To CV or not to CV: Writing Your Resume for an International Market


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If you're applying, or planning to apply, to positions overseas, it can be a challenge to communicate your value in a quickly evolving international marketplace. How do you know what is important to the global and/or local audience, and how do you highlight those elements in your documents?

Join us for this webinar, hosted by Kim Mohiuddin, full of strategies to propel your successful overseas job search. Kim is one of Ivy Exec's Senior Résumé Writers, specializes in international resumes and has been nominated for a TORI (Toast of the Résumé Industry) Award in the international category. Kim is a Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW), and Certified Job Search Strategist (CJSS). She's had her work included in multiple publications, most recently NBC and Time Out NY.

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  • After writing more than hundreds of international resumes, I’ve learned that when in Rome, it’s fine to do as the Romans. But do it with a bit of your own style! Don’t be afraid to rewrap that toga!
  • Are you targeting a specific country or region? If you have multiple, diverse talents, consider creating customized documents for each situation. What works in Tokyo may not work in Abu Dhabi. If you want to work at a global company with offices in a particular region, it’s usually preferable to write with the company’s country of origin in mind. That means US English if you want to work for HP in Paris, British English if you want to work for Barclays in Shanghai. Define your target role and do some research. The role may have different names in different countries and companies. The terms associated with your work may vary from region-to-region. Use an international job board such as or the others in your handout to put together a list of common terms. You’ll want to include those in your resume to show you “speak their language” in every sense.
  • Two things will add value to your candidacy over others: your ability to navigate the country and company culture, and your capacity for introducing new approaches and skill sets. Before you write your resume, define the ways in which you meet both of those needs.
  • As with any “product” in the market place, you need a compelling message if you’re to capture the interest of the consumer—in this case, the hiring manager. Define your message. Make it clear by leading with your target position and a tag line / positioning statement. [Open Word documents to show a few anonymized examples].
  • Regardless of where your resume will be seen, be sure to create it using Microsoft Word. Use your target country (not any other country the company may be headquartered in) to determine paper size. You want it to print correctly on the in-country printers! For the most part, you’ll want to list your work history in reverse chronological order. If you have employment
  • You can dress like this at Carnival time in Rio, but tone it down on that resume you’re sending to Brazil. Even when we’re trying not to be, Americans are a bit more flamboyant than European, Asian, Middle Eastern, and most Latin American Cultures when it comes to describing themselves. I once wrote a CV in what I considered very conservative language for a humanitarian administrator, stating he had “helped” the UN and World Bank advance their missions. He knew both organizations well and informed me they would smile to think he could have helped them. When in doubt, have someone familiar with the local business culture double-check what you’ve done. But don’t let them take ALL the “American” out. A little extra flair may be exactly why they are considering an expat.
  • At senior level, much more likely to find job through contacts or recruiters. Online postings typically have the lowest response rate for candidates. Spend much more of your time on the other methods.
  • A colleague told me of her client in Ireland who was very happy with her work, but begged her to take the word “resume” off his cover letter. He said his colleagues were teasing him for “trying to be American.”[Depending how we’re doing on time and questions, I can show a few anonymized resume samples for different countries and tell the story. ]
  • To CV or not to CV: Writing Your Resume for an International Market

