June 4, 2018
Just how important is having a country-specific resume to your chances of getting employed? Can the resume that got you a job in the UK be used for the Australian job market? Do you really have to design a new resume depending on the country?
The answer is simple. Just as every resume and cover letter you write needs to be targeted and focused toward the company you are applying for, the same concept is applied toward the job market you are applying for. Different countries expect and require certain information to be present on resumes, and therefore it is critical that your new resume meets the unique requirements of that country.
Just because one country requires including personal details such as marital status or date of birth does not mean this standard applies to others. Not only can this be seen as inappropriate, it can also possible be illegal, and your resume will be deleted before it has even been read!
Recently in Europe, the rules for resume writing changed substantially. As part of the European Union (EU), all members follow the same resume criteria and format. The Europass CV was created to “provide citizens with the opportunity to present in clear and comprehensive way information on their qualifications and competences”.
This is a fantastic idea for people applying for roles in Europe as there is a standard template to complete that avoids issues such as cultural differences and different requirements between the countries.
While this may be good for a French national applying for a role in Belgium, the rules change when applying to countries such as the USA, Australia or Asia.
It is typical to see information such as nationality, date of birth and gender on European and Asian resumes.
In South Africa it is even required to have even further personal information such as ID number and ethnicity (the latter to clarify one’s BEE or affirmative action status).
In Australia and the US, however, stricter privacy laws make this personal information unnecessary. In the US, an employer has no legal right to know your age. (They do have a right, however, to ask your age only if local, state, or federal law requires that employees be over a certain age.)
In today’s society the terms “CV” and “resume” are often used interchangeably. Take note, however, if you are applying for a job in the USA, as there are major differences between a “resume” and a “CV”.
An American Curriculum Vitae (CV) is NOT the same as a CV from countries around the world. What countries outside of the USA know as a “Curriculum Vitae” (or “CV”) is called also called a “resume” in the US. A “Curriculum Vitae” in America is not a resume – it is a longer document and is usually written only by a researcher, educator, or academic.
Thinking of including a picture?
When it comes to putting a picture on your resume, different countries have different approaches. In the UK you would never attach a photo, whereas in Germany or France you would. Many Asian countries also include pictures with their applications. In the US and Australia it is not recommended or encouraged.
My personal opinion is to leave your picture off your resume. The most important aspect of your resume is the content and it’s vital to ensure that the reader of your resume is more interested in your skills than what you look like.
With all the differences between resumes around the world, it’s important that you do your research into the country before submitting your resume. Professional resume writers online can often help you with the “dos” and “do nots” of resume writing in a certain country, and he or she can also provide assistance with resume format, structure and presentation.
With any resume (no matter where you are applying in the world), focus your content on achievements and value-added duties you have performed. At the end of the day, the employer wants to know how you can add value and what skills, experience and expertise you can bring to the business.
And finally, never embellish or fabricate achievements or qualifications. These will often be exposed sooner or later and can result in dismissal, expulsion or even criminal prosecution in those countries with punitive legal codes.