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How to Put Teaching Abroad on Your Resume

How to Put Teaching Abroad on Your Resume

Teaching abroad is an exciting way to spend time in a foreign country and make money while you travel and fulfill a quest to see the world.

It’s also an experience that is all but guaranteed to keep on giving, long into your future. Teaching is far from the only job your time in a classroom overseas can help you land. Even after the adventure ends, you’ll have gained valuable skills and experiences that can help propel your career forward, no matter what career you’d like to pursue.

Many applicants choose to include a summary or objective section at the top of their resume. This can be a good place to call out your international experience with phrases such as “well-rounded candidate with international experience,” “global thinker” or “with work experience in [insert country here].”

If you developed any language skills while teaching abroad, you’ll also want to make sure you call this out on your resume either in the summary or a separate skills section. Be sure to include the level of your language skills, be it beginner, intermediate, advanced or fluent and make sure you are honest. Future employers will easily be able to call your bluff.

The work experience section is where you will want to really hone in on the skills you acquired teaching. Depending on the field you are interested in working in, you’ll want to highlight different skills in this section that you developed overseas. Here’s how to put teaching abroad on your resume, broken down by different industries.

If You Want to Work in Communications After Teaching Abroad...

Communications professionals need to demonstrate strong skills in the areas of writing, speaking or even visual storytelling. It may go without saying, but if you’re applying for a job in the field of communications, you’ll want to emphasize the communication skills you gained while teaching overseas.

A helpful hint: read the job description of the position you are applying for and highlight all verbs that relate to communications such as write, deliver, craft or present. Then write a line in your resume that showcases your experiences executing these verbs in the classroom overseas.

Tips for Putting Teach Abroad Experience on Your Resume
Photo by Chiara, Yayasan Widya Sari Bali Alum
Sample phrases you might include on your resume:
  • Displayed cross-cultural communication skills while teaching English in the Dominican Republic.
  • Wrote lesson plans to teach Dominican students English vocabulary, grammar as well as the history of the United States and varied topics in science.
  • Displayed strong public skills while presenting lesson plans to a classroom of thirty students.

If You Want to Work in Business After Teaching Abroad...

The world continues to shrink as society becomes more and more global. Businesses increasingly look to not only be present in one country but go international. Translation: your experience abroad navigating another culture has never been more important.

In the field of business, communication skills that demonstrate your cultural competence can help you put a stronger foot forward. By living abroad you’ve already demonstrated your aptitude to adapt to other cultures. Roles in the field of business also tend to be quite analytical. As a teacher abroad you demonstrated analytical skills whether you realize it or not, by testing students’ and deciding how to close their gaps in knowledge.

Tips for Putting Teach Abroad Experience on Your Resume
Photo by Sarah, iSPiice India Alum
Sample phrases you might include on your resume:
  • Successfully navigated the Slavic culture while living and teaching abroad in India for one school year.
  • Enhanced cultural understanding between India and the United States while teaching in a classroom setting.
  • Analyzed students’ knowledge in the fields of history and English grammar and developed lesson plans to close knowledge gaps and help students achieve a higher performance.

If You Want to Work in Engineering After Teaching Abroad...

To pursue a career in the field of engineering you’ll likely need a degree in the field or at least some related work or internship experience. However, teaching abroad can give you real world experience that can strengthen several key skills you’ll need to thrive in the world of engineering.

Math, science, and technology aside, jobs in engineering involve project management skills -- something you’ve proven as you’ve managed a classroom full of students. As an engineer you won’t be working alone -- projects usually involve working in small or large teams --, and teamwork skills, as well as communication skills, will be needed for you to have success.

Tips for Putting Teach Abroad Experience on Your Resume
Photo by Joel, Yayasan Widya Sari Bali Alum
Sample phrases you might include on your resume:
  • Served as team leader of a group of ESOL teachers in our efforts to plan and execute a Thanksgiving holiday event for a High School in Ghana.
  • Demonstrated project management skills while planning and executing lesson plans to teach English in Ghana.
  • Enhanced cross-cultural communication skills while teaching English at a High School in Ghana.

If You Want to Work in International Relations After Teaching Abroad...

