Executive Resume Strategies for Global Employment Opportunities
By Wendy Enelow, CCM, MRW, JCTC, CPRW
If you’re considering international employment opportunities, then you MUST know the following:
- The words “resume” and “CV” (curriculum vitae) GENERALLY refer to the same thing - a document that highlights your professional and educational experience. The terms are often used interchangeably. When there is a difference, a CV is typically longer with more detail about publications, speaking engagements, affiliations, continuing education, and the like.
- Research each country to identify their standards for how to present your employment experience - in chronological order (from past to present) or reverse-chronological (most recent to past). The latter is used most often in the US; the former in many other countries worldwide. If no specific guidelines are recommended for a particular country, use reverse-chronology.
- Detail your specific educational credentials, licenses, certifications, and background if there is any potential that these items will not be clearly understood in another country. This means including course/program name, university, location, numbers of course hours and specific course highlights.
- Be sure to use industry-specific and job-specific terminology that will be known the world over.
- If you are submitting your resume in English, be sure to find out if the country in which you’re applying uses “American” English or “British” English. There is a significant difference in the spelling of many words. Note that US companies use “American” English in all of their offices worldwide.
- Include all of your foreign language skills as well as foreign experiences (e.g., traveling, working and/or living abroad). If you prepare your resume in a foreign language, be sure to also prepare one in English as many companies will expect you to be able to conduct business in both their native language and in English.
- If your resume is written in a language other than English, be sure to have a native speaker of that language carefully review your resume. This will avoid the potential for major errors and ensure that your document is culturally correct.
- Computer and technology skills are always important, no matter the job, company, or country. Be sure to include yours in detail.
- Know that different countries use different size paper. For example, the paper standard in the US is 8½ x 11 inches; the paper standard in Europe is 210 x 297 mm (known as A-4). Use the “page set up” function in your word processing software to select the correct size paper and automatically reformat your document.
- Work permits and visa regulations vary greatly from country to country and may take months to acquire. Be thorough in investigating requirements for specific countries by contacting each country’s embassy in the US for detailed information. This process will be expedited if (1) the country has a shortage of professionals with your particular skill set or (2) you are transferred to that country by your current employer.
Working abroad offers you a tremendous opportunity to strengthen and expand your professional skills and qualifications, while offering you and your family an outstanding cultural exchange experience. If you decide to pursue an international career track, know that flexibility, patience, and the willing acceptance of differing cultural and business norms will be vital to your success.
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