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The Quick Guide to Deciphering International Resumes

Dec 30, 2020 | Business, Remote Work

Once you place an ad for a new hire, expect your inbox to be flooded by several applicants. If you are hiring for an international position, you need to be familiar with the differences in style, formatting and resumes content based on different job markets. This piece will focus on these differences and the tips to help you uncover the best talent as quickly as possible.

Differences in Resumes Based on Different Job Markets

Resumes differ from one country to another, and a resume that got an applicant a job in the United Kingdom may not work for the US job market. Every resume and cover letter should be targeted and focused on the job market one is applying for. For the hiring managers and job seekers, here are some of the divergent aspects of resumes from different job markets:

  • The difference in length– The USA format requires an ideal resume to be only 1 page long. The resume should be precise, crisp, and relevant to the position one is applying for. However, if you boast of more than 15 years of experience, you can extend the resume to 2 pages. For the rest of the world, the length is more flexible, and the generally accepted standard is 2 to 4 pages.
  • Use of a photo – The Asian and most European countries demands a photo in a resume. However, applicants should avoid it when applying for jobs in the UK and the USA.
  • Education and experience – In the US, a resume should only feature data on graduate schools and universities as quoted by Help Go Abroad. The other nations expect varied data on education and experience to be shared on a resume.
  • Personal details – In most European and Asian countries, cultural aspects are critical and must be included in a resume. Ideally, applicants must include their nationality, age, gender, and marital status. However, such intricate personal details are very odd in the US.

A Quick Guide to Deciphering International Resumes

Typically, hiring managers spends only 6 seconds reading a resume. If you have been a recruiter for a while, you probably know how to review a resume with a little more than a glance. But when you have a mass of applications from international job seekers, it is easy to miss a critical aspect in the resume and increase the risk of making a bad hire. Here are our top tips to stay on top of the game:

Create a Checklist

The first step is to create a checklist of the absolute minimum educational level, skills, and experience required to do the job. Use the checklist to categorize the resumes into a yes and no pile.

Scan for the Right Formatting

All resumes should be well organized and formatted in line with specific job market requirements. The resume should be easy to follow so that you don’t spend a lot of time deciphering qualifications. Consistent and straightforward formatting helps in interpreting information.

Scan for Relevancy to Job Requirements

Look for applicants with relevant skills and experience for the job at hand. Candidates with incompatible backgrounds and skillsets should be ignored. The content of the resume should meet the requirements of the job. 

Scan Job History

The length of time a candidate spends on each job matters. Find out if the candidate is a job hopper, entry-level, or more senior in their career.

Scan the Potential Red Flags

Although some candidates boast of exceptional abilities and strengths, some warning signs could indicate future problems. The red flags to watch out for include:

  • Unexplained employment gaps
  • Excessive job hopping
  • Static career
  • Excessive information

Scan for the Location

 You can use the location of the candidate as a deal-breaker for certain positions. Familiarity with the territory can be a crucial aspect for the success of the employee. Find out from the cover letter if the candidate has international exposure and is willing to relocate.

Scan for Cultural Fit

Find out if the candidate is culturally fit for your country and company. If there are apparent indicators in their resume that suggest the person is not a cultural match to the company and country, move on to the next resumes.


The guide above offers a simple yet effective methodology to quickly sort out international resumes and identify the ones that match your expectations. 

At BrightR we help companies looking to set up in Canada hire the best talent in the country. We also facilitate remote workers to work for you, even if you have no operating base in Canada. Contact us today for more information about our human resource solutions. 

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