How to write an international student CV (with example)

Updated 9 February 2023

International students often seek job opportunities in their country of study and beyond. In most countries, applicants use a CV to express interest in job openings and introduce themselves to hiring companies. A well-compiled CV can help make the right impression and secure employment in what may otherwise be an unfamiliar and competitive job market. In this article, we show you how to write an international student CV, share essential tips and offer an example to help you create an effective resume that attracts recruiters' attention and increases employment potential.

How to write an international student CV

The more engaging your international student CV is, the greater your chance of getting the job. As an international student, you may be eligible for part-time work while studying or have a mandatory internship as part of your programme. You may also decide to stay and work for a few years after graduating or move to another country. A practical and well-thought-out CV can help convince a recruiter or hiring manager of your suitability for the vacant position. You can use the following steps when compiling your CV:

1. Select a suitable format

Choosing a suitable CV format helps you present relevant information. It also dictates the visual appeal of your CV and which sections to emphasise. The reverse chronological format is the most common. This may be the most suitable format if you have two or three previous jobs with related experience. It highlights your previous work history and accomplishments.

Conversely, a functional or hybrid CV may be more suitable for showing recruiters your skills and competencies. These formats focus more on your skills and education. They're also appropriate if you're looking for a position in any European country, USA, Canada or Australia.

Related: 9 student CV skills to include on your CV (with definition)

2. Write out your contact details

Start your CV by including your contact details. This section helps recruiters to identify you and match your details with other documents you submit with the application. It also ensures recruiters can reach you when the need arises. Double-check the information you provide to be sure it's correct and up to date.

Include your full name, location, telephone number and email address. You can also add a link to a professional social media profile, personal website or digital portfolio. This gives recruiters access to your latest employment achievements and work samples. If you include a link, ensure your information is up to date and appears professional.

Related: How to include personal details on a CV: FAQs and templates

3. Add a brief professional summary

Include a professional summary, personal statement or career objective after your contact information. The professional summary helps you introduce yourself by highlighting your key achievements and skills. To get the reader's attention, keep it concise and relevant with no more than three to five sentences.

As an international student with previous experience in the role you're applying for, you can focus on your competencies and previous results and how they relate to the new position. If you have less experience, you can focus on your skills and career objectives. You can also mention your education qualifications and how they relate to the role.

Related: How to write a profile summary in your CV: a guide

4. Include your educational qualifications

International students are often confused about whether they can include qualifications from their native country. There's no issue if it's from a recognised institution and you can translate it into a qualification that recruiters can easily understand. Include your current course as an expected degree. Important details here include the name of the educational institution, the name of your degree and the year of graduation. If you have several degrees to add to your CV, start with the most recent.

Related: How to write your degree on your CV (with steps and FAQs)

5. Add relevant certifications

Include any relevant certifications on your CV, as they help highlight your skill and expertise. It also shows potential employers your passion for continuous education. You can also add a section for hobbies and interests. If you include this, keep it simple and relevant.

6. Outline your work experience

Most recruiters assess your suitability for the role through your previous work history, experience and achievements. As an international student, you can share relevant experiences from your home country. Even if they're not 100% relevant to the role, they help demonstrate your abilities and work ethic. For example, if you're applying for a position in customer service and have experience as a schoolteacher, you can still emphasise your communication skills, empathy, organisation and computer skills.

The correct place to add the experience section depends on the CV format. If it's the highlight of your CV, then place it after your professional summary. If the emphasis is on your skills and competencies, put it after your academic qualifications. Whatever format you use, include the company's name, location and duration of employment and your key responsibilities and achievements.

Related: How to write work experience on a CV (tips and example)

7. Add relevant skills

Recruiters often pay a great deal of attention to skills and competencies. International students may secure a job with relevant skills and qualifications, even with little experience. Include this section below the professional summary. List your relevant skills in a horizontal row or use a vertical column of bullet points.

The skills to include in your CV depend on the specific role. For most positions, you can include on-the-job technical skills and transferable soft skills. Ensure that you can verify any skills you include, as the recruiter may ask you about them during your interview. Some skills for international students include industry-specific knowledge, time management, effective communication, computer skills, organisation and attention to detail.

Related: 10 best skills to include on a CV

CV template for an international student

Use this template as a guide when writing your CV as an international student:

[First name] [Last name], [Degree or certification if applicable]
[Phone number] | [Email address] | [City]

Professional Summary

[Two to three sentences that highlight your years of experience, relevant skills, education or certifications and achievements as an entry-level professional.]


[Degree] | [Date of graduation]
[Name of School or University]

[Certification Name], [Host organisation] - [Year completed or expiration date]


[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [City]

  • (Strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome or quantified results.

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [City]

  • (Strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome or quantified results.

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]


[Category]: [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill]
[Category]: [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill]

Example of an international student's CV

Here is an example of a CV for an international student with less than three years of experience, using the reverse chronological format:

Charles Mutungo
+44 7543 787890 | | Bristol

Professional Summary

Proficient software administrator with management experience overseeing a multi-dynamic team of experts. Excellent at troubleshooting system problems, improving business processes and creating lasting solutions that enhance productivity. Robust understanding of all phases of the software development lifecycle, process improvement and project management disciplines.


MSc in Information Management Systems | 2023
University of Bristol

BSc in Computer Science | 2019
Amazulu University

Project Management Professional (PMP), Project Management Institute - 2020


System Administrator | July 2019–August 2021
Kalabari IT Solutions | Cape Town

  • increased productivity by 57% by prioritising system upgrades and creating solutions to end-user problems

  • led and mentored system administrators and data analysts on system automation, database management and business-oriented software development

  • developed a comprehensive online training programme for all interns and new hires, which reduced turnover by 23% in four years

  • eliminated manual data entry and information retrieval from the database through improved internal coordination and information tracking

  • ensured compliance with standard procedures, policies and regulations with a 100% assessment score on all regulatory checks


Technical skills: Programming | Database management | API integration | Data manipulation | Machine learning | SQL server | System automation | User experience | Software development lifecycle
Management skills: Time management | Effective communication |Team building | Negotiation | Organisation | Business operations | Retail line management | Change management

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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