CVs across four continents

We asked coaches from four different parts of the globe what are the most distinctive and important elements of resumes in their locality.

Where east meets west

“In Singapore, there is a very pragmatic mindset, perhaps because of its mix of western and eastern values,” says career coach Katia Melazzi, who has been based in the Lion City for six years. “As a result CVs are very plain and straightforward. You don’t need a fancy font or a creative design. They want to see the facts and the results of your career. While I do help shape clients’ CVs, I always stress that in Singapore, networking is the key.”

Pleasing the algorithm

In the US, keywords are critical. “They allow the resume to be seen by recruitment screening software,” says career coach Scott Masciarelli. “Only then will it make a list that would be read by a person. We don’t want the resume to read like a job description. Instead we focus on highlighting achievements and quantifying successes. I ask clients to answer questions such as: What was the goal? Who benefited? What was the impact and gain? These answers tell a more complete and compelling story.”

Long-form resumes

Katia and Scott also mentioned that in Singapore and the US resumes tend to be short and concise. “In Brazil that’s rare, you will normally see two-page resumes – or even longer!” says São Paulo-based career coach Paula Braga. “The reason for this is that Brazilians tend to express themselves with more words and details. In Brazil most people have a ‘summary of qualifications’ at the very top of the resume, where you can put the information you consider most important, serving as an overview of your whole career.”

Smile for the camera

In Germany less is definitely more. “Don’t go overboard on self-marketing and achievements,” says career coach Viara Richter, who also notes how many German employers expect you to attach a Bewerbungsphoto. “It’s a professional photo, usually taken by a photographer. It shows you’re taking this application very seriously. Due to anti-discrimination laws this will perhaps be phased out but for now it prevails. You should also explain any ‘gaps’ clearly whether its maternity leave, an expat assignment or for education. Any latent ‘open’ questions on the CV create a disadvantage for the applicant. I also advise expat partners to make it very clear if they have a work permit sorted.”

Image of Viara Richter, Katia Melazzi, Scott Masciarelli, Paula Braga
Left to right: Viara Richter, Katia Melazzi, Scott Masciarelli, Paula Braga

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