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How to Write a Resume for an International Job

Aparna Iyer
An avid job seeker does not have to limit himself to the geographical boundaries of his country. The world is his to conquer, provided he is equipped with a sartorially impressive resume for the international job demesne.
Writing an effective resume is a task that requires careful thought and contemplation. The purpose of every resume is to ensure that the prospective employer grants an audience to the job seeker. Keeping this in mind, it should be carefully tailored to market the candidate as the right person for the job.
Resumes can be broadly classified as functional or chronological. Depending upon our skills and work experience, we have to choose the appropriate form of presentation. The kind of resume that would be drafted would depend on whether one is seeking employment within the U.S., or outside the country.
Seeking employment in a foreign country can be an interesting experience. While drafting a resume for an international job, one must keep in mind the conventions, terms of business, and the cultural differences. After all, relocating and adjusting to a different culture begins at the juncture of applying for the job.

Resume or CV?

A resume is known as a CV in Australia, France, Germany, Britain, Switzerland, and the UAE. The Japanese refer to a resume as Rirekisho. In Canada, the term 'resume' is commonly used. This basic difference in terminology should be kept in mind while drafting one.


Most countries allow the resume/CV to be drafted in English. Some countries like Germany and France allow the person to choose between English and the native language. Once a person chooses the language, he has to ensure that he drafts the resume and the cover letter in the same language.
In Japan, a person is expected to draft his rirekisho in Japanese. In case the person is not familiar with the language, he can request someone to prepare it, and this should be acknowledged in the document.

Typed or Handwritten?

The Japanese prefer the rirekisho to be handwritten. Most countries prefer a typed resume. Some European countries expect a handwritten cover letter. The purpose of a handwritten resume or a cover letter is to help the recruiter/employer assess the personality and traits of a person with the help of graphology.

Personal Details

In addition to the usual details like: name, phone number, and email, most international resumes, unlike American resumes, require information regarding the date of birth, age, and civil status.

Reverse-Chronological or Functional?

Reverse-chronological order is preferred in case of people having prior work experience. A functional resume would be desirable when the skills and education of a person assume importance. A functional resume is also preferred in case a person does not have the desired continuity in his area of work, or if a person is interested in switching careers.
Most international jobs expect a person to state his work experience in reverse chronological order. For a job in the UAE, the resume has to be prepared in reverse-chronological order, and the job seeker is required to convey prior experience of up to 15 years in the related field.
In Germany, apprenticeship is very important, while in Japan, academic background assumes a great deal of importance. In case the job is in France, a person can draft his CV in both, the functional or the reverse-chronological order.

Length of the Resume

The length varies depending on the country in which a person is seeking employment. In Germany, the CV is expected to be precise, hence, a single page CV is desirable. In Switzerland, a CV drafted in German can be 3 pages long; while a CV drafted in English is, at the most, a couple of pages long.


A German CV requires a signature at the bottom left-hand side corner, with the place and date.
Generally, most countries do not discriminate on the basis of sex, age, and religion, but there are a few exceptions to the rule. One should be careful when addressing the issue of periods of unemployment.
However, it is best to be honest or leave out details that require uncomfortable disclosures. This is especially true in case of Japan, where employers expect absolute honesty. On the whole, hunting for an international job can be a stimulating experience, provided one goes about it the right way.