In today’s globalized world, the opportunity to work abroad can be an exciting prospect for many job seekers. However, when applying for international positions, it’s crucial to adapt your resume to stand out from the competition. In this blog post, we will explore some essential tips to help you write a resume that increases your chances of getting hired abroad, specifically focusing on the context of Pakistan.

  1. Protect Your Privacy: To start, it’s important to prioritize your privacy when sharing personal information on your resume. Remove your picture, home address, and NIC (National Identity Card) number, as these are sensitive details that should be shared with discretion. Instead, include only your city, zip code, or mention “remote” if applying for remote jobs.

  2. Resume Format: When saving your resume, choose the Word file format instead of PDF. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) often register PDFs as blank, potentially hindering your application. By using a Word file, you ensure your resume is properly parsed and readable by these systems.

  3. The Key Sections: The top third of the first page of your resume is the most critical section. Start by including your name, contact details, and location. Then, prioritize your experience section unless your education is exceptionally impressive.

  4. Emphasizing Experience: When detailing your professional experience, aim to create a concise paragraph outlining your responsibilities (3-5 lines) followed by three to five bulleted accomplishments. Differentiate between responsibilities and accomplishments. Responsibilities focus on your day-to-day tasks, reporting structure, and leadership roles. Accomplishments highlight achievements, challenges overcome, gaps filled, and notable projects. Whenever possible, quantify these accomplishments with numerical values (e.g., increased sales by 43%).

  5. Tailoring Your Resume: Remember that a resume is not a comprehensive compilation of all your experiences like a CV. Instead, it should only include information relevant to the job you are applying for. Carefully review the job listing, noting their requirements and expectations, and incorporate the relevant information. Any additional details can be saved in a separate file or your comprehensive CV.

  6. Additional Sections: You can include sections for extracurricular activities, volunteer experience, and a brief mention of hobbies. However, keep these sections concise, as the focus should be on your professional experience and qualifications.

  7. Addressing Employment Gaps: If you have gaps in your employment history, mention any relevant volunteer experiences or professional development courses you undertook during that time. If you do not have any such experiences, include a line stating that you took a professional break due to personal responsibilities or recovery from an ailment.

  8. Highlighting Skills: Below your name and contact information, mention your top few skills that align with the job you are applying for. Select the most relevant skills and save the rest for a skills table. Ideally, the table should consist of 9 to 12 relevant skills. Above the table, write a summary or include your top three relevant accomplishments instead of a professional summary.

  9. Professional Summary: Craft a professional summary that highlights your years of experience (if over three) and emphasizes how you can benefit the organization. Focus on showcasing your ability to optimize processes, bridge gaps, and develop strategies that make companies more successful. Keep the summary to 3-4 lines, and avoid mentioning what you are looking for; instead, highlight how you can contribute.

  10. References and Cover Letter: Avoid including the phrase “references furnished upon request” in your resume. If the employer needs references, they will ask for them separately. When applying for positions abroad, always attach a cover letter and consider including a video introduction to humanize your application and make a personal connection.

This article was published as a tweet by Zuha Malik