I’m in the middle of job hunting. This process requires a lot of perseverance no matter which country you’re in, but it got me thinking about the cultural differences in resumes.
In Australia, a resume is quite short. Usually about 2-3 pages in length, you generally keep it short, simple and to the point. Most people list only a few of their recent jobs, with highlights of their achievements, their education (usually titles only), a couple of their interests and maybe some extra skills (e.g. languages spoken).
In Germany (at least from my knowledge – it may have changed in recent years), resumes can be as long as a small book! You are generally required to include a picture, and the text contains possibly everything you’ve ever done…well not quite. But it can include all jobs, all schooling (including the grades) and all extra-curricular activities that you ever did (think choir, sporting teams, photography classes…).
From a bit or research on the internet, here are a few characteristics of other country’s resumes:**
India: 1-2 pages. Includes details of major assignments completed at university (or projects at work). Personal details to be included can include nationality, marital status, DOB and the candidate’s parents’ names: Interestingly, the first three are not included in Australian resumes as it would be seen as an opportunity for someone to discriminate against the candidate. Furthermore, I think including the parents’ names demonstrates the collectivist side of India where family reputation is highly regarded.
South Africa: Seems to be similar to Australia, but they want you to include your health status (e.g. “Excellent and Non-Smoker) and your Driver’s Licence Status. I’m not sure what the health one is about – maybe they want to know how many sick days you’re likely to take? 😉
China: 1-2 pages. Again, they would like more personal information, such as nationality, marital status and how many children you have, your gender (it’s not always obvious from your name), DOB and your health status. They also like a photo to be attached.
Russia: 2-5 pages. They like very detailed descriptions of your work experience in full sentences (goodbye dotpoints!). According to one website I came across, they also accept handwritten resumes – not sure how the computer generation would handle that (e.g. every year in Aus. there are a few news stories about the younger generations’ shocking handwriting).
Again, I find it absolutely fascinating how you can discover deeper things about a culture, like what it values in a person, by just looking at one tiny aspect – in this case, resumes.
If you’re also on the look out for a job – good luck!
**I claim no responsibility if these are inaccurate – I would always recommend checking with a local 🙂