Your CV for working abroad

Your CV for working abroad

Are you going to push your boundaries and take the step towards an international career? When working abroad, it is important to know that a CV is not structured the same in every country.

CV working abroad | International CV

The format of the resume differs from country to country. If you are going to work abroad, it is important that your international CV mirrors the requirements of the country concerned. Adapting the CV to international standards is not difficult, although you must pay attention. 

What remains the same with an international CV?

The purpose of the resume is to show the reader immediately why you are the right candidate for the job. At the top of the international CV is basic information that is exactly the same in every country:

  • Name and contact details 
  • Qualifications and skills 
  • Work experience 

If you are applying for an international role, consider the following: 

  • Include your work permit situation in your resume 
  • Have the resume proofread by a native speaker 

Going to work abroad? Here are the differences in writing your resume: 

Is it CV or resume? 

Some countries use resume and CV interchangeably. However, in North America, a CV is a more comprehensive document, used for jobs in academia, medical and scientific research. 

Length of the international cv

The length of the CV depends on the requirements of a country. In the United Kingdom, it is normal for a CV to consist of one to two A4 pages. This also applies to the Netherlands. 

In North America, the resume is often a one-page document while in Greece CV’s are often up to five pages long. 

In Russia, a CV often contains a large amount of information and a detailed description of work experience. 

If your aim is to keep the resume up to two pages, don't be tempted to reduce the font size. Only use content that is relevant to the job and the employer. Make sure there are plenty of blank lines and that the most important points or qualifications stand out clearly. 


When applying for positions in the UK or North America, there is no need to include a photo on the resume. This is because employers are careful not to violate the discrimination law. 

However, in Germany, France and many Asian countries, it is expected that a passport-sized photograph will be added to the CV. If you do add a photo, make sure it is a professional and business-like photograph. 

Personal details 

In Asia in particular, employers consider it normal to include personal details such as religion, health, gender, race, age and marital status in the resume. This is not the case in most countries in Europe and North America. 

Education Information 

No matter where you are applying, one thing is always important in a CV for working abroad; make sure your education is clearly stated and it is clear what diplomas you have obtained. For a job in China, for example, the emphasis is on education and qualifications rather than work experience.  

Each country has its own qualifications and competences. Make sure you use the corresponding terms from the country where you are applying. In some countries it is customary to enclose copies of marksheets and diplomas or certificates. In many countries, the CV is supposed to state whether you have a work visa or not. 

Hobbies and activities  

Hobbies and voluntary work are also an opportunity to show that you are a suitable candidate for a job. Only include hobbies that show an interest in a country, such as making sushi if you are applying for a position in Japan or surfing if you would like to work in Australia.  

Avoid adding irrelevant hobbies in relation to the job or country you are applying for. In some countries, for example Germany, it is the norm not to mention hobbies or volunteer work at all. If you do decide to mention hobbies and volunteering, keep it short. 

Tone of voice 

The tone of voice in which you write your resume varies from country to country. In North America, employers will want to see a clear description of your ambitions, strengths, achievements and how you achieved them. You don't have to hold back here. 

In the UK the CV is more of a marketing tool with which you sell yourself to the employer, as it were. 

A big contrast with the UK and North America is Asia, where it is the norm to be modest and where bragging is not appreciated. 


The format, the layout of the CV, is another important point that varies from country to country. 

For example, you can arrange the CV in chronological and reverse chronological order. Most countries have a clear preference for one of the two. If there is no clear preference, always use the reverse chronological order. 

Also note that paper size varies from country to country. For example, in North America the standard is 5.5 x 11 inches and the European standard for A4 is 210x297 mm. When emailing the CV, make sure you change the format via page layout and save it in the employer's preferred format. 


When applying for a position in a multinational company, it is expected that you speak the language of the country where you are applying, and the language used in the vacancy (the business language). The most common language in organisations is English. It is recommended to write an interanational CV in both languages and to prepare for the job interview in both languages as well. 

Submitting your international resume 

Microsoft Word is a globally used programme. It is therefore recommended to attach your CV for working abroad as a Word document to an e-mail. In some countries, such as Germany, employers like to receive a paper version of the CV. But in the vast majority of cases, an online version is fine. 

block carriere advies logo

Career coach -

block zoek vacatures

Search jobs

We believe the right job can change your life.

block carrièreplan training

Free CV template

We developed a free resume template for you to download.

block volg hays op social

Follow us on social media

Follow Hays on LinkedIn -
Follow Hays on Facebook -
Follow Hays on Instagram -