International Experience to Boost Student CVs

Go abroad! Build a contact network! Boost your language skills!  These were the messages passed to students at SLU Umeå, during an International Theme Day, 23 February. As part of the one-day meeting entitled ‘From Development Aid to Business’, a panel of professionals in the forest sector gave their views on what one or more international experiences could do to increase the attractiveness of a student’s CV, by which he or she could hope to land internationally-geared work.

Go abroad!

Gunilla Lidén from the Swedish Forest Initiative, which is a government-sponsored project housed by the Swedish Forest Association, encouraged students who to size opportunities to study abroad. ”It may lead to a job in Sweden”, she told an audience of about 50 students, most of whom from the SLU Master of Science in Forestry programme, and a few of their teachers.

 Build a contact network!

 From the Stockholm-based Secretariat for International Forest Issues, Fredrik Ingemarson said that, “You need to start building a contact network. We are also talking about personal development here”. Learning the language of one’s host nation may lead one to gain a deeper understanding of its culture, he added. So how do we get a “foot in the door” in an organisation with international bearings, or flag our interest in working for a certain employer, students asked.

Put yourself forward!

 No question, said Louise Carlsson of the World Wide Fund for Nature, students should contact potential employers even if there were no immediate vacancies. And, Ingemarson added, preferably have your CV ready to go. “Introduce yourself and apply”, Carlsson said. “If you can, turn to a person (in the organisation that you want to work for) who works on issues to do with forests, or with marine issues, if that is what you want to work on”.

 However, said Jonas Rönnberg, in charge of internationalisation issues at the Faculty of Forest Sciences, “Don’t let language become a barrier. Put yourself forward anyway”.

 Text & photo: Anna Strom, edited by Fredrik Ingemarson