I may be in Germany, but I’m still a Bentley University student—and Bentley students are all about getting summer internships. But does being abroad during recruitment mean the ship has sailed for these jobs?
Being 3,720 miles from Boston does add challenges and complications to any recruitment process. For me, Germany is 6 hours ahead of the Northeast and an 8-hour flight away from Boston. Thanks to Google Maps, I know equates to a 52-day walk, assuming I never sleep and not taking into account the ocean.
However studying abroad doesn’t have to be an obstacle towards achieving summer employment if you prepare properly. So what should you do? Here are a few pieces of advice I’ve discovered.
Need more interview tips? Read this article on how to nail a job or internship interview.
When leaving the country, many students temporarily turn off their phone plan, purchase a SIMs card or buy a prepaid phone in order to communicate home without inflated international costs. All these three methods will change your phone number. Double-check the contact information in your email signatures, resume, cover letters and job application, so if employers are interested in your application they can reach you.
Additionally, many students receive an email account at the university they’re temporarily attending. If you’re providing employers with your home university’s address, you’ll need to make sure you’re still checking it regularly. Having two email accounts to check might be frustrating, and receiving dozens of Bentley emails for campus events you can’t attend might make your FOMO act up again, but the alternative is staying at home all summer with mom and dad…
2) Know Your Time Zones
When you’re scheduling an interview, be conscious of the time difference: know how many hours difference there is and in what direction. If the company you’re talking to is on Eastern Standard Time, use Eastern Standard Time when communicating with them. And in emails be sure to label any times with an “EST”.
While I’m studying abroad, I’ve been running 6 hours ahead of Boston. So when I finish my classes at 2:00pm, businesses back home in Boston are all starting up. Students in Europe have no excuse that they overslept!
3) Pack One Formal Outfit
Many employers are willing to use alternative communication mediums to replace a face-to-face interview; popular substitutes being phone or Skype interviews.
If you’re asked for a virtual interview with video, it’s better to have professional, well-fitting clothes on hand than have to scour your roommates’ closets or buy something. The days between being asked to interview and interviewing is better spent reading up on the company than at the mall. Plus, there are much better things you’ll want to spend your money on while abroad than dress clothes!
4) Clean Up Your Social Media Accounts
When you’re studying abroad, you want to share lots of photos of yourself having a great time in your new home. And you should! But make sure those posts won’t scare away potential employers. They definitely check your social media accounts before hiring. Either remove the not-quite-professional posts or turn your accounts to private.
If you’re scheduling a Skype interview, make sure you have a profile picture and username you won’t be embarrassed of an interviewer seeing. (It might even be easier to make another account rather than temporarily change all your settings.)
5) Incorporate Your Study Abroad Experiences
And lastly, once you make it to the interview, don’t be afraid to talk about your non-academic experiences abroad.
Maybe not that winery tour in Italy or Saint Patrick’s Day in Ireland, but there’s a lot of characteristics travel brings out, such as punctuality, organization, independence or adaptability. Tell stories that emphasize skills gained or situations that have challenged you in new ways.
For me, I can’t emphasize enough how much studying abroad has made me more confident and open to new experiences. After the painful process of receiving a residential permit abroad with documents in German and a clerk that spoke no English, I know I might not excel at every experience. But I also know that I will survive every situation and grow from it.
Interested in study abroad? Check out Bentley’s Office of International Education and learn more about some of the programs it offers.