What We Don’t Know in the International Education Job Search

interviewinprogressIn life, we simply don’t know what we don’t know until we experience something first hand or someone teaches us new information.  For example, did you know that your resume for a typical international education job will be read by a machine before a human?  Or that you’ll likely be in a pool of over 100 candidates for one position? Or that how you handle the top 1/3 of your resume could make a significant difference in how it is viewed?

Play along with me for a moment


Go ahead and name a number between 1 – 100.  What number did you pick?  Was it 58 because that is the number I was thinking of – and you needed to be thinking of it, too if you were to land your dream job in international education.

If the answer is no – that you picked another number – sorry, but you didn’t get the job.

That’s how random it can feel when you’re applying for jobs in international education and imagine yourself at the desk, in the field, doing the important work that changes perspectives.  And when you have the “goods” but can’t get in the pool to be considered, you are frustrated. Deflated. Depressed. – Imagining yourself living at home or having 3 roommates to help make ends meet.  Eating a lot of inexpensive pasta – and even if you studied in Italy  – the pasta is going to begin to get old, soon.

What you probably don’t know … until I tell you below

In job searching, the reality is that we know even less than we imagined, which is why I am a career coach specific to international education and cross-cultural work.  I focus on strategy to get your resume seen and put in the “yes” pile. That is my expertise. I can coach you how to make significant changes that matter in the search and have a really solid track record for doing so.  For many, this kind of strategy sounds like a mystery. I’m often asked.,”What do you do to move the needle for an organization?  I give those that I coach strategic tips, specific examples and an intentional path to get to the interview.  I tell you what you don’t know that can make a TREMENDOUS difference in your search.

For example:

1.  Use a more traditional format

ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System.  It is the “machine” that typically reads your resume when you submit it on-line.  The ATS is structured to follow a forrmat of most resumes, so when you throw something funky and creative into a traditional format, the system simply doesn’t know what to do with it and it moves on past sections of the document that don’t make sense to it.  This is why I always advise going with a more traditional format of a resume vs a super craftsy version.  The odds of the keywords and keywords strings being picked up are significant!

2.  Only add your address if you are within a few hours drive of the position

You are likely required to input your address into the system as part of the application. I strategically don’t advise that you use “real estate” on your resume to repeat your address UNLESS you are within a few hours drive of the job.  You should absolutely repeat your address on the resume – with the zip code – if you do live close enough to commute.  The ATS is often wired to track this too – which most people don’t realize.  It may rank you higher as a prospective candidate with your zip code in mind!

3.  Passion should be removed from your vocabulary!

What?  Did I read that right?  You sure did!  Having passion is wonderful – but showing passion on a carefully crafted resume is even more important.  Saying your passionate in a cover letter will not help you stand out against the other 99+ prospective candidates as they are all saying they’re passionate too.  There are a million other ways to express passion:

  • I’m committed to the work of educational travel
  • I’m eager to serve in a capacity that puts me in the direct line of students inquiring about programs
  • My own experiences abroad and the supportive administrators and faculty I have encountered on my journey have propelled me to be part of positive change in this world

Aren’t they so much more expressive and palatable than “I’m so passionate about this field!”?

What else don’t I know?

If these tips are helpful, I encourage you to click here to learn more about out next International Education Career Academy (IECA)! We’ll be launching it again in March 2020! Yay!