A resume is the first impression of you in the eyes of your employer. So it has utmost importance to have a good one. Moreover, if you are looking a job in a foreign country, then it’s ten times more important to make that resume perfect!
Back at home, probably there are some small things that you did not bother to write in your resume- because what’s the point? Now is the time to write those little things to make yourself clear to your future employer.
Generally I do not write my address or city in my resume because most of the time it would be obvious when you look at the resume itself. So that’s what I did when I first start applying jobs in Stockholm. I just included my Swedish phone number and deep down I think it would be alright.
However, one day the idea hit me! Think about it – your name is not a local one, your former companies are abroad and probably the HR person never heard about them. So guess what? – they never call you.
The truth is recruiters have approximately 7 seconds to look for each CV – so they won’t try hard to find out where are you living or do you have the required permits. You should make things easier for them.
So just add your address information below your name- make it obvious. And if you have working permit write it in your cover letter.
They always say how important cover letters are – we all know about it but how often we use it, that’s the question.
At the beginning of my career, I wrote many cover letters that tells how I love “that company” and how perfect I am for “that job”. However, after few years of work experience generally your job titles, companies, task/role details speak for itself and without writing any cover letter you can get an interview.
However, if you are abroad, you need to turn back to cover letters. Especially in Sweden, cover letters are already a big deal – almost every job ad required them. But I also heard that, the system in here is same with the remaining of the world – which means they may require a cover letter but sometimes they also may not open and read it. (I really hate this, if I’m forced to write some letter, I expect at least opening of that attachment!)
The reason is since they have seconds to look your application and decide whether you may be “the one” or not, they first look at your resume and if your resume seems proper then they open the cover letter. So there is a chance that they may never see how perfect you are for this job!
Here is the suggestion. You may add a summary – few sentences paragraph that tells how good and passionate you are in your job / profession. LinkedIn has this Summary part in profiles already, so some of you may be familiar with it.
A summary is not exactly a cover letter. Cover letters are ad-specific; you should include the company and the specific job into the content. Summary, in general, just reflects your experience and passion, and tries to make recruiters keep reading your resume and giving an urge to them to open your cover letter.
Former Employer / Company Summaries
You may work in an international company back at home (like me), but people in your new country may not know about that company at all (like people of Stockholm)! Especially in countries like Sweden, which loves being local and has moderately few global firms, you are gonna have this problem.
There is a simple solution for that- just write 3-4 sentences about each company you worked such as what’s the operation area, how many employees does it have, the latest revenue or sales data. If it is international, you may also add in how many countries it operates. But keep it simple, don’t give too much information. Too broad information would just make your resume complex and boring, they need just the big picture.
When you’re a job seeker abroad, you need to market both yourself and your former employers. But you should be in the spotlight, not the companies!
Those were the 3 tips for job search abroad. In fact, they are too simple and that’s what makes them easy to overlook – so I just wanted to remind them 😉
Overall idea: Keep everything simple but do not skip essential information. Look at your own resume like you do not have any idea about your home country.
And here are few more quick tips:
- While writing your resume, do not exceed 2 pages including the summary part.
- Write your specific tasks/roles in your former jobs but be clear, short and simple. Don’t forget – your resume have utmost 10-15 seconds to be looked at. Try and see if it gives the overall picture just by looking few seconds. If it does, then it is good to go!
- Write languages you know and also include some kind of proof. (Don’t make them think like “is she really know that/how good is she” because it will cost you 2 seconds from more important stuff in other parts.) It can be a global exam score (like TOEFL or GMAT) or you can simply write I attend university course, I did a lot of business with China (if you want to prove you have Chinese or it can go for proving English) etc.
- Be creative, take risks! – When you’re abroad, being a valid candidate may not be enough. You need to be ahead of locals, there should be a reason why they hire you instead of a local employee. So get crazy! Shoot some video-CVs, create a website for your resume- or any other thing! No one knew about you in this new country, so maybe this is the perfect place to try something different.
And if you have more questions about preparing a resume just leave a comment.
Good luck everybody!