I have recently submitted my PhD thesis and am currently updating my resume.

I known that school education is generally omitted after some years. I attended several international schools* (7) where I learned my non-native languages and got my GCSE and German "Abitur". I feel this "international" part of my resume would be missing if I leave it out completely.

What would be a good way to add some of my background, without looking unprofessional?

EDIT: *in different countries


I think its reasonable to mention in your CV that you're fluent in various languages. For some jobs it might be a large part of what makes you an attractive candidate, in fact.

I wouldn't make a thing about the "international schools" in the CV, but I would instead mention that in the covering letter if you feel it adds to your application. Remember that the person is hiring you wants to know how you're going to solve the problem they're hiring someone to help with - if you can't tie something back to that then the space is probably better used for something more relevant.

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  • If you went to a well known school especially those with academic klout like the Oratory or King Edward VII and any public school in the Uk I would put that down – Pepone Feb 7 '15 at 16:17
  • @Pepone - once you got past a certain range of work experience/age, I certainly would not. I want to know what candidates can do for me, not what they did back when they went to school. As I think has been mentioned elsewhere here I think, if you think that having been to Eton or Harrow is going to help you land a job then I'd still suggest wearing the old school tie to the interview rather than making a big thing of it on the CV. – Rob Moir Feb 7 '15 at 16:19
  • No the schools are definitely not famous:) I was not planing to discuss this in the cover letter as there is no direct link to the job which I'm applying for. Except, maybe to indicate that I have experience living (and communicating) abroad (which is not really apparent from my university studies). – ws6079 Feb 7 '15 at 16:24
  • @ws6079 I would mention it if it was relevant (either directly, or because you wanted to demonstrate something of yourself) and you are early enough in your professional career to not have any other material. Like I say, think of the person doing the hiring - if they can't understand why something is in your application then at best it's a wasted opportunity and at worse something that will mark you down. – Rob Moir Feb 7 '15 at 16:27
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    @ws6079 you haven't heard of the old boy/girl network effect then - in the Uk its worth a lot in terms of job search – Pepone Feb 7 '15 at 16:27

I don't think that the problem - wanting to show that you are an international person of mystery - is solved by listing the high schools you attended.

this isn't because the high schools don't prove it, it's because

  1. most recruiters will skim this section, looking only at your last school
  2. even if they read them, how evident is it that you are in different countries?
  3. even if that is evident, how does that prove you know the languages you know?
  4. also, you're making them jump from the idea "oh ws6079 went to 7 international schools" to the idea "oh man, ws6079 is totally able to handle culturally diverse scenarios how awesome!!!1"

As noted by @RobM, you're more able to make the statements you want to make in the cover letter you write. There you can mention the schools, citing them as proof to the statements.

If you do want to list "International Exposure" in your CV - and it isn't a bad idea - then do so under a heading, maybe one titled "International Exposure". There you can list the time you spent in various countries, and the languages you picked up.

If I'm misreading the question, and you were in one country the whole time, I don't think that the schools themselves really provide strong evidence of "international exposure", so I would probably skip the CV entry (but the cover letter story is fine). That is just my thought though. I never went to an international school.

@Pepone's thoughts on the popularity of the school do stand - for some schools. I would be more interested in hiring a member of my old high school, for example, so seeing it on the CV would be useful. You'll typically know if this is the case with your high school.

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    Your comments are spot on - thanks. Unfortunately I can't upvote you yet. I just might use "International man of mistery" in the future... – ws6079 Feb 7 '15 at 19:47

I went to secondary school abroad, and have a line that says as such. However, I don't have more than that - instead, I highlight my language skills in other areas, like in the summary or under skills. No employer has ever asked for more details about my time at school, but they have been interested in the languages, even in irrelevant roles.

Extract the individual skills from your time in international schools instead and list those in the relevant sections, rather than education. Employers won't care about your school if you have a PhD, but they might care about language skills or familiarisation with other cultures. For other things like school achievements, these should have been superceded by now - use something more recent.

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