The topic of resumes/job searching is an important one to many people these days, especially with the term “Resume builder” being used so readily as a qualifier to many positions/internships. Well it seems many either potential or current TAPIF assistants are weighing the potential benefits of including TAPIF on their resume, or are indeed wondering if it could even be a detriment…
Sorry to say, I can’t say one way or the other, necessarily, but I can offer you some slight guidance and my interpretation of the subject. Don’t stop reading.
Potential Ways of Interpreting TAPIF From the Employer’s Perspective
There is no doubt that this experience can be useful in certain circumstances and for certain future positions. In order to see how it could be useful, we need to have a little role-reversal to think about it from the perspective of the person you are sending the resume to. In order to do this, take a moment to brainstorm what qualities, skills or experience you got (might get) from working as a TA in a foreign country. I have come up with the following list of some examples for me. This list not only represents what I feel I “got out of it”, but also how a potential employer might read into the experience on the resume:
- comfort/experience leading groups/adolescents/children,
- teaching experience
- foreign language/communication ability
- ability to adapt to foreign cultures
- social skills (interacting with/disciplining adolescents)
- cultural sensitivity/intelligence
- ability to figure out foreign bureaucracy/understand new systems
And that’s only the beginning.
How/Whether or Not to Incorporate the Assistantship on the Resume
This aspect really depends on the format of your particular resume, the type of positions you are applying for, and quantity/quality of other relevant experiences. For example, your resume might be formatted with different sections based on theme, skill set, or any other appropriate category. You might even have more than one resume – each for tailored for a particular type of experience or job. You might have it formatted in a way where you simply list titles (sans description) to illustrate particular roles and responsibilities you’ve had multiple times, under an overarching description… Or you might list the position with a short description of your general duties, or even specific accomplishments – if you had any measurable or proven results.
Personally I have several different resumes that I tailor specifically for each unique position I might apply for. For the majority of the types of jobs applied for, the assistantship was not relevant – i.e. I had other positions and experiences that were more relevant, and enough of them to fill up the space. (That last bit refers to “quantity/quality of other relevant experiences.”) However, there have been a few positions (e.g. Study Abroad Assistant, marketing roles in an organization that acts as a French culture hub, etc.) where the assistantship has shown some relevance – not necessarily in terms of skills, but more in terms of personal characteristics and showing an interest in foreign/French language/culture. In these cases, it goes under a heading like “Related Cultural/Language Positions,” where I would also include my time as a TA for French 101 and college language tutoring, and any other things I have done related to travel, language, culture, etc.
If you’re looking for this type of information because you have recently been accepted to do TAPIF (congrats!) and are considering how it will affect your potential career, fear not. There are surely benefits to doing the program, whether or not you know them presently or even while you are doing it. Hey, you might not even enjoy it every day, but you will definitely come out a stronger person in the end – even if just because you’ll be fluent in a foreign language and be more understanding of cultural differences and how to adapt to living on your own in a foreign place. If you’re afraid you won’t enjoy TAPIF, do it anyway – you won’t know for sure until you do it, and you’ll get to go to France for a once in a lifetime experience.
If you’re looking for this information because you’re currently an assistant and are starting the post-TAPIF job search, I wish you the best of luck in your journey to employment. Remember, if you leave off the assistantship from your resume, for whatever reason, do not fear mentioning it in an interview. Also, people may wonder about the ~9 month gap if your CV is chronological – that said, it’s not required to include it if you really believe that it will not benefit you or is not relevant (because you are not in a related field, or you have other more relevant/quality experiences and not enough space).
In any case, bon courage and bon continuation in your journey. Feel free to always comment here or email me if you have any questions or comments about TAPIF or my experiences/commentary.