I have a wonderful anecdote about a recent OU graduate with a ton o’ global moxie. I would like to share it with you by way of illustration. (I haven’t asked for her permission to use her name, so let’s call her Opal.)
Opal studied abroad in Arezzo with the OU in Arezzo program last fall. She graduated from OU in December. Opal was very engaged in her Italian experience! She really wanted to find a job in Los Angeles in the industry (entertainment industry), like about 3 million other people. Opal had a great resume of internships that made sense and aligned with her interest in production and film. I was in touch with Opal by Skype and email, talking about her resume and her cover letter, helping her create language around her experience and creative passion that would speak to prospective employers.
Yesterday, she told me she had been hired as a full-time production assistant for a well-known television series (“The Amazing Race”) – one of just ten full-time staff members. Everyone else working on the show is a temp or contractor. Opal related how well her interview went because she was able to talk at length, and thoughtfully, about her experiences abroad. She said that she and the hiring manager really connected on this point, and the interview veered into about twenty minutes of personal chat about living and working abroad. She was proud of her recent study abroad experience, and I can just see her emanating enthusiasm in some Los Angeles office.
The point here is this: Opal had had great experience so far, and a sharp resume. But it was her ease talking about living abroad that helped that hiring manager really connect with her, and see her passion for learning and exploring.
You might be well-qualified for a job, both on paper and in person, and have the skills necessary to do it well. In fact, I think that this is true of everyone. But what sets you apart? You’re never the only person applying for a job, and if you were, ummm … maybe you shouldn’t be. Many people have your skills and interests. But remember – most hiring managers look at 10-200 applications for every position they hire. Stand out. Have that energy. Be memorable. Talk about your international experience as something integral to who you are (it is), as something that has helped form your professional identity (it has). Those hiring managers are tired of reviewing lackluster applications. Honestly, they would like to talk to someone who not only has skills, but who lights up when they’re excited about something. Because that is just the kind of energy that every hiring manager wants to see on the job. You know, the work that they pay you to do. Do it with style. Be international. Bring it.
Opal, good luck in LA! I knew you could do it!