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Resume Tips for International Students

Today's post is written by ECS Career Advisor, Kaitlin Schafer, who advises intern, co-op, and full-time employment seeking students.

A well prepared-resume is critical to landing an interview. Ensure your format fits U.S. standards by being aware of the following differences:

U.S. Resume 

  • Highlights achievements, academic background, and work experience related to desired work position
  • One page in length per degree (Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD)
  • Does not include TOEFL score, photo, marital status, age, race, gender, or religion (employers are not allowed to base hiring decisions on these qualities)

International Resume          

  • Provides extensive chronological details regarding academic and work experience
  • Multiple pages in length
  • May include photo, marital status, age, race, etc.       

Additional Tips
See the resume sample for an international student below.

International Student Resume

Employers are concerned about verbal and written communication skills. They may assume that an international student will have limited English communication skills. Be sure to incorporate where and how you’ve used these skills throughout your resume.  

Beau Buckeye points out the use of verbal communication skills throughout his internship with Skoda Auto. 

  • “Presented data from different prototype experiments to lead engineers”
  • “Collaborated with six person team to perform load tests on floor panels”

Draw attention to your involvement outside of class! Students who participate in engineering activities, research, and part- time employment are more attractive to employers.

Beau Buckeye identified several marketable skills he gained through his involvement outside of the classroom. The following example reflects leadership experience as the Marketing Chair of an organization:

  • Active Member, Undergraduate Chinese Student Organization September 2010 - Present
    • Marketing Chair, January 2011-October 2012
    • In charge of design, layout, and implementation of publications on campus; staffed all networking events

Being bi- lingual or multi-lingual can be a real asset to employers!  This may lead to additional opportunities with US companies who are looking to hire students at international locations.

Beau lists “Fluent in Chinese” under the qualifications section.

Identify foreign experience to U.S. employers by providing a frame of reference.

Beau provides an overview of Skoda Auto:

  • “Design Engineering Intern at one of the fastest growing car manufacturers in Europe”

Make sure your resume is free from grammatical and spelling errors as well as awkward or incorrect use of language! Set up a resume review appointment with an ECS Career Advisor to ensure your resume is competitive in the US job market. 

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”
-Albert Einstein

About the author

Kaitlin Schafer

Kaitlin Schafer is a Career Counselor at Engineering Career Services.