Moving overseas: How to write an international CV

Thinking of working overseas or moving back to the UK? CV expert Emma Alkirwi has some advice.

Curriculum Vitae (CV) on laptop


Decided to move overseas? Congratulations – you are embarking on an amazing adventure! You could be relocating for a variety of reasons, but one thing is certain: you need to get a job in your new home. And your CV needs to be prepped based on the requirements of the country you are applying in.

For example, if you are moving to the UK, your job application documents will need to meet UK standards.

A lot of the information you need to include will be the same – your employment history, professional profile and qualifications. But there are some clear differences between regions and cultures around the world that require you to adapt some of your details.

Not sure where to start? In this blog, we will break down how to write an International CV.

General tips for international CVs

There is some critical information that you need to feature in your CV if you are relocating to a new country. This includes:

 An international-friendly phone number – allowing prospective employers to contact you.
 Your language skills – how proficient are you in the language of your new home – and do you speak any others? This could be very attractive to employers.
 Your Visa information – if applicable.

You should consider adding a sentence to your Professional Profile about the kind of role you are looking for. Any examples you have of travel experience, volunteer projects and proof that you’ve worked across cultures before might also be useful.

Most CVs throughout the world should focus on your achievements and experience. Employers love to see your accomplishments, so make sure you shout about them! (there are exceptions but keep reading!)

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get specific and talk about how to write an international CV for different countries.

Writing a CV for jobs in the UK

The information you need to include on a UK CV is quite straightforward. Your document should be no longer than two full pages (unless you have a technical role or extensive career) and should cover a Professional Profile, Key Skills, Employment History and Education.

The most important thing to note is that the only personal information you should include is your Name, Contact Details, and Address.

UK employers do not want to see:

 A photo
 Your Date of Birth (DOB)
 Your marital status

This is because there are anti-discrimination regulations in place to prevent bias in the application process as much as possible.

Writing a CV for jobs in Europe

Applying for jobs in Europe is like the UK, in terms of the standard information you need to include.

There are a couple of key differences, though:

 CVs can be longer – in countries like Germany and Greece, your career history can be up to five pages long.
 Certain countries prefer a photo – both German and French job applications may require an image of you in your documents.

Writing a CV for jobs in the US

The term CV is used in the US, but it means something very different to the British document. An American CV is a detailed and extensive academic history, which is not required for most job applications.

Instead, you will typically need to submit a resumé – the equivalent of a British CV. We know, it’s a little confusing!

Your resumé should be:
 Two pages in length maximum – typically, employers prefer to see just one. So, keep your career history succinct!
 Written in American English – there are some key differences from British English, so keep an eye out for potential typos

Don’t include a photo. Photos are not accepted on resumés to prevent accidental bias.

Writing a CV for jobs in the Middle East

When writing a CV for a job in the Middle East, you must include a lot of personal information. There are no anti-discrimination laws, and therefore you must include the following on your CV:

 A Photograph
 Your DOB
 Marital Status
 Gender
 Ethnicity
 Nationality

Certain employers may even want to know your religion.

Some job descriptions can specify a certain age and gender for the role. The rules on this are strict – if you don’t meet the criteria, there is little point in applying.

Although employers in the Middle East have different applicant criteria than those in places like the UK, your Employment History, Education, and Professional Skills are, of course, still important.

Writing for jobs in Japan or China

Applying for jobs in Japan or China is quite different again. Instead of highlighting your achievements, employers would prefer you were modest about them. State them as simple facts, rather than making them the focus of your CV.

Employers in China and Japan will also want you to include:

 A photo with your application documents
 Your interests – employers will be interested in your hobbies too. Add information about any activities you participate in during your non-work time.

We hope this blog has helped you understand how to write an international CV, depending on the country you are moving to.

*Emma Alkirwi is the Managing Director of the CV Guru which is the leading service provider of professionally written CVs, LinkedIn Profiles, cover letters in the UK and they also provide specialist consultancy services. If you need to write an international CV but feel like you can’t do it alone, CV Guru are here to help. Relocating requires a lot of time and effort. They can take one task off your hands by creating bespoke application documents that help you stand out for the right reasons, no matter where you are moving to. Their CV writers are well versed in writing international CVs for those leaving the UK and can also create UK-compliant documents for those moving here for the first time. Get in touch today to find out more.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your Franchise Selection

Click the button below to register your interest with all the franchises in your selection

Request FREE Information Now

Your Franchise Selection

This franchise opportunity has been added to your franchise selection



Click the button below to register your interest with all the franchises in your selection

Request FREE Information Now

You may be interested in these similar franchises