Jobs Abroad: International Resume Writing Tips

International resumes require some adaption of style, and in some cases language proficiency. Because the resume is your professional history, it has to be presented well, and in accordance with the styles required in different countries. In some instances you'll also need to adapt to the application process, as it affects your resume.

International resume issues

Although the information provided in international resumes is fundamentally similar, format and style varies. Depending on where and with whom you're applying, you will need to rework your resume. These are some tips for getting it right, and what not to do:

Check with the overseas employer: Because you're dealing with employers with established methods and requirements, it's advisable to check first about specific requirements. In many cases the adjustments will be comparatively minor, but you can create problems for yourself by leaving out required information. You can be screened out without even knowing why.

Templates: There are a lot of resume templates online, and many of them are out of date. Some of them are actually quite inappropriate for some parts of the world. Don't guess. Check out a range of examples so you're sure you're at least in the right ballpark.

European Union resumes and applications: EU nations have common requirements for information on applications. These requirements include a range of information which relates to the resume, like recognized language proficiency levels, class of drivers license, etc. The information like where you studied your language and where you received an industrial license should also be clear on your resume. The application can be used as a cross check on what you're telling the employer in your resume.

Languages: Language issues are extremely important. There's a large range of situations you need to consider, depending on where the job is. You must have a good working professional level of fluency. Low quality language usage on a resume can instantly destroy a job application. The only reliable way to produce a good international resume in another language is to develop your own skills. Do not rely on an electronic translation or use a translator. Any deficiency in your own abilities will show immediately at an interview.

Multi lingual nations: In some bilingual or multilingual countries, using the right language is also vital:

  • In Belgium, it's a faux pas to use French or Dutch, depending on the language of the employer.

  • In Canada, Quebec requires French as the primary language of the province.

  • In Switzerland, you can use French, German or Italian, but it's far more appropriate to target the preferred language of the employer.

  • In China, the written language is universal, but the official language is Putonghua, (Mandarin), and your interview will be conducted in that language.

  • In India, most of the country speaks English, but the working language is likely to be Hindi, Urdu, or another common local language.
Education accreditation: Vitally important for professionals, you will need to provide documented proof of accreditation of your qualifications. Your resume should reflect your qualifications adequately so the employer can cross check.