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There is no doubt that an international internship can be a spring-board to a successful career. A placement gives you the opportunity to display key qualities that employers look for in new hires and can be an excellent way of standing out from the job-seeking crowd. As the world becomes a smaller, more connected place, global career opportunities are on the rise – PwC predict an additional 50% growth in international assignments by 2020. International experience is highly regarded and City Internships can help!

However, completing an internship abroad isn’t enough. Here’s our guide to using your intern abroad experience to land a job and excel.

Enhance your resume

“You only get six seconds to make the right impression, so you have to make them count” – Amanda Augustine.

Your resume is the first place you’ll want to start exhibiting your internship abroad. On average, hiring managers look at each application they receive for just six seconds. Thus, it is vitally important that your best attributes are clearly and professionally presented.


The title of your position has to jump off of the page. Potential employers are much more likely to take notice if you are specific about the industry and your role. If you have a well-known company name, use it, otherwise list the type of company (E.g. Marketing intern within an exciting digital start-up) and save your next interviewer from researching. As Ambra Benjamin, a recruiter at Facebook, points out, company recognition allows her to quickly form a frame of reference regarding a candidate’s previous experience.

Tip: Include the location of your internship. Did you intern in a desirable city? Show it off!

The role

As with the title of your position, you need to make your daily internship tasks as attractive as possible. The key is to emphasise the impact that these activities had on your host company. Focus on how you contributed to the growth of projects and the positive results that you left. There’s no need to exaggerate either – even tasks that you may have deemed basic are valuable and will have helped out your host company.

Not everybody can boast international experience so you should be encouraged to highlight the uniqueness of your internship abroad. Which cultural differences did you have to overcome, which foreign business skills did you pick up, did you learn a new language and how can these new-found perspectives help your prospective employers? Answering these questions are excellent ways of marketing your internship.

Tip: Prospective employers want to hear about results – express how and why your responsibilities produced positive outcomes.

Transferable skills

Lucky enough to intern in the exact role that you would like to spend the rest of your career doing? Great, the skills you learnt will be extremely relevant – boast about them! But remember, internships are also about exploring your career direction and realizing which parts of a position that you maybe don’t like. However different your internship was to the position you are applying for there will be transferable skills to display. Think about what would be most valuable to an employer in your new role and focus on how you used those qualities in your internship.

Travelling and living abroad is a perfect way to show that you are independent, ambitious, adaptable, motivated and willing to take on challenges. Your internship will say as much about your personality as your business acumen so don’t be afraid to let people know about that side of your skillset too.

Transferable skills that you may have developed whilst abroad could include:





Time management


Relationship building skills


Critical thinking

Capacity to learn quickly in new situations


 Tip: Don’t just list skills; include examples of how you implemented them during your placement.

Keep in contact

Positive references from your internship mentor and colleagues are a sure-fire way of strengthening your application, so it pays to keep in touch. Social media and sites like LinkedIn have made it easier than ever to stay connected with your business network and their work and you should make sure to take advantage. Furthermore, an endorsement from another country is doubly as impressive as it displays that you had a lasting, positive impact on your workplace and co-workers.

Tip: Get into the habit of connecting with everyone you meet in a professional capacity on LinkedIn. You never know when you might need them.

Link to your achievements elsewhere / tie it all together

Resumes should be kept short, sharp and sweet but there is no reason why you can’t direct any readers to more substantial accounts of your international internship. Spending time abroad is a brilliant opportunity to enhance your online presence and getting creative with blogs and social media will allow you to display your writing and photography skills as well as a genuine passion for your chosen industry.

Interested hiring managers are bound to search for your name on social media sites. Instead of highlighting drunken university pranks, look to showcase your areas of interest and expertise by sharing relevant industry news. Linking to an online portfolio is also an easy way to put your work in front of people.

Tip: If there are photos on your personal social media accounts that you wouldn’t want bosses to see then make sure you have set them to private!

Competition at the application stage will be stiff with other candidates also having completed domestic work experience or other forms of work abroad. Focus on why your international internship sets you apart from your peers and you’ll be on to a winner.

At the Interview Stage

92% of employers are looking for transversal skills – qualities such as being open to new challenges, confidence, the ability to problem solve and tolerance towards the values and behaviours of others” – Erasmus survey

This is the stage when you’ll need to expand on the achievements and skills that you included on your resume. Arguably, you have completed the hard part and made your way past the highly competitive stage of having your resume approved by an employer. Be safe in the knowledge that your profile is attractive enough for a hiring manager to want to take time out of their day to meet you in person. Now is the time to really brandish your international experience.


