious family friends will be impressed about the depth of your abroad experience and how you imbued it with meaning.
3. Revamp Your Resume. Now that you can verbalize your elevator pitch, it’s time to make your time overseas stand out on your resume. Use these tips for each type of abroad experience:
- Study Abroad: Add your program or university in your Education section. Be sure to add relevant courses that you took or any research that you completed
- Volunteer Abroad: Create a Skills or Volunteer Work section on your resume to describe the meaningful work you did overseas.
- Intern Abroad: Write out your position overseas just as you would a job or internship at home, except by adding that it was located abroad. Then, highlight 2-3 skills or projects you worked on.
4. Reach Out. Now that you’ve formulated your toolkit of elevator pitch and resume, you’re ready to show-off the post-abroad you to the world! When arriving back home, take the opportunity to reach out to professors, old bosses, or potential internships to tell them about your experience and what you hope to do moving forward. Not only will they be happy to hear from you after you were away, but also reaching out shows your ambition and initiative to continue to grow from your time overseas.
Another way to flaunt your overseas knowledge is by getting involved on campus. Your International Students or Study Abroad Office is a great place to start. Otherwise, check out different cultural clubs on campus, or if there isn’t one already for your abroad country, start one up! These are great leadership and entrepreneurial opportunities to take advantage of, and you’ll feel a small taste of your overseas home by sharing your experience with others. Plus, you may just inspire someone new to take an abroad journey of their own.
5. Keep In Touch. Yes, coming home from your time abroad will be a lot about moving forward, but solidifying the ties you made overseas is equally important. Start out with a few emails to your contacts abroad to let them know you made it home safely. This will set a precedent to keep in touch despite your new distance. In addition, be sure to join any alumni communities available with your abroad program. Often, there are exciting ways to get involved, as well as events that provide a way to continuously expand your professional network. Keeping in touch with your time abroad is the first step to creating your global network and who knows, maybe you’ll be using those connections to go back abroad sooner than you think!