How to write a CV when applying for a job abroad
When searching for a job abroad, preparing your application can be challenging. To apply for a position in a foreign or international company, you must write a compelling CV. However, there are no ‘universal’ CVs that can be sent to all international recruitment agencies but several versions that can be adapted to each country’s recruitment process.
Customise your CV depending on language, country, targeted job and company
Your covering letter or CV must be written in the language of the targeted country. The language and style must also be perfect, with no spelling or grammatical errors. Your application may indeed be overlooked if your CV is not legible.
Some countries also have specific codes and requirements regarding CVs, so it is important to be aware of these specificities before writing it.
When you apply for a job in a European company, the Europass CV can be a good alternative. Available on the Europass website, this CV is translated into 26 languages and is suitable for all European companies.
Specify your language skills and qualifications
People wishing to work abroad must clearly and objectively state their level in the language of the targeted country but must also mention any other languages they speak and how fluent they are. Mentioning any academic language diplomas (IELTS, TOEFL, TOEIC, etc.) is also a good way of showing your actual level in a given language as it is more relevant than terms such as “fluent” for example. These diplomas can also be attached to the CV.
In general, university degrees must retain their original titles. Nevertheless, you may want to specify the equivalent level in English-speaking countries or in the targeted country, so recruiters can better assess your level.
Add a photo to your CV
The practice of attaching a photograph to a CV differs from country to country. In France or Germany, photographs are highly appreciated. But in certain English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom or the United States, attaching a photo to your CV may be badly perceived as it could lead to discrimination based on your appearance.
Number of pages in your CV
In France, a CV should ideally be written on one single page, but an international CV may require more information. Detailed professional experience, as well as tasks and projects carried out, allow recruiters to have a better idea of the candidate’s skillset.
Experience of the country
It is always a good idea to explain your reasons and motivation in applying to the targeted country when writing a CV or covering letter. You can for example mention any visits you made and experiences you had in that particular country, whether professional or personal.