If you’re hoping to get a job overseas, make sure you write a resume that is effective, easy to read, and concise. Here are some tips.
Your resume is the first impression you give a prospective employer, so you’ve got to put your best foot forward. As a compilation of your work history, credentials, educational background, skills, and accomplishments, a resume is one of the best marketing tools you have when job hunting. With prospective employers going through countless resumes, here’s how you can write the best resume for that overseas job you’re eyeing.
Read the job description carefully.
Since you’ve decided to apply for this particular job, it means you have the professional qualifications and skills that match the job description. The job description shows the tasks, duties, responsibilities, and skills required for a position. Read it carefully, and make sure your resume matches keywords in the description. A lot of companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS). This is software that searches through thousands of applications to determine suitable candidates even before recruiters go over the resumes, so you want to make sure your resume makes the cut.
Keep your formatting simple.
Your resume should be in a simple format and fit on one page. Use traditional fonts like Times New Roman or Arial in a font size of 11 or 12, and don’t have more than two fonts on your resume. Do not use headers or footers, columns or tables.
Use these standard headings for your resume sections:
- Contact Information: your name, address, email, and phone numbers (make sure your phone numbers contain the country code and area code)
- Professional Summary: a short paragraph that describes your level of experience and key skills
- Work History: a list in reverse chronological order of present and/or past employment, including dates, companies, job titles, relevant skills and accomplishments
- Education: the highest level of education you’ve acquired
Use bullet points when enumerating relevant skills and experience, with one or two bullet points per job. Also, use a lot of action verbs. For example, if you led a project, use words like “oversaw," “organized,” “headed,” and “executed.” If you increased the company’s figures in any way, use words like “energized,” “enhanced,” “generated,” and “maximized.” Powerful action words will make your resume stand out.
All these tips on format are important, but the most important thing is to tailor your resume to the country of the company you’re applying for. Do your research: ask friends or colleagues who live there, or talk directly to the recruiter to make sure you get the details right.
Check that your spelling and grammar are correct.
Make sure your resume is free of spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors. There are online grammar checkers you can use—not to mention another set of eyes. Sometimes, when we look at a document too often and for too long, it’s difficult for us to spot mistakes. Have someone you trust go over your resume.
When you really want the job, it may be tempting to exaggerate when it comes to your professional experience or accomplishments. Don’t do it. It can ruin your reputation, or even land you in jail.
If you don’t get the job, don’t be disheartened. Keep honing your skills, be consistent at your current job, and continue sending your resume. Life has many twists and turns, and you know what they say—when one door closes, another opens.