International exchange is surely a good place to gain a lot of experience in professional life as well as your personal development. The knowledge gained in the education process is surely important and necessary to work on your projects with understanding, but to work effectively and cooperate with others, some soft skills are needed.
These are the sort of skills you can develop during your exchange when you learn to live on your own, encounter getting to know a lot of different people from a wide range of backgrounds and a variety of cultures. Employers appreciate soft skills, however, it is quite easy to list them in your CV, but it is not easy to show them during the interview. ESN advocates for the recognition of these skills acquired during student exchange and volunteering among employers.
Among the acquired skills, we can mention intercultural awareness, critical thinking, media literacy, self-confidence, negotiation, problem-solving, organisational skills, communication skills and project management.
ESN provides many personal and professional development opportunities to its members and international students by organising workshops, training events, facilitating discussion, and cultural exchange. Engagement in the local communities broadens the horizons and can be a nice example of learning by doing. Some ESN sections even organise job fairs and all the sections are eager to help the international find a job or an internship in a respective city.
ErasmusIntern.org is a platform that connects traineeship and internship providers with students searching for an internship in their field. #myESNcareer is a platform that aims to help ESN members better understand what skills they have acquired and how they can use them to their advantage.
Eduk8 is a training programme for ESN members to develop their skills in non-formal education and the whole programme aims to help the members grow and professionalise ESN as a network. ESN also provides guidelines and feedback consultations on their CV and cover letter to ensure the members are successful and valuable in the labour market.
ESNsurvey is research focusing on the impact of mobility on students’ lives. In 2011, ESNsurvey showed that mobility has positively impacted their future career and chances in professional life. Employers are very likely to prefer applicants with international experience to those without one.
Try to think about what skills you have gained during your exchange and point them out in your CV and then during the interview. Fingers crossed, ESN believes in you!