Do you want to work abroad? Then maybe you were already thinking about how to adjust your resume so it meets your dream country’s criteria. This is important because a resume that would get you a job in the US might easily land you in trash straight away in France. Well, not necessarily, but let’s not try to run before we can walk. Here’s some practical stuff to know before you apply for an international job.
Country-specific vs. Company-specific resume
First of all, you should ask yourself whether this job position requires you to send over a country-specific or a company-specific resume. This means you have to distinguish between an international company/organization in a foreign country and a local company/organization based in that foreign country. Because there’s no point in writing a country-specific resume if the company is American (say you’re applying for a job at IBM in South Korea).
Large multinational corporations usually have their own resume standards that are set according to the country of origin. Much depends on the work environment. If the majority of employees are internationals, or “expats”, it’s more than likely you don’t have to bother with a country-specific resume. On the other hand, if you’re applying for a job in a local company/organization, you will have to adjust your resume to that country’s resume standards.
But it’s not always as easy as that. Research the company and the position carefully before writing a resume because the company itself might be international, but if it’s a local branch that operates separately from the headquarters, you’d better make your resume country-specific. Tricky, we know.
International resume vs. Domestic resume
Second thing you have to be aware of is that regardless of what kind of company it is, resume for a job abroad is always different than a domestic resume. In international resume, you have to put more emphasis on your personality than when you’re applying for a domestic job. Because even more than your knowledge and skills, the recruiter is interested in your adaptability to the international environment.
You’re asking how to do it?
- Put a short career objective or a summary on your resume. Say what you think you’re excellent at and why you’re passionate about your profession.
- If you are a fresh graduate and you don’t have much experience to show, be more specific when describing your education. Tell about interesting projects you were part of, clubs or societies you were a member of or your greatest academic achievements.
- Mention your international experience, for instance, Erasmus, exchange programs, international internships. If you don’t have any of that, emphasize your passion for traveling.
- Focus on traits that would make you a good candidate to work in an international environment.
How to write a country-specific resume
To put it simply, a resume, curriculum vitae or CV is a summary of your education, skills and previous work experience everywhere in the world. However, some countries may have their specifics when it comes to writing style, formatting or info provided in a resume.
We have collected for you some useful info about what resume specifics are there in different countries:
The United States
In the US, most job applicants send resumes, because an American CV is a longer, sometimes around 10 pages long, document only used for the purpose of academic, medical or research jobs.
- A standard US resume is usually one page long.
- Personal information such as age, nationality or marital status on a resume or cover letter is considered unprofessional.
- Unless it’s relevant to the position you’re applying to, you don’t need to list any hobbies or personal interests.
- You shouldn’t bother with putting a photo on your resume. This is to prevent bias and discrimination. Of course, acting or modeling jobs are exceptions.
- In the United States, you should basically take yourself as a product and your resume as your advertisement.
- You should emphasize your qualifications, achievements and relevant experience in a bold and sharp manner. Remember that the competition is tough so your resume is your opportunity to shine. Do use a lot of “power words” that show passion, commitment and action, such as efficient, determined, skilled, achieved, responsible etc.
When applying for a job in Canada, it is very important to have a resume formatted in a Canadian style. Before applying, make sure you are aware of some minor differences between the English-speaking and French-speaking areas in Canada. Here are some universal tips:
- Keep your resume short – two pages are maximum. If you are a fresh graduate without much experience it is recommended to keep it to one page only.
- Contact information (email and a cell phone number) should go at the top of your resume. Also, in Canada it is quite common to include links to your social media accounts on your resume. Your LinkedIn profile should be enough.
- Below the contact info, write a short career objective. Use short and dynamic sentences full of power words and verbs implying action. Emphasize your qualities and value to the company.
- In the work experience section state any kind of work you have done – even internships and volunteer work count.
- Your resume must be well organized. Canadians are perfectionists so make sure your formatting and style are perfect. Use bullet points and headings.
- In the work experience and education sections keep the sentences indefinite,don’t write in first person.
In Europe, you call resume a Curriculum Vitae or a CV. In most European countries a CV is 1-2 pages long. In Europe there are still countries where there it is accepted, even welcome, to include photos on a CV, though it’s slowly becoming outdated.
The United Kingdom
- A British CV is usually one page long only.
