By: Dr. Helen Ofosu
Unusual CV and Foreign Experience
I often invite people to send me ideas for future blog posts via email or social media – and I actually mean it. This creates a win-win scenario. Followers of this blog and my social media accounts get customized answers that usually aren’t available through a typical Google searches. Plus, I get good ideas to write about that are linked to the interests of real people.
Here’s a mini-case study …
Recently, I received the following question by email (paraphrased below):
“I have a somewhat unusual CV that is geared mostly toward intellectual / academic positions in a very specific area. Over the past 10 years, I have worked several PT and shorter-term contracts mostly in intellectual and research-based positions. Some of these positions were overseas / in foreign countries. Now that I’m looking for a new full-time job in Canada rather than another contract, I’m not sure how to proceed. What can you suggest?”
Here’s my response:
Thanks for your question. As someone who has helped hiring managers and HR professionals with their recruitment, I have noticed that sometimes the people who are responsible for the initial screening do not always appreciate the subtleties or details in a CV (for those who have never seen one, a CV is a longer, more detailed version of a resume; the CV normally includes publications, conference presentations, patents, etc.). Depending on the position that you’re applying for, it’s probably worth creating a standard two-page resume to use when applying for non-academic jobs but keeping many of the details from your CV in your LinkedIn profile
To be on the safe side, you should try to “connect the dots” so that when others are reading your application materials it’s clear how your experience and knowledge matches the fundamentals of what they’re looking for and what’s required in the job. One way to do this is to highlight the generic and transferable skills (often described as competencies or soft skills) and your main accomplishments – for each position on your CV.
Making this link between the intellectual/academic work that you’ve done in the past, and what you wish to do going forward, will influence your success at getting your CV reviewed a second time, and retained for further consideration. Read these more recent articles on being overqualified and how sometimes having different credentials is a good thing.
Your foreign experience is likely to be appreciated by NGOs & multinationals and perhaps less so by domestic companies/organizations where it may be perceived as less relevant. If the international opportunities still appeal to you, you might also consider applying for some of them.
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