Having an internship on your resume is incredibly attractive to prospective employers (especially if it’s with an international company). But mentioning it in passing simply isn’t enough — you need to know how to talk about your internship in a way that showcases the impact it’s had on you professionally and personally, and how it can benefit the company or organization you’re hoping to work with.
Here are a few tips and tricks for talking about your international internship experience during the job application, interview, and hiring process.
1. Craft Your Resume
Creating a standout resume that effectively communicates your international internship experience is crucial when applying for jobs. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all resume template, but there are some standard things to consider!
Here are some tips to ensure your internship is presented attractively on your resume:
- Placement and Format:
- List the host company abroad that you interned with, not the internship program (ex: AIFS Abroad).
- Include the location (city and country) of your internship.
- Always mention the months and year you interned to provide a clear timeframe.
- Place your internship under the “Work Experience” or “Professional Experience” section, not under “Volunteer” or “Extracurricular Activities.” Treat your internship as a professional endeavor.
- Content and Bullet Points:
- Focus on tasks and responsibilities that are most relevant to the job you are applying for. Tailor your content to match the job description.
- Use bullet points to present your accomplishments and responsibilities clearly.
- Aim for 3 to 7 bullet points for each job listed on your resume. Be concise but informative.
- Pro-tip: Maintain a list of your internship tasks and update it throughout your internship. This makes it easier to update your resume later.
- Formatting and Style:
- Stick to a consistent font style and size throughout your resume. Common choices include Arial, Calibri, and Times New Roman.
- Use a font size between 10 and 12 for readability.
- Keep your resume’s layout clean and organized to make it easy to scan.
- Tailoring to the Job Description:
- Customize your resume for each job application by aligning how you talk about your internship with the specific job description.
- Identify action words and keywords in the job announcement and incorporate them naturally into your resume. This helps your resume stand out and makes it more likely to pass automated applicant tracking systems.
Remember that your resume is often the first impression you make on potential employers. By presenting your international internship effectively and tailoring your resume to match the job you’re applying for, you increase your chances of securing an interview and ultimately landing your dream job.
2. Create a Cover Letter
Crafting an effective cover letter is an essential part of your job application, and it’s worth the effort. Here are some key points to consider when writing a cover letter where you can talk about your international internship experience and captures the attention of potential employers:
- Importance of the Cover Letter: A cover letter is just as crucial as your resume. It provides an opportunity to expand on your qualifications and share your passion for the position and the company.
- Highlighting International Experience: Use your cover letter to showcase your international internship experience. Mention where you interned and emphasize what you learned about your profession while working in a different cultural context.
- Unique Selling Point: Highlight that only 1% of recent college graduates have international work experience. This makes your profile unique and appealing to hiring managers.
- Personalization: Address your cover letter to the specific person responsible for reviewing applications. Whenever possible, find the recruiter’s name through the job announcement, company website, or LinkedIn.
- Engaging Introduction: Start your cover letter with a professional yet personal introduction that piques the employer’s interest from the beginning.
- Informative Body: In the body of the cover letter, focus on your qualifications, skills, and why you are eager to join the company. Tailor your content to match the job description and emphasize how you are the right fit for both the position and the organization.
- Brevity and Formality: Keep your cover letter formal and concise, aiming for a one-page length to cover all necessary information.
- Passion and Customization: Customize your cover letter for each job application, avoiding generic templates. Employers appreciate passion and a genuine interest in their company and role.
Crafting a compelling cover letter can be the key to securing that all-important first interview.
3. Pitch Yourself to Hiring Managers Directly
A proactive approach to job hunting, which can involve reaching out directly to companies and hiring managers, is a great opportunity to showcase your international internship experience — and a great strategy for landing a job you’re passionate about. Here are some key points to keep in mind when reaching out to potential employers in this manner:
- Thorough Research: Invest time in researching the company thoroughly. Understand their values, culture, and the challenges they face. This knowledge will help you craft a more compelling pitch.
- No Fear of Contact: Don’t hesitate to reach out even if there are no job openings listed. Companies often appreciate proactive candidates who show initiative.
- Professional Communication: Treat your outreach email as a formal cover letter. Clearly express your skills and how you can contribute to the company’s success.
- Creativity and Uniqueness: Highlight your international experience as a unique selling point. Share how it has shaped your skills and perspective, making you an asset to the company.
- Think Beyond Job Boards: Don’t limit your job search to what’s available on job boards. Reaching out directly allows you to tap into hidden opportunities and potentially create positions tailored to your skills.
- Persistence and Follow-Up: If you don’t receive an immediate response, be persistent but respectful in your follow-ups. It shows your genuine interest in the company.
Your willingness to step outside the conventional job application process can set you apart from other candidates and lead to exciting career opportunities. If you talk about your international internship experience, it will add a unique dimension to your profile, making you a valuable asset to potential employers.
4. Give Your Best Effort in the Interview
Navigating job interviews can be nerve-wracking, but with preparation and confidence, you can make a positive impression. Here are some key tips for handling common interview questions and how you can talk about your international internship experience:
- Addressing “Tell Me About Yourself”:
- Keep your response to this question concise, around 60 seconds.
- Focus on your professional experience, including your international internship.
- Highlight who you reported to, your responsibilities, and significant projects or tasks.
- Emphasize the knowledge you have about the company and your enthusiasm for the role.
- Leveraging Your International Experience:
- Use examples from your internship abroad to answer various interview questions.
- Discuss how your international experience has equipped you with valuable skills, such as adaptability, cultural awareness, and problem-solving.
- Preparing Questions:
- Always have three to five thoughtful questions prepared to ask the interviewer at the end of the interview.
- Tailor your questions to the company and role to demonstrate your research and genuine interest.
- Confidence and Enthusiasm:
- Approach the interview with confidence and a positive attitude.
- Showcase your excitement for the position and your readiness to take on challenges.
- Highlighting Your Internship:
- Throughout the interview, find opportunities to emphasize your internship experience.
- Use specific examples to illustrate your accomplishments and how they align with the job requirements.
Your international internship has provided you with valuable skills and experiences that set you apart as a candidate. Make sure to confidently communicate these strengths during the interview. With thoughtful preparation and a focus on showcasing your internship, you can increase your chances of landing the job you desire.
5. The Follow-Up
Sending a well-crafted thank-you email after an interview is a crucial final step in the hiring process. Here are some key points to keep in mind when composing your thank-you note:
- Timing is Important: Send your thank-you email within 24 hours of the interview. This shows your promptness and continued interest in the position.
- Personalization: Customize each thank-you note for the individuals who interviewed you. Send separate notes to each person if there were multiple interviewers.
- Content and Detail:
- Your thank-you note should go beyond a simple acknowledgment. Mention specific points discussed during the interview to demonstrate your attentiveness.
- Express your gratitude for their time and the opportunity to interview.
- Reiterate why you believe you are the ideal candidate for the position, highlighting your skills and experiences.
- Briefly talk about or mention your international internship experience, including where it took place and key responsibilities, to reinforce your qualifications.
- Professional Tone: Maintain a professional tone throughout the email.
- Final Impression: Your thank-you note is your last chance to leave a positive impression. Make it memorable and reinforce your enthusiasm for the role.
A well-written thank-you email can set you apart from other candidates and leave a lasting impression on the hiring manager. It shows your professionalism and appreciation for the opportunity while reiterating your qualifications for the job.
Ready to find a career you love?
Unlock the opportunities that come with international experience by embarking on an internship abroad! Apply today to discover the exciting destinations and career-building experiences that AIFS Abroad can offer you on your journey to your dream career. Your international internship is the key to a world of possibilities. Are you ready?