Tips on modifying your CV before an international relocation

Note: This post was initially written in 2015, I have since modified a couple of details in 2016.

I have only been in my new city and country for less than a week and I have been busy with phone interviews, calls from recruitment agencies, emails from hiring managers. I started the process about two weeks before arriving.  I decided to write down a list of points that helped me out in this process which you can read below.

Obtain local experience

I wrote all about professional volunteer work here.  This is going to help if you only have international experience in your CV, and you have not been able to build local experience.  I have also written another entry here with a few ideas that you can only do prior to the relocation.

Some may argue to take any work, as long as it is local.  It really is up to your budget, capacity, capability.  Another item is your employability in that market for that region.

Do you have a confirmed work permit?

Mention that you have a *confirmed* visa in your resume at a location that is obvious to the hiring manager and recruiter. This is especially important for those who have international experiences in their resume and it is not apparent that they can in fact work for the target country.  This is especially important if you do not have local experience to start off with. Please note that the confirmed part is also dependent on your physical entrance into the country via customs officers and dependent on your visa conditions.  For example you may have a confirmed authorization to obtain this work visa but you still need to obtain it as is the case with certain working holiday arrangements.

Research what the usual interview and hiring practices are

In terms of response times, anytime between one day and one or two weeks but they will generally tell you. Personally I prefer one week or less. I figured that 2-3 weeks is a good head start, but it ended up being too early, so 1-2 weeks head start is good.

The other thing I have found here is that people tend to do an initial phone interview (10-20 minutes) before they see you face to face.  There might even be in some instances where they would rather see you face to face.

All of these were important items to note since my previous experience had been obtaining work within my own professional-personal networks.

Research what the market rate is

I remember being on the call with a recruiter and mentioning them my target range. The only thing is that while this range suits in my home and previous country, it definitely does not suit in my new country.

The whole issue of what the market rate is in itself requiring further discussion.

What is the communication style?

Having been initially based in London and also working for a certain industry, I’ve developed a formal writing style.  I’ve had to adjust how I write my applications based on the new location and industry that I am targeting and I had to make it informal.

Do not use acronyms and country-specific jargon and state the local equivalent

If you use any terms that may not be familiar in the target country, you may need to state what the local equivalent is or provide further descriptive statements about it.  For example, someone who worked for the NHS in the UK wrote about their experience on a CV aimed at the US market, the recruiters or hiring managers may not necessarily know what the NHS equivalent is in the US.

Is your education recognized or seen as an equivalent?

In certain countries, there is no need to worry about this.  However you may need to work with the target higher education certificate authority to state that your education is up to the target country standards. If you are intending to pursue permanent residency, taking this step will also be useful since this type of documentation is most likely required anyway.

Have a local contact

On Skype, you are able to purchase Skype credit allowing you to make calls to landlines and mobiles.  You can also purchase a Skype number and have a number coming in from a certain country.  Note that not all countries are covered under this program and that you may need to end up waiting until you arrive at the country to obtain a local number.

While a local number may seem so simple, I have found that it does make a big difference for certain people.  So you may get more responses once you are in the country and able to register with a local mobile.

Put a face to a name

This means going out to the networking events and meeting as many people as you can and to see how much you can branch out in terms of potential connections.  This also means, on a digital sense, increasing your digital presence online and to allow people to get to ‘know’ who you are.  Now this may mean crafting the presence.

I also do personal/professional digital branding using website, social media, search engines etc. If this is a topic that you’d like to read more of, please let me know below!

Anticipate what other documentation you may need

Previously, I wrote that you may need get documentation – for example documentation from a higher education certificate authority.  If you anticipate further documentation, ensure to have these ready.

Brand yourself online!

When recruiters and hiring managers conduct a name search on sites like Google, you will want to ensure that you have a name domain with your CV alongside your projects and work history.  For example, lists out my main work history, projects, a bit about me and links to my blog.  If you are interested in finding a web developer to aid in your relocation strategy, feel free to contact me at

Details of this post is of the author’s own opinion only.  For actual immigration issues, please note that that you should consult with your immigration lawyer or paid immigration consultant, check the official documentation first, and that details will change after the publication of this post.  

