“If a non-English speaker feels like a ‘donkey out of the water,’ it’s right to change their words to help them get their point across clearly.” — Joel McCrea, as the Foreign Correspondent in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 film.


If you are going for a job abroad and English is your second language, there are aspects of creating an international resume that should be followed to improve your chances of getting an interview.

An international resume isn’t so much a format but rather a strategy to follow for aligning your CV with the local expectations and resume standards. The key to writing for an international audience is understanding more about expectations — what format do they prefer, do they want it translated, do they require references, a professional photo, or a portfolio?

There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for an international resume, so be sure to check out the specifics below, do your research, and don’t be afraid to ask locals for advice.


1- Be clear about your status

More than any other resume, if you’re applying to a foreign country, you need to be clear on your resume about your nationality, visa status, and language abilities. Whereas this isn’t important if you’re applying in your own country, this is critical information for international resumes.


2- Watch your tone

The tone is also very important depending on which country you’re applying in. For instance, American-style resumes are expected to be more self-promoting, whereas, in other countries like Japan, you’re expected to be more modest.


3- Use keywords

Make sure to understand the power of keywords. Many hiring processes and applications now involve the use of an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). An ATS helps employers organize and screen the hundreds of candidates who usually apply. Companies with high volumes of candidates use their ATS to automatically screen candidate resumes by looking for certain keywords and phrases.


4- Keep in mind its purpose

A resume will not get you a job; rather, it is intended to generate enough interest in you to get you invited to an interview.  It is extremely important that you capture the reader’s attention quickly and make the resume interesting enough so that they will want to continue reading it.

A good way to determine how much of your resume a recruiter will read before they decide about you is to fold the first page in half. This is the most important real estate on your resume, and you need to use it to communicate your qualifications as concisely and clearly as possible.


5- Be as specific as possible

What did you contribute, and what were the results? What specifically did you do to promote teamwork?

Employers hire people for one of four reasons:

  • You will make them money.
  • You will save them money.
  • You will save them time.
  • You will fix a problem.


6- Relevant information only

When considering the content to include in your resume, a good guideline to follow is that if the information isn’t relevant to the job you are interested in, then, it should not be in your resume.

Typically American resumes are either 1 to 2 pages, based on the length of your career.  New graduates or people with limited experience can easily use just one page to describe their qualifications. People with more experience may need two or three pages to cover their job history, accomplishments, education, skills, and certifications.


7- International resume rules

If you are not a native English speaker and you are applying for a foreign job, your CV should be written in good English, with the correct terminology for the type of role you are applying for.

If you are submitting your resume in English, find out if the recipient uses British English or American English. There are numerous variations between the two versions. A reader who is unfamiliar with the variations just presumes that the resume contains typos. Most European companies use “British” English, though most United States companies – no matter where they are based in the world – use American English.


8- Get a human being to spellcheck your resume

Incorrectly spelled words or typos are frowned upon by human resource professionals worldwide. The presumption is that if you submit a sloppy, careless resume, you will be a sloppy, careless worker. A human spellchecker is especially valuable for catching words that are spelled properly but are used incorrectly. The same is true for taking the time to double-check the correct title, gender, and spelling of the name of the recipient of your resume. For example, in the United States, “Jan” is a woman’s name though it is a man’s name in Europe.



Related Articles:

📌How to Adapt Your Resume to the Job Description https://www.englishpriority.com/how-to-adapt-your-resume-to-the-job-description/


📌5 Secrets to Making an ATS-Friendly Resume https://www.englishpriority.com/5-secrets-to-making-an-ats-friendly-resume/


📌LinkedIn profile in English https://www.englishpriority.com/linkedin-profile-in-english/


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