I recently received an e-mail from a school teacher in Florida asking me for advice on finding a job in international education. That same day I re-tweeted a link to an article about how to sell your study abroad experience in a job interview by Dan Klamm and received another request for advice on how to break into the field.
Here’s my advice:
1. Build the skills and experience necessary for the job you want. If you want to work in study abroad, then you should have AT LEAST a semester spent abroad. Studying in non-traditional locations and non-English speaking locations make you more unique. Find people who have the job you want to see what qualifications they have, how do you match up? Technical skills are also sought after-database management, web design, social media, etc. Building skills is something you should continue to do throughout your career.
3. Sign up for the NAFSA Academy. Although this has a fee, you get a foundation education in international education, as well as build a network of colleagues.
6. Check out Working World: Careers in International Education, Exchange & Development by Sherry Mueller & Mark Overmann. It’s available for Kindle if you’re in a hurry. (*Note: I haven’t read it, but the description sounds appropriate).
I was able to get into the field with the help of my NAFSA mentor, Ryan Lorenz, and because my technology skills made me stand out from my competition.
I also paid (out of pocket) to attend the conferences and to take relevant workshops while I was still trying to get my first job. I looked at it as an investment in my career and it paid off.
I am not a schmoozer, but networking at conferences helped make people aware of my job search. They would forward openings that might interest me.
I’ve always found the international education community highly supportive, so if you are a newbie, don’t be afraid to approach us!
What helped you break into the field? Please share to help the newer generations!
This article originally appeared on the Academic Solutions blog. More comments can be found on the original. Reproduced by permission.
- Building and Sustaining a Professional Network in the International Education Field (nafsa.org)
- Students Connecting Our World Gains Momentum (nafsa.org)
- Forum Post: Re: Benefits of International Students in USA (studyabroad.com)