Preparing Curricula Vitae for the International Market

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					RESUME MAVEN                                                                                       1. 800.973.1177

                            Preparing Curricula Vitae for the International Market
                            [By Mary Waldron]
                            These days, with our global economy expanding at such a rapid rate, many young American law school graduates and
                            professionals are broadening their horizons and applying to foreign firms, companies, and organizations. When applying
                            for a job with a foreign employer, the application process has a few considerable differences that must be addressed, as
                            our American practice of sending a cover letter and resume will not cut it. The curriculum vitae, or CV, is very similar to
                            the American resume, but it is more in-depth and personal. Although most employers expect to see similar elements and
                            themes in CV, each country and company differs in terms of exact requirements, as there is no standard style established.
                            Many times, one can find out what is required by referring to a company’s website or calling to find out about specifications.
                            International employers are very concerned with their applicants’ abilities to adapt to their countries’ languages and ways of
                            life; therefore, demonstrating a culturally diverse background and openness to new experiences is essential.

One of the most apparent differences               or American English. This also applies to            went to kindergarten and elementary school.
between resumes and CV has to do with the          foreign languages such as Spanish, French,           The same expectations for thoroughness also
exposure of personal information. In the           and so on. An American applicant must be             apply to descriptions of employment history.
U.S., we are told to omit any information that     fluent and prepared to speak and read in             All jobs held should be listed.
could be considered personal from cover            the native language of his or her potential
letters and resumes; however, personal             employer from the first phone conversation           Unlike U.S. resume and some British CV
information is the foremost component of the       or personal interview; many employers like           formats, many CV formats will require you to
CV. At the top of your CV, below your name,        to see and hear your skills early on in the          list your education and employment history
you are to list your birthday (including your      hiring process.                                      in chronological order from earliest to
year of birth), place of birth, marital status,                                                         most recent, rather than from most recent
number of children, and health status. In          Simply knowing a language is not always              to earliest. Always check to see what the
many cases, you are required to attach a           enough. Make sure that you are familiar with         company to which you are applying requires.
passport-sized photo to the top right corner       the lingo and types of phrases that native
of your CV. U.S. employers, on the other           speakers use, further demonstrating your             When crafting your CV and letter of intent
hand, are required to throw out cover letters      ability to blend into their culture. If you use      or motivation letter (equivalents of the
and resumes if photos are attached.                English expressions and idioms that do not           American cover letter), do your homework
                                                   translate clearly, you may seem out of touch         and learn about what is acceptable in your
If you are applying to a company outside           or confusing. If you are not a native speaker        potential employer’s country’s culture, his
of the U.S., it is very important to show          of the language in question, it is a good idea       or her country’s corporate culture, and his
your potential employer that you have              to have a native speaker or an accredited            or her company’s specific culture, as you
knowledge of other languages and cultures          translator look over your resume to help you         should aim to satisfy the expectations of all
by highlighting fluency or background              work out the kinks.                                  of them in your application. One principle
in foreign languages, as well as travel                                                                 to keep in mind is the importance of the
experience (including vacation destinations).      If you have spent fewer than five years              collective rather than the individual. When
By putting these items in a visible location       in your profession, your CV’s section on             listing your accomplishments, try to focus
on your CV, you will be presenting yourself        educational background must include                  on your contributions as part of a group
as a globally aware American-a valuable            descriptions of your schooling. Simply listing       effort. Foreign companies tend to strongly
asset to any foreign company. Many                 the school(s) you attended, your degree,             emphasize teamwork, so make sure to
international companies require that you           and when you graduated is not enough.                convey that the ability to cooperate is part of
speak their countries’ languages as well           Explaining what types of courses you took,           your skill set.
as English, so it is smart to prepare your         along with mentioning special projects and
CV in both the language of the country in          experiences, is key to painting a picture            Stylistically, CV and letters of intent differ
which your potential employer is located and       of your academic involvement. In certain             in a couple of ways from resumes and cover
in English. Also, do not forget to find out        countries, especially some countries in Asia,        letters. In CV and letters of intent, it is
which variations of languages the company          where you attended school is very important.         suggested that you use simpler language, as
uses. For example, you will want to find out       It is so significant that employers in these         ultra-sophisticated phrases and words can
whether the company uses British English           countries even require you to list where you         confuse and put off foreign employers. Some

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RESUME MAVEN                                                                                1. 800.973.1177

European employers even require applicants        the country where you are applying for a        without coming off as “one of those arrogant
to handwrite letters of intent so that they can   position, and use it whether you email, fax,    Americans.” Although you may get some
assess applicants’ neatness and attention to      or “snail mail” your submission.                strange looks from your coworkers, hold
detail. Also, the rules regarding fonts are a                                                     on to what you believe is right and your
bit stricter than in the U.S. Boldface should     When you are sending documents                  employer and colleagues will respect you. At
only be implemented for subject headings,         internationally, it is usually safer to send    the same time, allow yourself to be flexible
and one’s documents should use a single           them in two forms-via email and as hard         and teachable by seeking to learn all you can
standard font throughout. In terms of length,     copies, for instance. If sending materials      while working in another country. And do not
CV are usually longer than resumes but no         via email, make sure that your page setup       forget that you are representing your own
longer than two pages. If you have limited        matches the destination country’s standards     country. Your enthusiasm and performance
experience, one page is adequate.                 when you attach your documents to a             will shape your company’s impressions of
                                                  message. Also, make things easier on your       the U.S., so be sure to make a commendable
Another element to consider is standard           potential employer by drafting documents in a   lasting impact.
page size. European A-4 standard is 0           widely accepted format, like Microsoft Word.
millimeters wide by 97 millimeters long,
whereas the U.S. standard is 8 ½ inches           If you do make it into a foreign firm or
wide by  inches long. Research and              company, remember to stay true to who
find out the standard page size used in           you are as an individual and a professional,


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