How To Tailor Your CV For International Standards

Jul 1, 2022

4 minutes

When considering applying for a job abroad, it is very important to be aware that hiring managers have different expectations. This blog discusses tips and tricks for applying for international jobs in Kenya and how to write a winning CV.

An international CV is a professional document that candidates use to apply for jobs in a different country. It is not about the format but strategy and aligning your CV with standards and practices that are customary for that region. 

As opposed to a local CV, an international CV focuses on cross-cultural skills and technical know-how. There is no standard practice for writing an international CV, therefore doing some research to cover such bases is most vital.

Typical elements of international CVs

The length of your CV should be at most two pages, and the information should be presented clearly and concisely. It is also good practice to use readable, simple font and outline your most relevant skills and experiences in a bulleted list.

Writing your personal information differs from country to country. A typical American CV doesn’t include some personal details due to restrictions related to job discrimination. Conversely, in some Middle East countries, it’s common to include personal information about your gender, religion, health status, age and marital status on your application. 

An American CV does not usually include references unless upon request but a British CV does. Defer from adding contact information to your reference list without asking for permission as it is unethical and goes against data protection legislation.

When it comes to applying for international jobs in Kenya, the most effective CV communicates your skills and experiences and how culturally adaptable you are as a candidate. Here are my best tips for writing a winning international CV.

Factors to consider when writing an international CV

Research style and format

To make sure your CV contains the right information in the right format, you must research the country’s standard practices. Identify various examples, and common trends in structure and format, then tailor that to the international jobs in Kenya you are applying for.

Differentiate a CV and resume for specific countries

Find out if the country you are applying for jobs differentiates between a CV and a resume. Some countries use these two documents interchangeably while others consider them completely different. Consider the specifics and requirements of the application before making a decision on the document type.


Depending on the country, figure out what length is most appropriate for your application. Different countries have different expectations for the length of CVs. In Germany and Greece, for example, five-page CVs are common and in the UK, 2 pages are optimal. America typically expects a one-paged CV.


The tone you use on your CV should reflect some social-cultural values of the country to which you are applying. Look for resume examples in those countries and take note of the tone that is used. This will help you understand how best to showcase your professional strengths and achievements that allow you to rise above your competition.

Language and cross-cultural skills

According to the country’s language preference, you may have to translate your CV or provide an accompanying document with your English CV. This communicates proficiency and thoughtfulness for the culture.

If you are not well conversant with the language of the land, seek out a CV translation service or request a native or advanced speaker proofread your translated CV for errors.


For international job applications in the UK, Canada and North America, you do not need to include a photo. Unless your headshot is directly relevant to the job you are applying for, avoid including a photo. Understandably, for countries that require a headshot, ensure it is a professional one.

Parting shot

There is no exact rule for applying for international jobs in Kenya. Always make sure you focus on the style, purpose and effectiveness of your CV for jobs in different countries and cultures. Remember to optimize your CV with keywords and details for applicant tracking software that is widely used by hiring managers.

It is equally important to include your visa status, for eligibility to work in the country you are applying to. Make sure you also provide a current telephone number with the international dialling code for the country where you live. This will help hiring managers to contact you with minimal hassle.

Hopefully, this article has proved useful as you apply for international jobs in Kenya today. Cheers!

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