- In the UK, it is quite usual to state also your secondary education on your CV even if you have a college degree. This is because A Levels and O Levels tests prove the level of proficiency in specific subjects. Being a foreigner, you can but don’t have to state it.
- Write a CV in full sentences, not just bullet points. For example: “In this job position, I was managing social media and was responsible for creating and managing adverts on Facebook and Twitter.”
- Leave the photo and your date of birth out of your resume.
- It’s common to provide at least two references with the contact details at the end of your CV.
- French CV should be short and concise unless you’ve got years of experience or published plenty of articles/publications.
- It is okay to include a photo on a French resume but it should be a professional headshot.
- It is common to add a short description of your skills and/or short-term career goals at the beginning of your resume.
- In the education section, you should only state the highest diplomas you have obtained. Of course, this is only if the previous education is not particularly relevant in terms of certain skills or knowledge.
- With regards to language skills, it is advised to give details (fluency level).
- Germans call a CV “Lebenslauf” which could be translated as “the course of life”.
- Germans are very strict when it comes to job applications. If the CV isn’t easy to read and navigate, it will most likely be thrown out.
- Put your professional passport-style photograph in the top right corner of your CV.
- A German Lebenslauf is very factual, hence, it should contain only factual data. No embellished sentences or elaborate statements.
- There should be no gaps in your CV. Even if you didn’t work for a period of time, state why and what it was you were doing.
- It is common to enclose copies of supporting documents with your Lebenslauf.
- Generally, finding a job in Germany if you don’t speak German is a tough one. There are exceptions of course, but at least a basic level of German would help you a great deal.
- Typically, you do include a photo on a Japanese resume. It has to be a professional photo and the smarter you look, the better.
- Your resume should be written in Japanese.
- Japanese resume contains very detailed personal information such as gender, date of birth, nationality and address.
- Being a foreigner, it’s best to have some acquaintances in the company you’re applying for. Japanese tend to be quite suspicious when it comes to foreigners.
- Even though Singapore is a former British colony, the term resume is used instead of CV.
- Detailed personal info and contact details should be stated at the beginning of your resume. A photo is a great asset.
- Singaporean resume should be reasonably conservative – keep it neat and factual.
- Put a short career objective before the education and work experience section.
- You should put two references with contact details at the end of your resume.
- An Indian CV never includes a photo and info such as place of birth, race or religion.
- Keep it relevant. Indians do not really care about your hobbies, interests or minor successes.
- In India it’s more common to use a functional format instead of reversed chronological format. You would typically put a summary of your skills and expertise at the beginning. You should also list your most important career achievements.
- It is quite common to put an executive summary at the beginning of your resume where you state all the most relevant info about you in a nutshell.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
- It is quite common to have a really long CV in UAE – typically up to four pages long. Hiring managers are very thorough in scrutinizing the applicants so make sure your CV is detailed.
- There aren’t any anti-discrimination laws in UAE. Hence, including a photo is a must. Employers want to see how you look like and will consider your CV more trustworthy if it includes a photo.
- Write very detailed personal information and contact details. In UAE, recruiters want to know everything!
- Feel free to exaggerate and embellish. We don’t advise you to lie, but a UAE CV should be action-packed and a bit dramatic. Emphasize you take the job very seriously.
- Make sure your CV stands out from the crowd. Everything about United Arab Emirates is fancy and stylish. So should be your CV.
Australian resume is a bit different from a European or American style resume so when applying for a job in this country, make sure you’ll adjust yours to Australian standards. Australian resume is generally very clear and concise, written in a reversed chronological format with bullet points and around two pages long.
- It’s recommended to include a mission statement or your career objective at the beginning. Two or three sentences will do.
- You should not have any gaps in your resume. In case there’s a gap in between your previous employments, state what you were doing in the meantime.
- Less is more. Keep the design simple – no fancy fonts or colors. Regarding the content, avoid revealing too much about yourself.
- Make your resume achievement oriented – don’t just state your work experience but make sure you highlight your special abilities and your notable achievements.
- If you haven’t had much previous experience, focus on your extracurricular activities and things you did beyond your given responsibilities.
- Clearly state in what way the company can benefit from hiring you. Highlight your strong points and value you would bring to the workplace.
- List some of your most interesting hobbies and interests at the end. Try to bring as much of your personality to the resume as it gets.
- Never include an age, race or religion info in your resume. And no photos!