Preparation is key when it comes to your interview. Try to anticipate the types of questions that you will be asked and prepare answers that highlight your international experience. As with your resume, focus on transferable skills and experiences that you will be able to utilize in the position you are applying for.

Another good idea is to prepare anecdotes that you can relay to your interviewer. You will likely be asked questions beginning with, ‘Describe a situation in which you…’ Being able to draw on your experiences abroad will be an impressive and unique way to respond.

Four of the most common interview questions to prepare for:

“Tell me about yourself”

“Describe your current (or most recent) position”

“What can you offer us that someone else can’t?”

“Why should we hire you?”

Fortunately, discussing your international internship experience is the perfect way to tackle them.


Remember, face-to-face interviews are also designed to find out more about a candidate’s personality. Be confident and don’t be scared to speak openly about situations away from your internship. The iconic landmarks you visited, people you met and memories you picked up along the way will be brilliant conversation starters and allow you to build a rapport with your interviewer.

Tip: Having a short, casual conversation with your interviewer will help to settle nerves. But remember to keep it professional.

Steer the conversation

Finding common ground with your interviewer is certainly a good ice-breaker but don’t forget why you are there. Be sure not to become too carried away with your travel stories and remember to steer the conversation back to business. Just as you did with your resume, you’ll want to emphasize why your achievements overseas make you the right candidate for the job.

You should also be willing to make it known that your internship abroad may not have been a requirement or an integral part of your university course. Don’t be afraid to assert that you sought out the opportunity and took the more challenging route that summer – an excellent example of initiative and hard-work.

Tip: Don’t leave your interviewer thinking that you only went abroad for the nightlife. The internship is what they really want to hear about.

Don’t lie

You will have plenty of relevant skills and anecdotes to talk through so there is no need to lie on your resume or in your interview. There will be nothing more embarrassing than claiming that you are fluent in Spanish and being stumped when your interviewer begins talking to you in the language. If you’re willing to list a language, be prepared to have a business conversation using it.

Tip: Seriously, don’t lie – it will come back to haunt you.

During your new role

Now that you’ve landed a position, it’s time to use your skillset etc… Your international experience will have played a big part in you acquiring a job so don’t be afraid to put it to use in the workplace.

Thinking outside the box

Every country, city and culture has a different way of doing things. If you feel that a certain aspect of business was carried out in a more efficient, productive or ‘better’ way at your internship then let your new company know. Different perspectives should always be welcome and it will display initiative if you can contributes to new methods of working.

Tip: Suggest rather than demand that things could be done a different way. You won’t want to alienate colleagues who are used to carrying out tasks in a certain way.

Connect, connect, connect

As discussed previously, the workplace has become a world without global barriers. It’s likely that your new organization will contain colleagues from other areas of the world. Drawing on your experiences of interacting with people who hold different interests, values and backgrounds is an excellent way to form solid connections within your new workplace.

Tip: Again, share travelling stories but remember to keep it professional.

Willingness to relocate

Having international experience doesn’t mean that you’ll be the go-to person every time your firm sets up a new office in a new city, but it does mean that you will be an attractive prospect for international companies and expanding businesses alike. Consulting company PwC report that by 2020 the Millennials group will make up the significant majority of all international assignments and will increasingly view organisations—and the world—without boundaries. If you’re open to working abroad again then feel free to make higher-ups aware. Those at the top will know that you have the maturity, initiative, cultural know-how and in some cases the required language skills to succeed overseas. Furthermore, relocation can often coincide with promotion opportunities.

Tip: Let your managers know that you would be open to working abroad but don’t lose sight of where you have been employed and your current role. Wanting to suddenly move abroad within a few weeks could alarm them.

Interning abroad is undoubtedly an excellent opportunity to kick-start your career and excel in your chosen path. There is also little doubt that employers understand the relevance of a new hire having international experience in such globally diverse industries. However, the real skill lies in marketing this experience so that you can truly stand out from the crowd. Using our comprehensive guide will help you to show a hiring manager the skills that you have accumulated abroad and demonstrate how they can be applied to a full-time position.

By Josh Edgley-Smith

Need more tips? How about some assistance getting an internship? Check out City Internships for all the help you will ever need!

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