Getting Credit for International Experience

I am a 20 year old female who graduated with a high school diploma. After high school, I was planning to further my education, but I had a family emergency 6 days after graduation and I had to leave the country. Two years later, I’m back in the U.S., but I feel like there have been so many changes in the job market. I’m having a really hard time getting hired because they need people with job experience. I had experience in Mexico, but I can’t prove that because they don’t use my social security number there. Any advice? – A

Dear Anita,
In India, you study for 12 years in school and then get a Secondary School Certificate. Then, you complete 3 years in college and becomes a Graduate. I completed my degree in Commerce, which is called a Bachelor of Commerce degree (B.Com.) from the University of Mumbai, India. I also completed my graduation in Law, which is called Bachelor of Law (LL.B.) from K.C. Law College, India. After that, I was eligible to practice law in Mumbai. My wife is a graduate in Arts, from Gujarat University, India. We have now come to the U.S. as immigrants. Please guide us so that we may proceed in the right direction. – B


Dear, Foreign Correspondents,

A, The good news is that you’re young, and many employers won’t expect to see a lot of experience on your application or résumé. Students often take a gap year (or two) before entering college.

It can seem like a vicious cycle – you need experience to get experience! Check out my post about the subject, How to Get Hired if You Don’t Have Experience.

I would certainly include your job experience in Mexico on any applications. Provide an email address in addition to the international phone number for employers to call for a reference. Read Finding Job References for more tips.

B, You certainly want to leverage your past education and experience here in the United States. I did a little research and ran across this article from eLearners on Transferring Credit from Foreign University to U.S. Schools.

In today’s global marketplace, experience with a different culture or fluency in a foreign language can make you more marketable to employers. Tout your multicultural assets! Search job boards for companies who will appreciate you by using keywords such as “international,” “global” or your particular country or first language to find openings.

Readers: I certainly am not an expert in this area, so to my readers who have immigrated, feel free to jump in with your advice!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Moonstone Mary
    Oct 20, 2015 @ 15:42:16

    Wouldn’t it make sense in this case to get a glowing letter of recommendation from your Mexican employer (if there’s not a language barrier there)?

    Also, here in Tucson anyone that is bilingual can find a job pretty easily.

    Best of luck. I’m a day away from a job (getting an offer tomorrow) and it seems like I’m getting many emails from places interested in me. So the market is better than it’s been in all of 2015.

    It may also be good to volunteer or take an entry level job just to build up experience in the US. 20 is still young yet so don’t sweat it. It will happen for you. I’m 59 now by the way.


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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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