Resume expectations differ significantly in various countries and regions around the world, so it’s important to prepare your resume for the specific country where you hope to work. Research the resume customs of your target region, check out resume examples to help you get started, and adjust your resume accordingly to maximize your chances of success in setting off on an international career.
Choose an Appropriate Resume Style and Tone
Different countries often have different expectations in terms of the tone that job seekers should use in a resume. For example, in the United States and other western countries, the tone of resumes is expected to be very self-promotional and brisk. In eastern countries, resumes tend to be more modest in tone. Reading example resumes from the country that you intend to work in can be very helpful for determining the appropriate tone to use in your own resume.
When selecting the style of your resume, keep in mind that some countries use CVs for all types of job applications rather than solely for academic applications like in the United States. CVs are typically more detailed and longer than resumes, which leads to the next point: resume length.
Research the Proper Resume Length
In the United States, Canada, and Australia, resumes should generally be kept to a single page. However, two-page resumes are common in the United Kingdom, and it’s not unusual to see a five-page resume in Germany or Greece.
Again, it’s important to research the resume length expectations specifically for the country where you plan to work. That way you can avoid hurting your chances of getting hired by submitting a resume that is either too short or too long.
Determine How Much Personal Information to Include
One of the factors that contributes to the accepted length of resumes is how much personal information candidates are expected to include. In many European and North American countries, it is not customary to include any personal information beyond your name and contact information.
In fact, it’s illegal for employers to ask for this type of information as it can result in discrimination in the hiring process. If you do include personal details or a photo (which reveals your gender, approximate age, etc.), your application may be automatically discarded so the employer can avoid potential discrimination issues.
However, in many other countries (particularly in eastern Asia), it is considered standard to include many personal details. Depending on the country, you may be expected to include information such as your gender, religious beliefs, age, marital status, health details, and so forth. In some countries, it is also standard to include a headshot on your resume.
Translate Your Resume if Necessary
Depending on the country where you plan to work and the exact situation, you may need to translate your resume into the local language. In some cases, submitting a resume in the local language will lead employers to believe that you speak the language, so this may not always be appropriate. For instance, if you will be teaching English abroad, you would likely want to submit your resume in English.
If you do need to translate your resume, have a fluent or native speaker of the language translate it for you or review it closely.