Conversations on Studying Abroad

5 Tips for Graduating Seniors Applying For Jobs While Studying Abroad

Nov 8, 2019 9:07:00 AM / by Makenna Sturgeon

Applying to post-grad jobs can be quite stressful, especially if you're overseas. Check out Makenna's helpful advice for job hunting while studying abroad as a second semester senior.

I am spending my last college semester in London. When I chose to study abroad as a “one last hurrah,” I hadn’t wrapped my head around what graduation meant. Now, I am sitting in a library wondering what I am going to do in a few months. 

My friends and I have had countless conversations about how nerve racking graduation is because it’s exciting, but so uncertain. While I’ve loved my experience studying abroad, I’ve found that it can be a little difficult to balance with applying for jobs and keeping myself from stressing out about what comes next. So, here are a few tips for those of you applying to jobs while abroad: 

1. Don’t stress too much.

Thinking about jobs can be really stressful, especially when you’re not home for interviews and in your usual environment. I’ve found that promising myself an hour of looking and then getting off the computer keeps me from stressing too much about it because I give the topic attention without letting it fester.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2019_London_MakennaSturgeon_ApplyingforJobs_photo1When I get stressed out, I go and take a walk. Maybe that’s to find coffee, or just to walk and take my mind off the hunt.

2. Use your free time to perfect your resume.

Everyone says “another line on the resume,” but I never realized how important a well-designed resume really is. A lot of employers look for keywords. So, if you don’t think you’ve spent enough time on the job hunt, try working on your resume because it’s still giving valuable effort to your job hunt while being a  “scenery” shift.

3. Remember that interviews don’t always happen.

Early in the semester, it felt like I was applying too soon. I found that I received interest and interview requests, but a lot of the employers that I was being contacted by couldn’t offer interviews over the phone or computer. While it’s nice to see that they are interested, turning down in-person interviews due to the circumstances can be a bit discouraging when applying for jobs. So, it’s important to remind yourself that an interview isn’t always going to happen and to be encouraged by the interest because it means you will be a viable candidate at some point. 

4. Be open to looking when you get home.

With the postponed interviews comes the idea of looking when you get home. There is so much pressure to have a job lined up immediately after graduation, which is a fair pressure that would be nice to ease. However, it’s important to recognize that not everyone has a position lined up and it’s okay to look after the semester is over. I still advocate for searching while abroad, but it’s important to remember not to be too hard on yourself because, well, being abroad is a great experience that should be cherished!

5. Reward yourself.

I tell myself that it’s okay to go spend money on coffee if I’m going to sit somewhere fun and work. Walking the line between feeling guilty for not exploring and sitting down to work can be a difficult one, so I try to straddle it by finding fun new spaces in the city to work from. Whether that means trying a coffee shop a friend recommended or going to a different library, I know that a new environment will serve as a reward for getting a few applications sent in.

capastudyabroad_fall2019_london_makennasturgeon_applyingforjobs_photo2-jpgOne of my favorite coffee shops to treat myself with is Artisan Coffee in Chiswick because it has fast wifi and delicious oat milk to add to my coffee

The most important reminder I give myself while applying for jobs during my time abroad is that I’m not alone. This is a totally normal pressure for soon-to-be graduates to feel. My situation might be a little unique because I’m not home to go to the interviews that I’m invited to, but it’s a circumstance that I’m so grateful for because I can explore opportunities that are both abroad and in the States while I’m learning more about myself.

Thanks, Makenna!

Makenna Sturgeon


Makenna Sturgeon is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2019, sharing her story in frequent posts on CAPA World. A Journalism major at University of Colorado Boulder, she is studying abroad in London this semester.

Makenna's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.

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Topics: London, England, International Education