Applications / International

Writing a CV that will appeal to international employers

Choosing to work abroad after university can open you up to so many exciting opportunities. That said, different countries have different rules and expectations when it comes to applying for jobs so in order to succeed on your job search, you need to spend some time carefully crafting a CV that will appeal to international employers.

Now, this might sound complicated but it doesn’t have to be! By following some simple rules, you can create a killer CV that will help you to quickly land a job abroad. Read on to find how.

Stick with the basics

Though there are some stark differences between CVs across the world, the basics will always remain the same. Make sure your application is no longer than two A4 pages, if you can keep it to just one page that is even better! And be sure to use sub-headings and bullet points where necessary to help present the information more clearly.

Back to basics…

You must also make sure your page has reasonable margins and some white space, huge chunks of text can be overwhelming and confusing, meaning your CV is more likely to end up unread in the rejected pile.

Perfect your profile

Your profile is your chance to introduce yourself and explain why you’re looking for a role abroad. Remember this is one of the first things the recruiter will read so it needs to grab their attention. It’s best to keep this short and snappy at just a few strong sentences long – around 50 to 150 words should suffice.

Sell your transferable skills

Transferable skills are beneficial no matter where in the world you are working. For example, problem-solving, organisation, communication and customer service will always go a long way, no matter what job you’re doing. As such, you need to make sure your CV highlights your transferable skill set.

Demonstrate your impact

One of the best ways to show an employer why you’re the right choice is by demonstrating your past achievements and this is even more important for international roles as it can really help to sell your skills. The best thing to do is give examples of your past achievements – particularly from your time at university – and quantify these were possible.

An example of this could be ‘to raise money for our university’s chosen charity, I volunteered to run a fundraising event, overseeing a team of 10 students and welcoming over 500 guests throughout the day’.

Consider adding a photo

Research the labour market to see if a photo is expected…

In the UK and US, it’s not very common to include a photo on your CV unless requested but in Europe and other destinations, this is more popular. As such, you might want to do a bit of research into local CV etiquette and decide whether you should include a picture or not.

Include any language skills

Language skills always look great on a CV but particularly when you’re applying for an international role. Whether you’re fluent in another language (perhaps you studied a language at university) or you’re currently learning, be sure to add these to your application. If you speak several languages you might even want to have a dedicated ‘languages’ section on your CV.

Include your visa status

Last but not least, if you’ve got your heart set on a particular nation and you know you have to apply for a visa (or perhaps you have already been granted your visa) then it’s a good idea to give details of your visa status on your CV. This helps the employer to understand whether you’re eligible to work or not. This can have a big impact on their decision to hire you in the first place.

So if you’d like to work abroad, it’s important that you put some time and research into creating a great CV with international appeal. You can use our top tips above to help you do this.

Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to publications like Business Insider, The Guardian, and The Independent.

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