In the field of International Relations, demonstrating your experience navigating, understanding, and thriving in other cultures apart from your own is of the utmost importance. That you have spent time living and working in another country is an experience that will certainly set you on the right path of pursuing a career in this field.

In addition to your cultural competence, you will also want to highlight teamwork, communication, adaptability and global thinking skills on your resume. These are all qualities necessary for working with other cultures in the broad field of international relations, be it in a business, non-profit, government, or education institutional setting.

Tips for Putting Teach Abroad Experience on Your Resume
Photo by Melodie, Yayasan Widya Sari Bali Alum
Sample phrases you might include on your resume:
  • Adapted to a new culture while living in Beijing and working as a team to teach English as a Second Language to a class of 30 Elementary school students.
  • Demonstrated cross-cultural understanding and communication skills by planning, developing and executing lesson plans to teach core English concepts to elementary school students in China.
  • Utilized advanced Mandarin language skills.

If You Want to Continue Teaching After Teaching Abroad...

It would be remiss if we did not mention how teaching abroad can get you a job actually teaching upon your return home. While most teaching jobs in the public school system require additional certification, your teach abroad experience can help you land a position teaching at a private or charter school, or even help you get accepted into a teaching certification program.

Some teach abroad programs may have a reputation for being light on the actual teaching experience, so if you are applying for a teaching position back home, you will want to position your time in the classroom as strongly as possible. Include examples of the methods you used to teach, your leadership experience in the classroom and any standards you helped your students meet (or exceed). Of course, if you earned any certifications as part of your experience teaching abroad, of course you will also mention these. Also, if you are interested in teaching a specific subject such as a language or history that directly relates to the country you taught abroad in, be sure to mention this.

Tips for Putting Teach Abroad Experience on Your Resume
Photo by Logan, Yayasan Widya Sari Bali Alum
Sample phrases you might include on your resume:
  • Researched, wrote, and executed lesson plans to teach a classroom of 28 Czech students 25 classroom hours per week.
  • Effective teaching methods resulted in a 90% pass rate for grade three students on National English Examination.
  • Earned TESOL certification while doing coursework to supplement classroom experience at an elementary school in Prague.

If You Want to Attend Graduate School After Teaching Abroad...

Graduate school is a common next step for many people who use their time teaching abroad as a sort of gap year in between finishing university and starting an advanced degree. Teaching overseas can give you some great “real-world” experience that will not only make pursuing an advanced degree more meaningful, but also help you stand out amongst other applicants who may be applying directly from finishing an undergraduate degree.

Graduate schools are looking to see you have the skills needed to thrive in the program you are applying to as well as the commitment to finish a challenging degree. Your personal statement can be a strategic place to highlight your time overseas and the way it shaped you into a stronger candidate who is aptly prepared for the program of study. A mentor teacher from your classroom may also be a good choice to write a recommendation letter.

Tips for Putting Teach Abroad Experience on Your Resume
Photo by Randy, Yayasan Widya Sari Bali Alum
Sample phrases you might include on your resume:
  • Enhanced public speaking and cross-cultural communication skills while teaching a classroom of 32 students 20 hours per week.
  • Demonstrated a strong commitment to students’ success by volunteering to lead an after school program that tutored students in the fields of science, math, and English language.
  • Advanced knowledge of South Korean history, language, and culture while living in Seoul and teaching in a middle school classroom setting.

As a Former Teacher, You Have Unique Skills

The fact that you have taught abroad is something that will set you apart from other candidates as you hunt for your next job. As you can see, no matter what field you desire to pursue, there’s a way to position your experience teaching abroad on your resume that will prove to future employers (or admissions counselors) that you are a well-rounded, cultured candidate with unique skills that will bring value to any team.

Ready to begin your journey by Teaching Abroad?

Lauren Salisbury

A California native, Lauren Salisbury has found the best way to get to know a region of the world is to live there, and with that in mind has worked in four countries, including the United States, Australia, Spain and Costa Rica. Lauren earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland and is now living in the Costa Rican rainforest, working as Social Media & Marketing Manager for Outward Bound. Lauren documents her travel adventures on her blog SomethingInHerRamblings.com.

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