    1. 1. To CV or Not to CV:Writing Your Resume for an International MarketKim Mohiuddin, NCRW, CJSS∙ Senior Resume Writer ∙ Ivy Exec Want more info? Go to or email us at 1
    2. 2. About Kim• Senior Resume Writer at Ivy Exec• Former Certification Chair of The National Resume Writers’ Association• Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW)• Job Search Strategist (CJSS)• TORI (Toast of the Resume Writing Industry) Nominee for Best International Resume. Want more info? Go to or email us at 2
    3. 3. Media• Published in Barron’s Resumes That Pop! and JIST’s Gallery of Best Resumes.• Featured in numerous media outlets like Time Out New York, NBC-Chicago, Yahoo! News, and others. Want more info? Go to or email us at 3
    4. 4. Poll #1: Subject-Matter ExpertiseHow many years have you been working in your field?a) 15+b) 10-15c) 5-10d) < 5 Want more info? Go to or email us at 4
    5. 5. Poll #2: International Work ExperienceHave you worked internationally?a) Extensivelyb) Somec) None Want more info? Go to or email us at 5
    6. 6. Poll #3: Global OutlookHave you lived and/or traveled internationally?a) Extensivelyb) Somec) None Want more info? Go to or email us at 6
    7. 7. A Common LanguageWe have really everything in common withAmerica nowadays except, of course, language.- Oscar Wilde Want more info? Go to or email us at 7
    8. 8. Begin with the End in Mind: Define Your Target • Country / Region • Company: Global or Local • Role • Key Words Want more info? Go to or email us at 8
    9. 9. Your Unique Value• How are you in alignment with the country and company culture?• How are you different? Want more info? Go to or email us at 9
    10. 10. Your Overreaching Message Target + Unique Value = MessageWant more info? Go to or email us at 10
    11. 11. Format• Microsoft Word• Letter or A4• Letterhead• Marketing Title• Brief Summary Section• Work History in reverse chronological order (usually)• Personal Information? Want more info? Go to or email us at 11
    12. 12. Don’t “Toot Your Own Horn”Don’t use American phrases or idioms Want more info? Go to or email us at 12
    13. 13. Don’t Toot Your Own Horn• Use facts, not hyperbole, to describe your accomplishments• How much money did you make or save and how was it done? Want more info? Go to or email us at 13
    14. 14. A Rose by Any Other Name…British, American, Canadian, and Australian English aredifferent from each other! Use Word’s language settings todo the appropriate spell check. Examples of American vs.British:• Specialty = Speciality• While = Whilst• Learned = Learnt• Spelled = Spelt Want more info? Go to or email us at 14
    15. 15. To Translate or Not to TranslateThere is usually no need to translate if you are applyingto a global company.If you are applying to a local company, do considerhaving your document translated. You can use guru.comor to find affordable, rated providers aroundthe world. Want more info? Go to or email us at 15
    16. 16. So, Should I CV or Not? Whether you write a “CV” (curriculum vitae) or a“resume” will depend on what it’s called in the country where you are applying. CV in this context is interchangeable with the word resume. It is not the same as the “CV” we use in America to describe exhaustive career histories of academics and doctors. Want more info? Go to or email us at 16
    17. 17. The Ivy Exec Senior Resume Writers Kim Mohiuddin Charlotte Weeks has worked with clients on is an internationally- every inhabited continent. A recognized resume writer TORI (Toast of the Resume and career expert who Industry) Award nominee in specializes in providingthe international category, Kim senior level professionals has been featured in Yahoo including C-SuiteNews, NBC Chicago and Time executives, high-ROI Out NY. She is the former resumes. Charlotte is a certification chair of the contributor for The Wall National Resume Writers’ Street Journal, NBC, FOX, Association and certified job CNN, Yahoo! and she is search strategist whose the outgoing President ofresumes have been highlighted the National Resume in multiple publications. Writers Association. Want more info? Go to or email us at 17
    18. 18. The Ivy Exec Elite Resume PackageThe Elite Package is a comprehensive evaluation of your career andaccomplishments which includes gaining a complete understanding of yourcareer goals and strategy.1. Scheduled interview with your certified senior resume writer.2. Gain valuable insight on how to articulate your skills and accomplishments when interviewing.3. Cover letter and on-line profile update included.• Priced at $995. To set up a 15 minute appointment to inquire about next steps, please go to Want more info? Go to or email us at 18
    19. 19. Questions?Want more info? Go to or email us at 19
    20. 20. Thank you! To set up a 15 minute appointment to discuss your career needs please go to www.ivyexec.clickbook.netWant more info? Go to or email us at 20