How Is International Resume Different From Domestic Resume?

How are international resume different from domestic resume?

There are many things that one needs to know before and while applying for an overseas job. Things that are needed in international resume is quite different than in domestic one.

In one of our articles we talked about how international resume format is different than the domestic ones. We will be talking about the differences in detail in this one.

Irrespective of what you are looking for be it first professional international job, your first internship or for a volunteer position abroad, you should be aware that an international resumes are different from domestic resumes.

For most of us, the idea of creating international resumes is to figure out how to write a country specific resume. Such as Korean resume, Portuguese resume, or even Italian resume. However, this idea is based on a false premise.

According to a study, 95% of the international jobs open to entry-level North American university students looking for professional international work will be with North American based employers or international organisations. These employers understand North American resumes styles. But as always, there is a twist.

Three Big Differences

International resumes are different from domestic resumes because international employers place more emphasis on your personality. They focus on your worldwide IQ. They want to know that you will be effective in an global work environment. They are often less concerned with your technical skills.

There are three building blocks to an intercontinental resume: First, you have to build a resume that shows your personality and is organised to match the employer’s “ideal profile”.

Second, you will need to emphasize about your cross-cultural skills, especially in terms of the cross-cultural work environment.

Thirdly, unlike domestic resumes there are other host of smaller details to be considered that are unique to international resumes.

Make your international resume show your personality. The difference between domestic and international resumes
It is important to have your cross cultural personality reflecting well in your international resume

Show Your Professional Personality

Worldwide resumes should highlight your skills and group information so that you do the analytical work for the recruiter. In this way nothing is left to chance. Employers will see you the way you want them to see and know you. Below are a few specific strategies that you can use to put personality into your domestic resume to change it to international one.

Career Objective

This fundamental statement about what you want to do and what you like to do suggests what you will most likely excel at. Everything that follows in a resume should be written to support this objective.

Personal and Professional Traits

This breakdown helps international employers know who you are and why you are good at your work. Make sure each trait is backed up with concrete examples in your job descriptions. This tactic is especially useful for those who are new to the job and may not have enough material or perhaps experience to write a full 1-page Skills Summary.

Skills Summary

This section is probably the most powerful thing you can have. It gives you full control to tell the companies who you are. Be aware though that it will take lots of self-analysis to fill in this section. You will need work hard on choosing subtitles. Do make sure you write efficiently.


If you are just graduating and have only few professional work experiences then you make use of your education. Write up your education as if it were a job, listing three or four points under your degree. You can tell employers who you are by first listing “Areas of Interest” (and not courses taken).

After that it should be followed by “Major Projects”. These are the projects that you would have excelled at. It will also help your case if you have an experience to share about befriending international students as well as working in multicultural student work teams. You could also list tutoring, study abroad, language learning, etc. in the Education section.

Professional Work Experience

By separating your professional jobs from non-professional work, you get to highlight jobs that support your own objective, which employers appreciate. Write at least one third of a page on each of these important jobs.

Job Descriptions

Include skills in your job explanations, and for important jobs, consider grouping the description into functional areas. Example: “Marketing, ” “Administration, ” and also “Writing. ” For each job, always list one item that states “why you were successful” or “what you had been known for. ” This tells the employer tons regarding who you are and what makes you tick.

Other Sections

Show your character in other sections of your resume. Examples: for awards based on merit state why you received the award; for volunteer experience state what you accomplished; for travel provide details (e.g., Enjoyed the actual challenges of getting around along with interacting with officials while visiting Romania and Albania).

Order Within Sections

There are many lists within your resume. Always sort these lists by the order of its importance. Sort them as they support your career objectives, with the most supportive item at the top. Thus in the details of your experience summary never make the mistake of first listing the last task assigned or even the largest task. Rather you should list the task that best supports your objective.

Group Global Experience Together

By grouping your international experience under one section, you are increasing its impact and minimizing the chances that some of your current international experience is missed. For ex, if you have a subtitle called “International Expertise and Understanding”, then you can list here the following: foreign education or courses, cross-cultural and international experiences. International experiences could include volunteering, interning, or working. You can also list any language abilities or international travel.

Length of Resume

Since this is not a domestic resume, your resume can be longer since it includes more information about your personality. (A domestic resume should however be just 1-2 pages)/ A 3 – 4 page job application is normal. But do not forget every word must count (no gobbledygook please, efficient writing only!). And everything must be formatted that would allow the recruiter for speed-reading (subtitle your skills inventory, use functional job titles, break down long jobs in to functional areas).

Sell Your Cross-Cultural Skills

Let organisations know that you are well aware of the unique set of skills that are essential in order to be successful in a cross-cultural work environment. Here are a few examples on where and how to mention these skills.

Skills Overview

You can speak about how you enjoy cross-cultural work environments. Or are adept and attracted to multi-cultural environments, both socially and at work.

Job Descriptions

Here is the point where you speak about your positive attitude toward change in addition to new environments. Or your sensitivity towards the dynamics of a cross-cultural work place. About your ability to relate to people of different personalities and backgrounds. And that you are tolerant, curious, and appreciative various work patterns while remaining committed to deadlines.


Tell the recruiter about the completed projects within a multi-ethnic student team in order to gain cross-cultural work experience that you might have overtaken.

Volunteer Experience

In case you have lived with a local family. Narrate the experience briefly and speak about how successfully you were able to adapt to cultural changes.


Ability to learn languages quickly when traveling.


Adept at building relationships while leftover street wise when traveling within developing countries.

Other Differences

There are a host of small differences to watch out for while writing an international resume. Obviously, dialect and travel descriptions need to be more detailed. But what about real estate citizenship, especially if you have a foreign sounding name.

If are single then list marital status as are single. Also mention that you have no dependent, and are available for journey.

In case you are married, list your spouse’s occupation if he or she has a mobile career such as teaching or nursing. Also do not forget to provide a permanent email address. Since international employers tends to contact applicants many months after applying.

The most powerful way to write an international resume is with a career objective. While the objective can be broadly based, it needs to have a specific profession focus. You will be successful, no doubt, if you build each section plus write each description to aid your objective.

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Avani Lalka is an experienced marketer, and a writer in the field of new-age marketing and career development. She writes from her heart to make a difference in the lives of the people that follow her. Currently she is heading Account Based Marketing (ABM) in a popular Pune-based startup. Feel free to connect her as she welcomes new ideas and opportunities. Email: