Linking America’s Employers to Candidates for International Jobs
Useful Tips for Candidates
James R. Gettys, President, International Staffing Consultants, Inc.
Here are a few things I have learned after reading and working with thousands of resumes for more than 30 years!
Use a Permanent Email Address:
You should try to use a permanent email account that will stay with you throughout your career or at least for a few years. Once you leave your current employer, companies you contacted during your search may want to contact you. Set up a free Yahoo account www.yahoo.com, Google account www.googlemail.com or another free email account instead. Using your home Internet provider’s free account is not always a good idea either, because you might move or change providers. Learn the rules about keeping your account up to date too, because some free accounts expire over time if you don’t use them regularly.
Use a Personal Email Address and not a Company Address.
It is never a good idea to use your company email to look for employment, even if your employer knows you are looking. Setting aside the ethical questions, and there are many, if you are looking for a job your company address is temporary. And don’t use your Spouse or another person’s address, because it is looks tacky, confusing and lazy.
Hide Your Distribution List:
Do not make it appear that you are “shot gunning” your resume everywhere. A recruiter may be discouraged from contacting you if it looks like you are working with hundreds of other firms. When sending your resume to more than one company in the same e-mail, use the “undisclosed-recipients” feature in your e-mail program, or the “bcc:” field to hide the list. If your e-mail program does not offer a way to hide your list, simply send a message to yourself and then list your other addresses in the Blind Carbon Copy (bcc) area. This will make your contact seem more personal.
Attach Your Resume: Don’t Use Hyperlinks Pointing to Your Resume!
This may be confused with Spam and may never reach your intended target, or not be opened by the reader for fear of receiving a virus. You should paste your resume in to the email, attach it, or do both. Never use links to a web based resume.
Don’t Fax Your resume:
In today’s world there is no good reason to fax your resume unless you are asked to do it. Faxes are difficult for the reader to work with and to distribute. Faxing makes you look “old school” and unqualified to work in a modern business. Don’t do it!
Keep it Clean and Simple:
Loud colors and funky fonts belong on birthday party invitations, not your resume. You may not be a professional, but you don’t want to look unprofessional, so keep your resume clean and simple. Use a 10 or 12 point font throughout the resume. Do not highlight information unless you are asked to do so. Instead, reference how you qualify in your cover letter. And limit the use of bullets, underlining and deep indentations that break up your document and take up space.
DON’T CAPITALIZE EVERY WORD!
This is equally true with your email messages too. CAPITALIZING EVERY WORD OF A DOCUMENT MAKES YOU LOOK RUDE, IGNORANT OR LAZY. In emails it is considered to be SHOUTING or YELLING, and it makes the document harder to read too. You only have one chance to put your best foot forward, so DON’T DO THIS!
Use a Reverse Chronological Format:
A functional resume that does not give dates, titles and duties is going to be viewed as a gimmick to hide your real experience and job progression. Most recruiters want to see what you have done, when you did it, and how you progressed in your career. And just stating your accomplishments is not good enough. Start with your current job and work backward and NEVER start with your first job and work forward.
Including your Picture:
Unless you look like Tom Cruise or Rebecca De Mornay, including your picture is “Risky Business”. You may not be as handsome or beautiful as you think and doing this is unlikely to serve a positive purpose. Most employers do not require one and it can bias the reader.
File Formats – Best to Use MS Word:
Make sure you are saving them in a text readable format. Almost everyone can read M.S. Word files, so use that instead, or attach both formats when you apply for a job. Don’t use less popular formats like Word Perfect; fewer people use them and some may have trouble opening the file. Also, don’t save your resume in the latest version of any program, because readers may not have updated their software. Instead, try to keep it about one version old because MS Word and most mainstream programs are backward compatible.
Myths about Size:
There is no magic number for the amount of pages needed for a resume. Try to limit your resume to about 2-3 pages to keep from overloading the reader, but don’t sell yourself short just for the sake of brevity. Try using a smaller font if you need to reduce the size of your document, but never use smaller than a 9 point font. 10, 11 and 12 point font size is best. Try to be consistent throughout the document and limit the number of times you change font sizes. While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, a 10 point Arial font used throughout the entire document gives the most information in the least amount of space while still looking clean and professional.
