The same way greeting customs in Korea have nothing to do with those in, for example, France, CV models are not the same for every country, either. In this article we are going to provide you with some clues for tailoring your résumé to international labour market requirements.

The opportunity to give your career a boost through an international job position can occur at any time. You may find an attractive offer in a foreign-based firm, or it might be your current company the one with branch offices and projects developed outside your home country. But before applying as the most suitable candidate, ask yourself: “Is my CV adapted to the country I intend to work in?”.

It’s essential you're aware of the labour market situation and the CV models

This question goes way beyond the language it should be written in. It’s essential that you are aware of the labour market situation and the CV models HR professionals are used to in each country. By doing this and adapting the layout to their reality, you can earn many points to be considered as the most suitable candidate for the position. If you don´t know where to begin with, keep the following tips in mind:

Its length: learn the difficult art of summarizing

The most widespread notion in Spain regarding CVs is that we should concentrate all the details in one or two pages at most. However, in countries such as Russia or Greece, it´s fairly common that candidates provide extensive information about themselves across documents of up to five pages. If you’re adapting your CV for a position in the USA, the preference is that you summarize everything you consider relevant in just one page. In fact, this type of document received by HR departments is rarely called CV but Résumé, that is, a summary presenting the most significant accomplishments regarding the working life, studies or interests of the candidate.

The tone: know what to highlight on each occasion

Regarding the tone of the document, there is no such thing as a winning formula, but some trends and subtleties marking the standard for each country can be detected. In the USA, for instance, companies may prefer to read about the strengths and accomplishments of candidates, successful projects they have been involved in during their working life and the way they achieved them. In the UK, highlighting potential, talent and professional strengths might be the most important. However, in cultures such as the Chinese, self-promotion is less adequate and the tone of your CV should be a little more humble and aseptic.

Personal data: be aware of what´s the most relevant

Obviously, the section about personal data should contain the same information regardless the destination country. But it might be preferable to avoid some details, depending on the destination of your document. In fact, in countries such as the USA, information about your age or marital status may be considered as sensitive and recruiters prefer not to learn about those when reading potential candidates´ CVs.

Academic background: beyond degree designation

Academic degrees do not always share a similar nomenclature in every country and a translation effort is sometimes not enough. Hence, it may be commendable when preparing an international CV to explain briefly what is your degree about and, if you’re familiar with it, point out the exact equivalent in the country you’re applying the job position for. Besides, in some places like China grades are taken into account, so it might be a point in your favour if you highlight them.

Personal interests: know the culture of the target country

We show our most down-to-earth side in the section dedicated to our hobbies, since it speaks volumes about us and shouldn´t be disregarded. If we have any interest related to the culture of the target country, it wouldn´t hurt to mention it.

Just one more thing: apart from the language of the country in question, always have your CV ready in English. And if despite these tips you are still in doubt, in this page you can find dedicated CV models for different countries as an example.

Sources: Hays, Europass

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