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.