When applying for a job, it is important to cater your resume and cover letter to the specific position you are applying for. While it is a good idea to have a generic resume on file, gearing your resume towards the one position will help you outline exactly why you are the perfect person for the job. The goal is to translate your work experience and your passion for study abroad into the responsibilities of the position to be filled, and make it as obvious as possible to the hiring manager that you are the perfect fit for the job. Begin by looking at the responsibilities section of the job posting. It is important to remember that your resume isn’t about you showing off: it is about you proving to the person reading your resume that you have exactly what the open position needs. Now, all you need to do it translate the responsibilities of the prospective position into your own skills on your resume, and you will be good to go! Sounds easy, right? Here are a few key things to remember:
- When you describe responsibilities you previously held in a position, try to showcase the goals you have accomplished, rather than the tasks you completed. The difference being: “held fundraiser for XYZ Organization” vs. “Planned and organized fundraiser which raised $25,000 for XYZ Organization, surpassing goal by over 15%”. This will show the reader you are able to bring growth and innovation to the position, rather than simply checking off the required boxes and moving on.
- Just because you are applying to be a Study Abroad advisor and have never held that position previously, doesn’t mean you don’t have what it takes to be successful in the position. You can always take skills you gained from a previous job in a different sector, and apply them to the International Education field. For example, if one of the responsibilities for the position is to host a study abroad fair, you can take your previous “event planning” experience from organizing recruitment for your fraternity or sorority and include it on your resume.
Overall, the Higher Education industry tends to be more conservative when looking at resume and cover letter formats, but below you can see a variety of templates which fit both ends of the spectrum.
Template 1: Alexis Kent
What it offers: A slightly spiced up version of your standard resume; this template includes all of the essential information in a clear format, and adds a few playful Social Media symbols on the contact information section for both the resume and cover letter.
Works well for: This is a great choice if you like simple style resumes, or if you are applying for a position where you want to come across as focused and serious.
Template 2: Ashley Moore
What it offers: This 3-in-1 template includes templates for a cover letter, a one page AND two page resume. The formatting fits plenty of information on all three of the templates provided.
Works well for: If you have a lot of information to showcase, this template pack can help you to show it all off. Choose to use the two page resume if you have various positions, achievements, and references you would like to include. If you would like to limit your experience section to highlight the top/most recent positions held, and would like to provide one or two references, the one page resume allows you to do that as well.
Template 3: Daniel Campbell
What it offers: The added color grabs your attention, but doesn’t distract the reader from your content and experience. The left hand column is split up between your profile, and education, allowing you to include bullet points of the relevant coursework for your degree.
Works well for: If you are applying for an internship, or have recently graduated and do not yet have much work experience, this template allows you to focus on your relevant coursework, and highlight one or two key positions you’ve held. If you don’t have much work experience, this format helps you to focus on one key position you have held and what it has taught you.
Template 4: James Brown
What it offers: This template gives two variations of formatting: you can list your achievements, or you can list your References and Hobbies instead. This is a very clean resume that you can spice up by including your picture
Works well for: if you have a great professional photo of yourself, and are looking to showcase only a few skills and achievements, and let your work experience be the focal point.
Template 5: Alan Gates
What it offers: Adds a splash of color to your resume, and a very unique but well-organized formatting. You can even include the logo for the companies that you held positions with. This template also has a “Skills” section, where you can choose two different skill sets, and list out sub skills, and your expertise level for each one.
Works well for: This layout is great for international education enthusiasts. It allows for plenty of space to list out educational information, so you are able to fit in the international institution where you studied during your semester abroad. It also allows you to list out several languages and your proficiency level for each one.
These are just a few examples out of the thousands available. When deciding on a template, choose the one which allows you to showcase your specific skills, experience, and personality in the best way while keeping in mind the culture of the organization to which you’re applying.
Which template do you think works best (or not at all)? Let us know in the comments below! We'd love to hear your opinion.