Cultural differences with job search tools are essential to understand if you are applying for a job in a foreign country and can make all the difference whether or not your resumé receives a deeper look.
Here are 3 key distinctions between a French and US resumé that will serve as a quick guide:
1. Do not include personal details
It’s customary in France, but not obligatory, for candidates to include their date of birth, age, nationality and marital status on a resumé.
In the US however, you should NEVER include this information. There are laws in the US that make it illegal for an employer to ask you for this information. Including this information may disqualify you as a candidate.
2. List all languages
In eras gone by, French was the language of diplomacy. Today it has been replaced by English, the language of information technology and commerce. As a result, English language skills for French speakers have become increasingly important.
In France, it’s imperative to list your languages along with a truthful and realistic assessment of your skill level. Be sure to include any certificates, such as English TOEFL scores, to provide evidence of your language skills and provides HR professionals an objective and unbiased picture of your skills.
If you are a French candidate applying for a job in the US, you will also need to include your English skill and level. The US employer considering your application wants to know how well you speak English!
3. Do not attach a photo
Similar to your personal information, the custom in France is to include a passport sized photo on your resumé.
In the US, you should NOT include your photo on your resumé as there are labor laws in place against using photos to assess candidates.
Apart from the above differences, the resumé layout in the US is similar to the French one: Reverse chronological order with sections for your personal information (contact details), education and professional experience.
Moreover, the same rules of resumé writing apply – Make sure that your resumé is clear but impactful and easy to read. For more information on this, check out our blog 3 Easy Tips to Build a Strong Resumé.