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CVs All Around The World

The “art” of CV writing is one of the most complicated on earth, at least if one believes the countless people who have been complaining about it all around the world. It is an unusual situation for most people. When writing CV, we sell ourselves, so we use a more aggressive approach than when we usually introduce in order to show all the important aspects of our personality. Everybody needs to find a job and the fact that it only depends on us writing a document is very stressful. Unfortunately, this “art” became more and more difficult, thanks to globalisation: CV for foreign countries.

When applying for a job in our home country we can draw employers’ attention on certain abilities that we already have: We may use our own mother tongue and we share the same cultural references as the recipient of our application. At first this may not seem to be much, but it is. It means that most of the time, logic will tell us what to write and which conventions to stick to. In the worst case, we can ask for help or do some research. Research is still available to us when writing a CV for a job in a country other than one’s homeland, but this is virtually all we have. Even if the language spoken there is our mother tongue it usually follows other conventions and in all cases our cultural references are not the same, which means our social logic becomes more of a hindrance than a help.

EU

With the recent introduction of European guidelines writing a CV for European countries has become a bit easier. Europass provides very good templates and although in certain cases a more individual approach may be acquired they will serve well as inspiration. Personal information, the desired employment, work experience, training and education are a must. Other relevant information includes such “extras” as language or IT skills, references and in some cases hobbies.

UK

The UK is a part of the EU, isn’t it? Yes, it is. However, as in many other instances in which the UK has preserved certain traditions, the UK is an exception to the EU rule for writing CVs, too. The most glaring difference is the absence of a photo. In the UK photos on CVs are forbidden to prevent discrimination. Furthermore, a so called personal profile at the beginning of the CV is imperative. The maximal 5 lines long abstract is here often the only thing human resources read before deciding if you are the right one or not.

USA

The first glaring difference here is that what is called a CV in British English is called a resume in the US. This resume has something similar to the personal profile of the UK: At the beginning you can often find the category “key strengths” which usually consists of an enumeration of said skills.

Other Countries

As already illustrated, the conventions of different countries are almost amusingly different, thus, here some of the “CV delicacies”: In Japan you are supposed to hand in a handwritten version of your CV, as it is believed that your handwriting reveals a lot about you. In China you include the number of children. In Australia CVs are comparatively long, up to 5 pages, in fact. And last but least you are supposed to provide detailed personal information in South Africa, even including you ID number, so that your affirmative action status may be checked.

Without question this article could not provide detailed instructions for every country, but that was not the point. What it gives evidence for, however, it that CV writing always requires a certain amount of research and those for countries other than one’s own even more so. So if you apply for a job, make sure you know all of the conventions you have to abide by and if you do not, look them up!

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