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Highlighting Your International Student Experience on a Job/Internship Application

Posted on September 02, 2020

Now that you have navigated your job search, you are ready to start applying for internships!

International students bring not only a unique and diverse experience to the university but also to the workplace. It is important to recognize your strengths as international students and clearly convey this in your job application.

While jobs certainly take into consideration your academic background and training, they also want to know what other experiences you can bring to the job role. Depending on the field some jobs may require more hard skills (IT or Software skills) or soft skills (communication or personality traits) or a mixture of both.


Here are a few tips on how to market your spectacular capabilities!

Leverage your Language…

While English may not be your first language, it does not mean you cannot work in a US company. With increased globalization and multinational companies, speaking multiple languages is a valued skill. It will also showcase your communication skills, speaking multiple languages can help you communicate with many other people. Even if the job description does not require other languages, it is good to put this on your resume to help you stand out as a candidate. You may want to think about ways of how speaking another language can benefit the company. For example, if a company is looking to expand its business into a foreign market, like China, having someone speaking Chinese would be an asset for the company.

Highlighting International Travel…

International Travel and being an International Student demonstrate many soft skills, like adaptability, following steps and procedures, perseverance, and dedication. Remember all steps and processes it took you to secure your visa? Then travel to the US and come through US immigration? The process was difficult and required you to be meticulous and diligent and keep updated paperwork. Many employers like candidates who are detail-oriented, this is a skill that is useful in any job. International travel shows that you are willing to take calculated risks and have an open mind to new ideas and perspectives.

Develop Career Competencies...

Most companies value skills such as critical thinking/problem solving, teamwork/collaboration, work ethic, and oral/written communications. Use your experience as an international student to reflect on a time where you needed to use these skills. For example, you can think of a situation in which a problem arose either with your visa, traveling to the US, or something you didn’t understand. How did you work to solve this problem? What skills did you use to reach a solution? Think back to either a group project or a situation where you needed to work in a team. How did you interact with your team members? Are you someone who normally takes the lead? If not, how do you normally like to work in teams? How is work ethic defined in your culture? How do you demonstrate your work ethic? These are questions to keep in mind when you are drafting your resume and cover letters for your job application.

Be yourself…

Companies like candidates with great personalities that can bring a unique perspective to the job. It is important to be professional, but also be yourself. Do not be afraid to let your personality and culture shine.

Remember to utilize your university’s Career Services Office to have them review your resume and Cover Letters! Career Advisors are great about giving tips to improve your application.

Once you have accepted your internship offer, click here to learn more about US Workplace Culture.

Additional Resources:

Cover Letter Guidelines for International Students

6 Ways to Career Prep as an International Student

Book: The International Advantage: Get Noticed! Get Hired!

Author: Lauren Ratto

Lauren is a graduate student studying International Education at New York University. She is a graduate assistant for the International Student Team at NYU’s College of Arts and Science, where she helps run the International Student Mentor program. Most recently, Lauren has been awarded the International Student Ally award from NYU’s Office of Global Services.

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