The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) surveyed employers on what skills and qualities they seek when hiring candidates. Below is a list of the top qualities employers look for when evaluating a potential job candidate. Ask yourself how you have demonstrated or built upon such skills during your international experience/s.

Top Employer Rated Skills/Qualities                                   

Ask Yourself

1. Verbal Communication Skills How did you communicate with your boss or team?
What are some different verbal communication skills you used to communicate with others?
2. Strong Work Ethic Was there a time when you were abroad that you had to work without resources you had access to as a student in the USA?
Were there any differences between work expectations and the time-frame to complete projects?
3. Teamwork Skills

What were some ways that you interacted differently and similarly to your teammates while you were abroad? Why was it challenging?
What were some of the cultural differences that you noticed in team dynamics?


4. Initiative Did the culture you were in influence the way you were able to take initiative?
Since you were a “foreigner,” did you take initiative in a different way than you would have in your home country? If so, how?
Were there times when you did not have specific duties? As an alternative, did you create ways to add value or ask to assist team members?
5. Problem-Solving Skills Did you have to overcome problem-solving skills in a different language? How did the cultural nuances impact your problem solving skills?
6. Written Communication Skills What actions did you take to work with those that spoke English as a second language?
How did you approach your supervisor when you had a question or completed a project? Was this different than what is customary in your home country? If so, how?
7. Interpersonal Skills (relates well to others) Did your colleagues socialize and interact in a different way than in your home country? If so, explain.
8. Flexibility/Adaptability How did you adapt to working with new colleagues, supervisor/s and work environments?


Adapted from NACE National Association of Colleges and Employers 2011 Employer Survey