Global Resume

Resume example

If you have the benefit of speaking a second or even a third language, you should always mention this in the summary at the beginning of your resume because it is an extremely marketable piece of information. Even if the job itself does not require you to use a language other than English, the knowledge you may have of the other language and its associated culture could be quite valuable to the company. 

Be careful what you claim, however. If you claim fluency in Spanish but you really only know enough to get a taxi, you might find yourself in a sticky situation in an interview. The interviewer might be fluent in the language you claim and test out your knowledge of the language during the interview.

Higher salaried individuals with dual language capabilities are required for international business, market development, and global expansion. Make sure you highlight your bilingualism in your resume, even if you are an executive. It might very well be the one thing that tips the scale in your favor.

Adapted from Speaking the Language: Career-resumes

Since Language Skills will be a main focus of your resume, you may want to consider writing a GLOBAL resume, or one that uses format and rhetoric that appeal to international markets.

Here are some main points to keep in mind:

Find out what is appropriate vis-a-vis the corporate culture, the country culture, and the culture of the person making the hiring decision. The challenge will be to incorporate several different cultures into one document.

"Cover letters" are called "letters of interest" in some countries and "motivation letters" in others.

Do not attach photographs to resumes in the United States; the employer will dispose of it. In many other countries, it is standard procedure to attach a photo or have your photo printed on your CV.

Education requirements differ from country to country. In almost every case of "cross-border" job hunting, stating the title of your degree will not be an adequate description. The reader might not have a clear understanding of what you studied or for how many years (i.e., in some countries, a university degree can be obtained in three years and in other countries it takes five years to receive a degree).

The general rule is that your university training becomes "a line item" on your resume (i.e., no further details needed) once you have five or more years of professional experience.

If you have specific training, education, or expertise, use industry-accepted terminology in your description.

The level of computer technology and accessibility to the Internet varies country to country. Even if a company or individual lists an e-mail address, there is no guarantee that they actually receive your e-mail. Send a hard copy of your resume/CV via "snail mail" just to make sure that it is received.

The safest way to ensure that your resume is "culturally correct" is to review as many examples as possible. Ask the employer or recruiter for examples of resumes that they thought were particularly good.

If you are submitting your resume in English, find out if the recipient uses "British" English or "American.”

Most multinational companies will expect you to speak the languages of their country and English, which is widely accepted today as being the universal language of business. Have your resume/CV drafted in both languages and be prepared for your interview to be conducted in both languages. Most companies want to "see" and "hear" actual proof of your language skills.

If you can, ask someone who is a native speaker of the language in which your resume/CV is written to review your document. Resumes/CV's written by non-native language speakers tend to include terms, though correct in the exact translation, are not used on an every day basis. One goal of your resume/CV is to show your familiarity with the culture by using culturally-appropriate language.

Be aware that paper sizes are different dimensions in different countries. The United States standard is 8½ x 11 inches whereas the European A-4 standard is 210 x 297mm. When you are transmitting your resume/CV via e-mail, go to "page setup" on your computer and reformat your document to the recipient's standard. Otherwise, when they print it out on their end, half of your material will be missing! The same is true for sending a fax. If at all possible, purchase stationery that has the same dimensions as the recipient's and mail/fax your resume on that stationery.

Work permit and visa regulations appear very similar country-to-country. In very general terms, most employers who want to hire "foreigners," "aliens," or "expatriates" must be able to certify to the government that they were unable to find locals with the required skill sets. The fastest way to be hired abroad is either to seek a country where there is a shortage of people with your skills (IT backgrounds are pretty "hot" everywhere) or to be an "intra-company" transfer from another country. Be aware that obtaining a work permit can take many months.