America has always been known as the land of opportunity. Immigration and employment in the US is always a heavy topic during our presidential cycles. The US GDP is $18 trillion. It’s no surprise that our global neighbors look to migrate for opportunity. As US citizens, we do not have that to worry about. We are right here in the center of the economic Mecca. I know, it does not always feel that way, but tell that to the resident of Greece, who are experiencing a 25% unemployment rate countrywide.
But as US citizens, we not only have unfettered access to the largest economy on the planet, we also can access employment opportunities in foreign countries. And there are many benefits to doing so. First, you get to develop a global network of contacts. Secondly, international posts provide greater opportunities for promotion and advancement. And of course, you are exposed to other languages, which further improves your marketability.
When deciding to apply for positions abroad, you will want to account for cultural differences and interacting with another country’s people and entities. But you have to get the job first. So your resume must do the same. Why should you go through the trouble? Well, think about it for a minute. Let’s be honest. As a US citizen, we are sometimes erroneously already considered by the reader of the resume (or Curriculum Vitae, as it is called in most other countries) as obnoxious and self centered. You do not want to confirm this by asking someone for a job and not even considering their cultural differences.
Below are a few resume writing tips to consider before you begin preparing for this quest.
Resume Writing Tips #1: Foreign Employer, or U.S. Employer with Foreign Offices?
Just because a position is located in a foreign country does not mean that it is with a foreign entity. Before making changes to your resume, you will first launch to verify, if you can, exactly who will be reading and processing the resume. More than likely, if the post is in a foreign country but with a US concern, then a US compliant resume will work just fine. But if you are applying for a job with a foreign entity, then there are some resume changes that you will need to make to give yourself the best chance.
Resume Writing Tips #2: Ensure MS Word Document is Configured to Spell-check for Their Language
What you will find if you travel the world is that English, in one form or another, is pretty much the language of commerce. The chances are, if you are applying for a position abroad, the recipients will speak English. However, the likelihood is that it is not the US version of English. Did you know that Microsoft Word has the ability to spell check your resume in a number of English variations? There is even a Zimbabwe version of English MS Word can check. Be sure to change your resume settings accordingly.
Resume Writing Tips #3: Adhere to That Country’s Resume Writing “Guidelines”
Now here is the biggie. When it comes to resume writing for employment in other countries, you may be looking at different resume writing guidelines. For example, while in the US, we never put photographs on our resumes/CVs, but in many European countries this is standard. US resume writing standards also prevent us from including personal information on our resumes such as marital status, children, and religious preferences. But there are some countries where this information is standard for inclusion. Additionally, here in the US, we normally attempt to keep documents to two pages or less. There are exceptions to this guideline, such as scientific and academic CVs and federal resumes, but otherwise, 2 pages is the limit. But there are countries where extensive CVs are expected. They do not want to be truncated version of your background, they are looking for inexpensive accounting of your professional, academic and training history.
So, before you began to spec out of the changes to your resume, conduct a thorough research of that country’s resume writing guidelines before you start.