How should your CV look in France, Spain the Netherlands or the USA?
Like to work abroad? Be aware that there’s a minefield of cultural idiosyncrasies to navigate if you want to create a decent job application. Having interviewed various natives of each of the following countries, we’ve compiled a list of the most important points to bear in mind when submitting your CV in each of them.
Let’s begin with the most important thing: your “Curriculum Vitae” must fit on one side of A4! You should include an (appropriately small) photo, which is placed on the left, right or at the centre. If you’re wondering: “how on earth is all this supposed to fit onto one page?”, then you should know that all successful Frenchman and woman have a good few formatting tricks up their sleeve. Decrease the margins of your CV, avoid paragraphs, divide the document up into two columns if necessary and abbreviate for all you’re worth. In case you’re still thinking of submitting a second page, be aware that it will almost definitely not be considered, unless you have important research trips, awards or 15+ years of experience to talk about. In general, the rule is: don’t provide drawn-out descriptions of your experiences, and make your point in a brief, incisive manner. You should also include your nationality and your date of birth in your CV for applications in France.
Job applications in Holland are made using clear arguments. A CV is, of course, obligatory, but it’s really your cover letter that is used to give things a personal touch and make you stand out. You shouldn’t specify your religious persuasion, and don’t need to include a photo, but you should specify your education, employers and skills as you would with a British CV. Do so in a concise and down-to-earth manner, because in the Netherlands one thing applies above all else: “understatement”. What’s more, it is not usual to be expected to provide certification. Documentes are normally asked for in the later stages of the application process, so don’t worry about including them with your initial application.
The Spanish CV is similar to its British counterpart, and starts by stating personal details, followed by education, professional experience and relevant skills. You enjoy lots of freedom with regard to layout and design, but the usual two A4 pages should not be exceeded. As when submitting a job application in France, you should also include a photo in your CV as well as your nationality and date of birth. Another tip: great emphasis is put on language skills in Spain, and these are often awarded a special section all to their own.
The concept of the anonymous CV (or, should we say, the anonymous “resume“, as it’s known stateside) was introduced in France in 2004, but never really took off. In the USA, however, it’s obligatory. That means that, as in the UK, you should not provide a photo or any indication of race, age, gender, nationality, marital status or religious or sexual orientation. Apart from that, the usual also applies in the USA: keep it short and sweet. That means the golden general rule of two pages max. applies here just as much as in the UK. Finally, be aware that recruiters may not be familiar with the way things are written over here, and consider using US spellings in your application (“specialised” -> “specialized“, “programme” -> “program“, “fulfil” -> “fulfill” and so forth). Only do so, however, if you’re sure you are able to do so consistently all the way through your CV – otherwise, use the spellings you’re most comfortable with.
JobisJob operates in 22 different countries, and as such we’re very familiar with job applications in all of them! The different destinations we operate in are listed at the footer of our homepage.