Include Your Full Permanent Address:
If you are working overseas or anywhere away from home, include both your temporary and permanent address and contact information. Don’t rely on providing your contact information only in your email or cover letter. Documents have a way of getting separated, so adding your full contact information to your resume is important. Also, companies you contacted during your search may want to contact you later, so give them information that is not likely to change. NEVER include your Social Security, Driver’s License or Passport Number and if anyone asks for it assume they are scamming you.
Use Block Style:
Be careful when using Columns or Tables to create your resume. They take up space and don’t add to the clean, professional look you want to create. And don’t waste your time with MS Word’s default resume templates or free online services. They tend to add too much function and not enough substance. Instead, use a Left Justified style similar to the way these tips were created.
Highlight your Stability:
Show the full length of your employment right from the start. Don’t break it up as shown in the “fictional” example below. And your job title, dates, company can stand alone. You don’t need to give them a label.
Jack of all Trades and Master of None:
It is a common mistake for job applicants to try and come across as “multi-talented,” thinking that this makes them look like a more desirable job candidate. What they don’t realize is that this only proves to be distracting, causing many strong applicants to be passed over for great positions, even when they may have a tremendous amount of experience in one specific area.
Resume Layout Example:
Citizenship and Visa Status:
In the USA it is not required to list your Citizenship on your resume, but there are reasons to include it when it will actually help you. For example, when you are applying for a Defense Industry job. Also, if you are working overseas consider including “US Citizen” or “US Permanent Resident” on your resume to make it clear you are able to legally work in the country. In the USA (and many other Western countries) employers can’t ask about National Origin for jobs in the Home country. But they can ask you if you are a US Citizen or if you have a legal right to work in the country. This may not always be true when recruiting for an “offshore” location and foreign company. Outside of the USA, especially in the Middle East, it is common to ask about Citizenship and National Origin. In some cases, citizenship questions are justified by the restrictions placed on the employer in the foreign country. Give some thought about including citizenship and visa information when it can help you get the job, but don’t feel obligated to do it in situations that could give the employer a reason to discriminate against you for reasons of race, or national origin.
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International Staffing Consultants, Inc. is pleased to provide the following information about employment scams:
Tips To Remember: Be very skeptical of overseas employment opportunities that sound "too good to be true."
Additional Sources on Scams
1) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Employment_scams
Employment scams, also known as job scams, are a form of advance fee fraud scamming where certain unscrupulous persons posing as recruiters and/or employers offer attractive employment opportunities which require the job seeker to pay them money in advance, usually under the guise of work visas, travel expenses, and out-of-pocket expenses.
The scams typically involve lucrative offers of employment in Europe, the Middle East, West Africa, or South Africa with money demanded to be paid to an agency or travel agent for visas or travel costs. These companies often present themselves with official looking websites and documentation. Once the victim has paid the advanced fees for employment, the business either declines employment or ceases operating as soon as the transfer is finalized.
This type of scam has become more and more frequent recently due to the popularity of Nigerian 419 scams, and growing suspicion towards e-mails offering to transfer money from bank accounts, especially those originating in Africa. Unlike 419 scams, job scams tend to mostly target persons looking for employment in other nations such as hopeful immigrants or contractors and operate out of nations with high immigrant and foreign employment rates.
It is advisable to be wary of any job offerings which arrive in e-mail unsolicited and eventually require anyone to pay a fee in advance, particularly if the fee is asked to be paid through a financial services company such as Western Union, or if one must pay the amount to a bank or person in a third country (especially a West African nation) that is suspiciously unrelated to either party. Most reputable companies and/or agencies will absorb these costs themselves if they are the ones seeking the employee.
2) For comprehensive information about scams of all types we recommend a visit to http://www.quatloos.com/ which is a public educational website covering a wide variety of financial scams and frauds, including wacky “prime bank” frauds, exotic foreign currency scams, offshore investment frauds, tax scams, “Pure Trust” structures and more.
3) Expat Engineer also offers a comprehensive exposure of several employment scams at http://www.expatengineer.net/
4) Federal Trade Commision (US) - Protecting America's Consumers
5) Consumer Direct (UK) - Advise and reporting
6) FIDO (AUS) - ASIC acts against financial scams, including online schemes
7) Privacy Rights Clearinghouse - Empowering consumers. Protecting privacy
8) OnGuard Online - Practical tips and advice on securing your computer and transacting online.