Global moxie alert!

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!

Basic stuff

I’m going to cover some very basic stuff here if you are in a job search, or planning one soon, as a person with global moxie.

First, draft a good cover letter. They’re important. I am always surprised by young professionals or soon-to-be graduates who have not written a good cover letter, or been advised to do so. Why are cover letters important? First, they show your written communication skills. They show that you can think coherently, and that you understand your own narrative about your experiences and your career goals, and how the specific application you are submitting aligns with your goals and experience. Think of a cover letter as a friendly way to have a professional introduction that you get to initiate – you’re basically holding the attention of the hiring manager for a few minutes. Just you! You alone! Talking to a person who might want to hire you. Don’t waste this opportunity.

Start with an introduction, reference the position, and then give a first paragraph about your skills and experience. In your second paragraph, explain how your skills and experience can address specific requirements of the job. Then make a nice conclusion. Be friendly, but not pushy. Say you hope to speak with the hiring manager further about your application.

And for Pete’s sake, do it well. A bad cover letter is the kiss of death. Check for grammar, typos, word choice. Keep it professional. Don’t sound crazy, and don’t use nutty fonts.

welcome to GlobalMoxie!

This is the inaugural post for GlobalMoxie, a blog dedicated to rising graduates and young professionals who have studied abroad, lived abroad, interned abroad, or worked abroad, and who now find themselves back home wondering how to position themselves to get that next job – or their first job.

The world is a big place, and if you’ve ventured forth into it, you’ve got great experience – skills and understanding that people often don’t have if they’ve never explored beyond their comfort zone. You can understand problems and how to solve them; you have learned how to function in a different language or culture; you know firsthand how to analyze a complicated problem and move through it to find a solution; you can get along with different people. These skills are important, and every hiring manager in America wants to find someone like you. A bachelor’s degree isn’t enough anymore in our labor market. What distinguishes you? Study abroad? A master’s degree? Significant work experience? What else? Let’s find out.

I’ve been there, I’ve done that, and I want to help you do it too.

I’ve traveled extensively (lost count a few countries ago), lived abroad a few times (Spain, France, Italy), and love to learn what makes the world – and people – tick. I put in my time in the classroom learning languages, but it was rarely as rewarding as being immersed in a culture, taking it all in, all synapses firing. I’ve enjoyed an evolving international career since 1997, working in the field of U.S. immigration, writing, and editing in New York, Seattle, and Oklahoma. I teach. I’ve reviewed thousands of cover letters and resumes as an immigration specialist and as a hiring manager, and I know what works – and what doesn’t – in a job search. Believe me. There are some basic tenets.

Every job I’ve ever been hired to do since I was 20, paid or unpaid, was due to the fact that I had studied abroad and lived abroad, acquiring language skills along the way. I know I’ve turned searches and interviews my way because of my ability to talk about my international experience. I have good ideas about how recent graduates and young professionals might shape their job search. I’ve had some great conversations in the past year or two, but I think we can reach more people this way. Are you interested? Want to follow? Good, because I’ll be putting a lot of ideas here in the future.

Comments, suggestions, ideas are welcome!

– Monica