Recruitment Prep if You’re Planning to Study Abroad

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Jennifer Agor, Assistant Director, Duke University Career Center
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student in front of historic ruins

So you’re thinking of studying abroad in the fall, but you’re not sure what that means for recruitment season. It will definitely affect your ability to attend info sessions, connect directly with employers on campus, and manage in-person interview requests . . . but it’s totally do-able and with some preparation and planning, can be a success!

Start this spring—get in to the Career Center and get your resume up to par, polish your cover letter writing skills, and do a mock interview. One can never be too prepared, and particularly when dealing with online interviewing, which may have technical issues and seems a bit less personal, practice is the name of the game. Resources on resumes, cover letters, interviewing, informational interviews, and more are all available on the Career Center website. Career advisers are also available via Skype and phone over the summer and in the Fall, if you need more personal assistance.

Networking is key. Use the spring recruitment calendar to connect with employers early on—and even explain to them that you’ll be abroad in the fall but are making a solid effort to connect with them while you can. Update your LinkedIn profile…and USE it!  Use LinkedIn and the Duke Alumni Directory to find alumni who might be in the geographic area to which you are heading and try to set up some informational interviews. Use the summer to connect and find out as much as you can about your industry and the types of jobs/internships you’d like to obtain. The more information you are prepared with, the more knowledgeable you sound in an interview, and the more your enthusiasm for the field comes across! 

If you’re in a technical or creative field, think about creating an online portfolio of your work. While you might not be readily available to show them your skills in person, this can help showcase your abilities to a potential employer.

Be sure to let employers know in your cover letter or application materials that you’ll be abroad and need to make alternative arrangements for interviewing. It’s never a good foot to put forward to tell an employer 10 minutes prior to what they think is an in person interview that you’ll actually need to meet via Skype.

Follow these tips and be proactive, and you’ll be successful in your internship or job search, even if you’re abroad. For extra assistance:

  • Drop-in Advising: weekdays 1:00-4:00pm in the Career Center, Smith Warehouse
    • For resumes, cover letters and other job search advice -No appointment needed
  • 30 minute 1:1 counseling appointments: Sign up via CareerConnections with any undergraduate adviser
    • For more in depth discussions about the job/internship search, networking, etc.
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