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FAQs for Living and Working Overseas:

Written by a former Peace Corps Volunteer living overseas since 1989

The Expat Guy: FAQs for Working and Living Overseas

What about CVs and Resumes for Overseas Jobs?

The same as back home?

Generally speaking, no.

Get used to the idea that the work scene overseas is VERY DIFFERENT from the one back home.  Unless you are seeking employment with a major Western corporation, employers will probably want to see your photograph.  Will probably ask you about your family.  Will ask your age.  Will ask if you are married - maybe even why not, if you aren't.  Some questions, in their culture would be RUDE if they were NOT asked.

Okay, not always, but it is not unusual, overseas, for people to ask many questions that would be illegal in many Western countries.   In their country they are legal and, in their eyes, legitimate questions.

They Have Their Reasons

Work visas for English Teachers, for example, often require that your passport be from a country they deem as being English speaking.  Age, is sometimes limited for certain kinds of visas.  Men, may not be allowed to teach at a women's school (Saudi Arabia for example) and on and on.

Get over it NOW

Decide now if these issues really bother you.  If they do - you may have some difficulty landing a job - or even surviving in non-Westernized countries.

What to put on your Resume/CV

Traditional resumes are fine - but be sure to put the essential information near the top - where your potential employer can see it quickly.  Technically, a CV is a much more academically-oriented form and more detailed, but you'll find the terms resume and CV used somewhat interchangeably overseas.  Keep them both to two pages or less (just my opinion). 

If you are an older person - like the author - put a cut off point in time to limit how long your resume will be.  Do they really need to know that you worked for McDonalds 35-40 years ago? 

Conversely, if you are very interested in working in a particular specialty - be sure to include your experience in that area to strengthen your position. 


Most countries will want a photo attached to your resume.  Passport size - top left corner.  Not everywhere is the same - but not a big deal if you put it on the wrong corner . . .  It is usually okay if you print it on the resume.  Make sure you dress and appear professionally in the photo. 

Age, Marital Status, Sex, Nationality, Dependents

Get used to it now.  If you don't include this information, and the employer has many applicants - guess where your resume will go . . .   In some countries, if you do not include this information, they will assume you are hiding something!  Overseas they often need to know some of these issues - just to be fair with you.  If you have five children and the school only has a budget for funding two kids at an international school, isn't it better to find that out early in the game and not waste your time?

Get used to the idea that not everyone thinks the way Westerners do, or has the same rules or standards.  People and cultures and countries are different, it's what makes it all so interesting . . .

It's okay to be creative

Avoid templates - you blend into the background as if you weren't there.  And there are, sometimes, 100+ applicants . . .  Try something creative.  Use color - give it shot.  Try a Google search for "creative resumes".



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