Marketing your International Experience

UW Bothell students in Guatemala, providing primary care and health education in small, rural villages far from medical centers. In all, 14 students participated, four from the Master of Nursing program and 10 undergraduates majoring in either Nursing or Health Studies

Why it Matters

A 2003 RAND study surveyed 135 Human Resource managers from 75 companies. By consensus, the most important employee skill sets were²:

  • Substantive content/technical knowledge of the primary field of business,
  • Managerial ability, with emphasis on teamwork and interpersonal skills,
  • Strategic international understanding, and
  • Cross-cultural experience.

Cross-cultural competence ranked 5th out of 19 attributes that ‘Make a successful career professional’ according to the same study.

Highlight your new skills

A 2008 study found that the top 4 skills that employers value from someone who has studied abroad are³:

  • Interacting with people who hold different interests, values, and perspectives
  • Understanding cultural differences in the workplace
  • Adapting to situations of change
  • Gaining new knowledge from experiences

Marketing your International Experience: Resumes, Cover Letters, Interviews

Map out your materials with intention. To get started, look through the Marketing your international experience worksheet and think about your international involvement.

Possible international activities to include and highlight on your resume, cover letter or during an interview:

  • Education/Study Abroad
  • Coursework with a global component
  • Projects exploring a multi-cultural topic or with an international team
  • Clubs and community involvement
  • Internships and work assignments
  • Research
  • Extensive Travel
  • Veteran/Military Experience

On a resume, study abroad/international experiences are typically added to:

  • Education
  • Experience
  • Skills

Other areas where international experience may appear on a resume:

  • Internships or work-abroad → under Work Experience/Relevant Experience/Experience
  • Extensive travel or cultural experience → under its own category: Cultural and Travel Experience
  • International and cultural skills → under Summary of Qualifications, or under its own category

Example of Study Abroad on a Resume

Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies
Expected June 2024
University of Washington Bothell
  • Cumulative GPA 3.7
  • Awarded CUSP scholarship for Spring 2012
  • On-campus student involvement and leadership within the Latino Student Union
Study AbroadCommunity Development in Zambia
  • Fieldwork and research with Zambian citizens and health education community
  • Developed cross-cultural communication skills through collaboration with Zambian students
  • Enhanced global perspective through increased understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues faced by local populations

Resume and Cover Letter Word Banks

Resume action verbs:

  • Adapted
  • Awarded
  • Collaborated
  • Changed
  • Challenged
  • Developed
  • Exchanged
  • Explored
  • Financed
  • Fostered
  • Immersed
  • Implemented
  • Interpreted
  • Involved
  • Learned
  • Lived
  • Managed
  • Navigated
  • Organized
  • Researched
  • Represented
  • Shared
  • Translated
  • Traveled

Transferrable skills:

  • Cultural awareness
  • Language skills
  • Independence
  • Adaptability
  • Ability to handle stress in new environments
  • Dealing with ambiguity and change
  • Achieving goals despite obstacles
  • Taking initiatives/risks
  • Time management
  • Communicating despite barriers
  • Learning quickly in a new environment
  • Handling difficult situations
  • Handling stress
  • Conducting research despite language and
  • cultural differences
  • Functioning with a global perspective
  • Performing in an environment with adverse
  • conditions
  • Problem solving, crisis‐management
  • Building cross‐cultural relationships


  • Self‐reliance
  • Appreciation of diversity
  • Perseverance
  • Flexibility
  • Assertiveness
  • Inquisitiveness
  • Self‐confidence
  • Self‐knowledge
  • Independence
  • Openness to relocation
  • Diplomatic
  • Resourceful


  • Download the handout that will walk you through capturing your international experience on a resume
  • Download PPT slides from the Marketing Your International Experience workshop
  • Visit the Student Success Center in UW1-160 to get feedback on your resume and cover letter from a trained advisor in Global Initiatives or Career Services.