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Do employers value international student mobility experiences?

Do employers value prior international exposure when hiring? If so, how should students and recent graduates showcase their international experiences in their CV or motivation letter? What competences do employers believe are learnt through such experiences?


The new Erasmus Careers Employer Manual reflects on these questions and was designed to empower both employers and prospective employees to recognise, appreciate, and capitalise on the competences gained through international mobility.


This manual wants to show how the competences acquired by students through international mobility experiences match what employers are actively seeking in potential hires. Previous research points out that merely mentioning one's study abroad experience does not necessarily boost job prospects, but it’s important to leverage and showcase these experiences to captivate

prospective employers. 


We often forget that the journey of an international student is not merely an academic pursuit; it is a transformative experience that equips individuals with a rich tapestry of competences and perspectives, such as adaptability, communication, teamwork, creative thinking, and self-efficacy – all essential for success in today's global job market. These five are considered the skills most sought after by employers, as identified through previous research. 


“I feel like I'm better equipped now to adapt to professional situations where I might not feel entirely comfortable with the culture. And, you know, it's about finding that balance – adjusting when needed but also staying true to myself. That's something I've really learned along the way.” – Marie, Student, 23

But how do these competences manifest through different indicators across the stages of the hiring process (Job Posting, CV, Cover Letter, Interview, Hire)? 


Let’s take the example of adaptability.


In an application, a candidate is showcasing adaptability by including side & part-time jobs, volunteer work abroad or other international experiences, travelling as a hobby. When facing an interview, adaptability can be shown with a positive, ‘can-do’ attitude, when the candidate can demonstrate open-mindedness and can self-reflect on past (international) experiences and what competences they believe to have acquired. 


Check the Employers Manual here to understand how these competences are shown in both application and interview phases, to adapt your approaches on the hiring process. Remember to pay attention to language skills, interest or knowledge on global issues, but also make sure to promote an international workplace! 


“(...) And also, what I've found is that generally, if I'm employing candidates with international experience, they normally have a greater sense of self-awareness, a greater sense of maturity. And this is obviously important in a professional organisation” – Vice President, Financial Services

Find the full document here.


Do you want to know more? Visit the project’s website.


 

This manual was developed in the framework of the Erasmus+ Key Action 2 Cooperation Partnership project: Erasmus Careers - 101049436

April 2024, Erasmus Careers Consortium

 

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.


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