If you're seeking a job outside of the United States, be aware that many employers will ask you for a curriculum vitae (CV), perhaps with an accompanying profile, rather than for a resume. In the U.S. this can be confusing because CVs are used almost exclusively for jobs in academia, scientific research fields, and the medical professions.
U.S. CVs are credential-based, using functional categories to list one’s education, publications, honors and awards, research experience, training, and professional appointments. International CVs, though, are structured more like resumes, with a few important differences.
International Curriculum Vitae Requirements
Depending upon the country to which you're applying, you may be required to provide personal information. In the U.S. it's illegal for employers to solicit certain information because of age discrimination and other EEOC employment laws.
The types of information you might need to provide include your date and place of birth, nationality, gender, your marital status, number of children and their ages, your language skills, religion, health status, and your passport number. Many international employers also require candidates to include pictures on their resumes.
Tips for Writing an International Curriculum Vitae
Preparing an international CV will take more research and effort than drafting a U.S. resume or CV. Fortunately, there are resources which can help you. Here are important steps to follow.
Do your research: Before you start writing your international CV, find out what the particular requirements are for the country you're targeting. One good source is VisualCV, which lists the elements required not only for regions (North America, Australia, the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia, and South America), but also for a few of the individual countries within those regions.
For specific country information, your best bet may be to simply Google a phrase like “Portugal CV requirements.”
Determine optimal page length: Different countries have different expectations for the length of CVs. In Germany and Greece, five-page CVs are common and in the U.K., two is the norm.
Decide upon your format: Most international CVs, like U.S. resumes, are structured using a reverse chronological format, beginning with your most recent job. However, it can also be effective to use a functional format when you want to emphasize your skills and expertise (either because you lack real job experience or because you're making a significant change in career field).
Think about tone: In western countries, resumes are typically personal marketing documents where you're expected to “toot your own horn,” showcasing the professional and personal strengths and achievements that allow you to rise above your competition. In some eastern countries like China, however, job candidates are expected to write more modestly.
Translate your CV: Although not all international jobs require that you speak the language of the country where you’ll be working and residing, many do. The best way to prove your linguistic competency is to translate your CV into the language spoken by the employer. If you doubt your proficiency, have a native or advanced speaker proofread your translated CV for errors.
Spring for a professional headshot: If you're submitting a CV to an employer that requires a photograph, have a professional one taken.
Sample International CV
This is an example of an international CV. Download the international CV template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.
Sample International CV (Text Version)
Rua Main, Porto, Portugal
DOB: 13 August 1990, Porto, Portugal
My cosmopolitan background and analytical interests in other cultures together with a command of several European languages allow me to manage multinational workforces that require the reconciliation of different national approaches to the performance arts. A proven leader with deep expertise in operations, production, and human management techniques, I quickly adapt to new challenges and easily motivate production project consensus, approval, coordination, funding, staging, and launch.
Graduate in History, LUSIADA UNIVERSITY OF LISBON, Lisbon, Portugal
Key coursework: Portuguese History, Medieval History, Renaissance History, Portuguese Explorers, Spanish History, Italian History, History of the Papacy
Training in General Music Studies, GREGORIAN INSTITUTE OF LISBON, Lisbon, Portugal
Subject areas: History of Music, Gregorian Chants, Music Composition, Musical Notation, Musical Theatre, Symphonic Composers, Orchestral Music
Casa da Música Concert-Hall, Porto, Portugal
Head of Public and Building Services (September 2017-Present)
- Coordinated and managed 500 front-of-house, back-of-house, administrative, maintenance, and marketing staff.
- Initiated new digital marketing campaign that increased average audience sizes by 40%.
- Supervised planning for €1.5M renovation of historic building premises.
Casa da Música Concert-Hall, Porto, Portugal
Production and Operational Director (April 2015-August 2017)
- Coordinated Contemporary Music performances by high-profile groups from the United Kingdom, Japan, Africa, and South America.
- Negotiated cost-effective contracts for new stage lighting and audio equipment.
- Liaised effectively with major media outlets and social media influencers to increase public awareness of concert hall events.
HONORS / AWARDS
RIBA European Award, 2018
European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture, 2017
Musicians’ Association Award, 2017
Portuguese, English, Spanish, French, and Italian
Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook) and Adobe Creative Suite
CULTURAL INTERESTS AND PHYSICAL RECREATION
History, music, sociology, psychology, theatre, symphonic music, tennis, and swimming
More About CVs
More Sample Curriculum Vitae
Sample international, academic, and general curriculum vitae including additional templates, samples, and examples.
Writing a Curriculum Vitae
Here are details on when to use a curriculum vitae, rather than a resume, what to include, and how to write it.
FAQ: Curriculum Vitae or Resume?
Here are some frequently asked questions about the difference between CVs and resumes.