5 Ways to Use Global Experience to Get A Job

Duke experts on how international experience can enhance your career.

-By Alexis Owens

Using international experience to your advantage could be what sets your Curriculum Vitae (CV) apart from others in a competitive job market. Being exposed to different cultures education and practices is just one way you can take your CV to the next level. Below, experts outline five ways they applied their international experience to their career and how it can make you stand out to potential employers.

1. Create global networks

Making global connections can start on social media, says Marion Pratt, director of global careers at the Sanford School of Public Policy. Students can use their social media platforms to create global connections with others, document their experiences and keep up-to-date with global topics.  

“Take full advantage of social media platforms to connect with/and or follow like-minded people. Ask for informational interviews with people in jobs that interest you, or if you know them well and they are willing to let you, shadow them for a day at their job.”  

Here are some tips from Pratt:

  • Keep up with the international news. Pratt suggest The Economist, The New York Times, the Washington Post, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal.
  • Post blogs to document your travel experiences.

2. Utilize campus/local resources

Networking and making global connections can start right on campus, says Amanda Frederick assistant director for Duke University Center for International & Global Studies. There are offices on campus that are responsible for international activities and programs. Frederick encourages students to not only use campus resources to their advantage, but to branch out locally as well.  

“There are so many ways students can get started with networking and making global connections. Some examples include making connections at your home institution.”  

Here are some resources Frederick recommends:

  • Visit the Global Education Office (GEO) to learn about the activities and programs they organize.
  • Speak with student advisors at GEO about study abroad opportunities and the benefits of study abroad.
  • Visit Duke International House to learn more about how to join international groups.
  • Join global student groups on campus.
  • Connect with faculty from abroad or faculty who conduct programs abroad.
  • Join community organizations and groups (i.e. Raleigh international, International Focus)

3. Prepare for your travel experience

Do your research before picking a destination, says Pratt. Being prepared for your trip can help alleviate some of your worries. Pratt suggest that when students are picking a destination for their first time to choose one whose official language is English. That way you don’t have to worry about dealing with both a new language and new culture.  

“Even seasoned travelers are sometimes nervous about traveling! Try your first overseas experiences in small doses to build up your confidence.”  

Here are tips on how Pratt suggest you can prepare before traveling:

  • Do a lot of research on the destination country/area before you go. 
  • Sift through the voluminous materials online about traveling. 
  • Read travelogues and travel books.

4. Highlight your experiences

Employers anticipate finding these skills and traits, but it’s the student’s responsibility to identify what they learned, says William Wright-Swadel, assistant vice president for Student Affairs. Having the experience creates opportunity. With opportunity your able gain valuable skills you can apply.  

“Most employers anticipate international experience will create in candidates an awareness of and an appreciation for difference; an ability to engage and to learn in different environments; and a willingness to take some risk in securing the answers necessary to make decisions.”  

Here are some tips from Swadel on what employers hope to find in candidates with international experience:

  • Individuals with different perspectives, communication styles and problem-solving processes. 
  • Candidates who will demonstrate the ability to become a leader.  
  • A manager who will effectively unite a diverse team in accomplishing organizational goals. 

5. Apply your learned skills

There are several ways having international experience can make students more employable in the job market, Frederick says. Students should apply their learned skills to help seek out jobs and market themselves to potential employers. Applying your learned skills can be what sets you apart from other candidates.   

“Students can provide examples from their study abroad experience and how those skills and/or qualities may relate or be beneficial in the position to which they are applying.”  

Here are some skills and qualities Frederick suggest:

  • Identifying and solving problems/crisis management.
  • Able to learn quickly in a new environment.
  • Seeking opportunity for continuous learning.  
  • Cultural awareness and sensitivity.