It may go without saying that having an internationally focused, branded bio, resume or CV and other career marketing materials is a must if you want to be seriously considered for jobs overseas or an international assignment.

But in an increasingly competitive and global marketplace, even if you are not looking to work abroad, having a more international profile can help you stand out and strengthen your application for many types of positions.

international-executive-cvAs more businesses are engaging outside of their own country's borders and managing virtual, global teams becomes more common, some employers now consider the ability to work across cultures as a required—not just desired—skill set.

There is evidence supporting the fact that ‘global citizens’ are seen as more desirable—and hence more hireable—due to certain skill sets acquired as a result of their international experience. One study conducted by INSEAD (top business school in France) and the Kellogg School of Management (a top business school in the U.S.) reported that people who live abroad have been shown to be not only more creative, but are better negotiators and can more readily ‘think out of the box’. So not only will internationalizing your BIO help you stand out but it will also help increase the perceived value you would bring to any organization.

If you are a consultant serving the global market place, your prospective clients living in other countries will want to be sure that you are able to work across cultures, particularly with their culture. Demonstrating your international experience will help build trust and confidence in your ability to serve the global community.

Desired Experience, Qualities and Skills

Employers hiring for international positions generally seek many of the following skills and qualities:

  • Cultural sensitivity
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Positive attitude and resilience
  • Cross-cultural communication skills
  • Language skills
  • Writing skills
  • Comfort level in multicultural or unfamiliar environments
  • Specific technical knowledge or expertise that is not present in the target market
  • International travel and work experience (paid, volunteer, short and long term)
  • Work/study abroad or exchange experiences during undergraduate and graduate or advanced degree programs

Hence highlighting these in your branded bio, resume or CV would be important.

The Importance of Culture

As 'cultural fit' is an important part of evaluating a candidate being considered for an international position, it's important that all your career marketing material be written with the target culture in mind.

This means ensuring the skills and qualities valued most by the culture(s) in which you will be working as well as their cultural values are clearly communicated.

Here are some examples of taking culture into account:

  • Japanese employers are not looking for people who can come in and create change or generate quick results. They are looking for team players they can train or who they can work with well to achieve their goals. Team achievement is more celebrated than individual achievement. Hence it’s important that team-orientation comes through clearly in your covers letter, resume, CV and bio if you are looking for a job in Japan.
  • Australian employers and consumers are likely to be more concerned with your ability to do a job with a positive, can-do attitude and your experience than the right degree. So your cover letter, resume, CV and bio should reflect that.
  • But if you look at South African employers, you'll find they often consider post secondary school education and credentials very important when evaluating candidates and service providers. So be sure to list all relevant education and credentials in your resume, CV and bio.
  • Italian employers are looking to hire enthusiastic, dynamic people, so that energy should come out in all your career marketing materials.
  • But if you are looking for a job in Germany, it would be more appropriate to keep your writing very concise, clear and to the point due to the German cultural values of accuracy and efficiency.

The bottom line is that not internationalizing your career marketing materials can impact your ability to get found online and land international jobs and assignments. But doing so can not only increase your chances for finding work abroad, it can make you an better candidate for jobs at home given an increasingly globalized market place.


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