When it comes to CV writing for overseas jobs, it’s best to avoid a one size fits all approach. Different industries, professions and countries often require different types of CVs. When taking your career international, you need to consider the varying CV requirements and expectations in terms of structure, content and formatting.
When applying for jobs in foreign countries, your CV will often be your first opportunity to show that you are familiar with the country. One of the easiest ways to do this is to prepare a CV in line with the expectations and standards of that country. This will also show that you fully understand the role in question and that you are ready for instant employment.
While it is important to alter various aspects of your CV for international applications, there are certain parts of your CV that should always remain the same.
-Your name and contact details should always be clearly visible on your CV. As should your qualifications, career history and skills, although depending on the country these will need to be detailed in a different manner.
So which parts of your CV should be different depending on the country you are applying for employment in?
1. You will need to find out if the country you are applying for jobs in differentiates between CVs and resumes. In some countries, CVs and resumes are one and the same. In others, they are completely different documents. For example, CVs written for jobs in Canada should be a lengthy analysis of all aspects of your career, often running over eight pages in length. Resumes written for jobs in Canada should be concise documents that highlight the key aspects of your career, never venturing over two pages in length. The same applies to cv writing for jobs in the US.
2. In certain countries, you will need to include personal details. This includes marital status, nationality, gender, race, religion and health status. This applies mainly to jobs in the Middle East. Recruiters in Europe and North America are unable to make recruitment decisions based on this information, so it is counterproductive to include the information on your CV. Including it could possibly put the recruiter in an uncomfortable position, which might result in them passing on your CV. However, if you’re applying for jobs in Dubai, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia or other locations in the Middle East, ensure to include your personal information.
3. Should you include a photo on your CV? For job applications in the UK, Canada and North America, you do not need to include a photo on your CV. Your appearance should not have any impact on whether or not you succeed in your application. Unless you’re a model, actor or flight attendant, avoid including a photo. However, there are several countries that expect a photo on your CV. These countries include China, Japan, France and Germany. If you do include a photo on your CV, ensure it is a professional head shot.
4. The length of your CV will vary depending on which country you are applying to. For example, UK CVs should generally be two pages in length and US resumes are often expected to be no more than one page long. Russian CVs should be comprehensive documents that detail your entire career, referred to in Russia as ‘job books’. US CVs and Canada CVs – different from resumes – are often over eight pages long.
5. If you’re applying for a job in a country with a different language to your native language, use a CV translation service to ensure your CV makes the strongest possible impact. CV Nation provide CV translation services at reasonable prices.
6. You should also adapt the tone of your CV in line with the expectations of recruiters in the country to which you are applying. UK CVs are often bold and achievement-driven, whereas CVs for Asian countries should be more modest. Russian CVs should be a simple list of your career details; this may seem an almost cold approach in which you are unable to sell yourself, but it is important to adhere to the recruitment standards of the country.
Hopefully this article has proved useful as you write your CV for roles abroad. For more information or help with preparing your international CV, please feel free to get in touch with our professional CV writers at CV Nation.