Quick Update – August 2015

It has been more than a year since I last wrote here.  I am writing this at 11pm, fairly exhausted and still hustling.  It is like having a number of tasks and to-do’s all concentrated in this one week.

Since my last entry, I have:

  • Started working for a Swiss-based research firm specialising in private banking and wealth management.
  • Been awarded, sat (then failed) a couple of finance-related examinations.
  • Gained two national scholarships to attend two global conferences in Singapore and Seattle.
  • Went to another international conference in a city that I have never been to.
  • Finished my Masters.
  • Moved continents (now my fourth), then moved to another city for better opportunities.
  • Continue working on professional development in my tech focus/area of interest including recently signing up to extra training.
  • Went house-hunting, found a house, managed to move my belongings across three cities now.
  • Seeking more opportunities, this time with a tech and global focus, most importantly focus on North America.
  • Made new friends and colleagues.
  • Learning the work cultures of at least five new countries/regions.
  • Decided that I should further work on my European languages portfolio, initially was focusing on Svenska (for reasons past) now looking at Norsk (for reasons present) although I should also further work on my Deutsch (have been attempting for several years now) and Español (listening is OK, reading/writing/speaking not so much).
  • Repaid some accumulated debt built up since I left Australia for the UK.
  • Saved up a lot in order to make the move and have that savings ‘buffer’ for all my travels and moving-to-a-new-country necessities (ranging from long-term insurance, to covering costs of living, and not so necessary like flights and other trips).

Some of the things that I have decided to scale back:

  • Personal social media updates.  I rid myself of personal Facebook and Instagram but rethinking this now.  However, I find that even blogging and working on my own projects to be enough.  Another somewhat related item is photos which I seemed to have scaled back.  I need to remind myself to make a better effort at taking photos.
  • Blogging.  A number of blog entries date back to 2014.  I am looking to scale forwards, or at least aim for 10-12 new posts per year (which is better than 0 per year).
  • Digital art.  Again, scaled back since early 2014.  Probably won’t scale this forwards until 2016 largely since digital art requires a lot (ie weeks) dedicated to it in another type of attention-focus.
  • Hackathons and online challenges.  Decided to scale back since a lot since mid last year of the newer hackathons out there seems to just not ‘get it’.  From seeing a $70 entry fee for a hackathon, to being treated like free scope work.
  • Art fairs, various creative conventions.  Largely due to new geolocation, fair fatigue and other commitments,  I significantly scaled back in 2014. The next one that interest me is Frieze Art Fair New York.
  • Personal projects.  I scaled back a lot since mid 2014. I don’t imagine working on new personal projects (ie hardware, apps, etc) until 2016 though since the focus (this year especially) has been the acquisition of new knowledge shifting the focus away from projects.

There are some things that I want to continue working on but it seems to be more life-related goals rather than updates-related.

Otherwise, since this blog is one of the items I am scaling forwards, expect to read more!

Last but not least, I promise a far more better domain name.

Seattle for tech conferences (August 2015)

I was in Seattle for a week thanks to a few tech conferences.  The last time I visited, it was dark and grey so it was a nice surprise being able to visit again while sunny.

I found the building really fascinating to see, especially the residential buildings near the water.  I was mainly around Belltown and the Sheraton hotel on 6th avenue except for a night spent in what was possibly the worst ever hotel I have ever been to which was on Aurora Avenue North.  The ‘continental breakfast’ was barely anything (luckily, the conference offered breakfasts), the bed felt like wooden planks, and it felt like nothing has changed since the 70s and in a bad way.  There were also constructions and road disruptions meaning that quiet a few times the taxis were lost and just didn’t bother parking at the hotel.

I have a tendency to book for one or two  nights at a new destination and then have the flexibility and ability to decide, simply because it’s hard to tell what the location is like.  There are reviews online but not everyone reviews plus you may have personal preferences.  I ended up staying in Belltown which had some interesting dining options and was in an interesting area in itself.

Another thing that I enjoyed about Seattle was that, I would start heading to the conference in the morning where there were very little traffic and people about and I would catch the sun’s rays on the water.  It was lovely.  But it was temporary, as I soon realised that by afternoon it’s smoky, sweaty and crowded.

Unfortunately, I don’t have anything else to comment about the city since I was mainly at the conference.  Until next time Seattle (except for the Aurora Avenue North hotel)!.