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How to adapt your CV for jobs in the Middle East, Asia, and Australia

Following on from our recent article on adapting your CV for jobs in Continental Europe, here’s some guidance should you want to apply for positions a little further afield.


Middle Eastern CVs

How long?

Never more than two pages. Be ruthless and only include absolutely relevant information, even if your experience is vast. Include a deal list as an appendix as well as any addition information if necessary.

Layout?

As a general rule – start with a personal statement, followed by personal information, education then experience with most recent position first.

Should you include your photo?

Increasingly so – it adds a human element to your application and can also help get a foot in the door. One headhunter describes how a candidate once wooed HR with a photo that “made them look like a young Michael Douglas, when the reality was a short Andy Serkis“.

Should you include your age?

A definite yes in the Middle East.

“In western markets, people are concerned about age discrimination, particularly if you’re over 40,” says Peter Greaves, director, head of financial markets at headhunters McArthur Murray in Dubai. “In the Gulf, a lot of experience is generally viewed as a plus point, so most people include their age. It only becomes an issue if you’re over 60.”

Does the CV need to be in Arabic?

No, in English. While it’s an advantage to be able to speak Arabic, investment banks generally do business in English and employers want to see a good grasp of the language on a CV.

Other weird anomalies

Weirdly, perhaps, local banks are interested in gaining a little information about your family situation. Putting in your marital status, and even a little about your children could serve to your advantage.


Australian CVs

How long?

“No more than three pages,” advises Jane McNeill, senior regional director of Hays Banking.

Layout?

First, include such basic information as your name, address, telephone numbers and email address, says McNeill. Next list your education and qualifications. Then list your work experience in chronological order, beginning with the most recent. “Include employer names, positions held and primary responsibilities. Also, where appropriate, include an indication of salary level achieved and reasons for leaving each position,” she adds.

Should you include your photo?

No.

Should you include your age?

No.

Other weird anomalies

Many Australian CVs include a career summary. Some people are tempted to detail this in their cover letter instead, but this should instead directly outline the reasons the candidate is suitable for the role.


Hong Kong/Singaporean CVs

How long?

Two pages.

Layout?

Emma Charnock, regional director of Hays in Hong Kong, recommends compiling a CV in the following order:

· Personal information including name, date of birth/age, address, email and telephone number

· Summary of your education in chronological order (most recent first)

· List of qualifications and an outline of key skills

· List work experience in chronological order (most recent first)

Should you include your photo?

No.

Should you include your age?

Yes, this is very important information to include, especially in Hong Kong (and mainland China).

Other weird anomalies

It’s very common to include a summary of key strengths at the top of a CV.

Comments (7)

Comments
  1. Hobbies and interests: Keeping women indoors/barbeques/gambling/whipping gum chewers and being bored.

  2. Disagree with age being “very important information to include” in HK.
    But then I also think Hays is rubbish.

  3. your right Hays are rubbish in my opinion

  4. Hays are indeed rubbish. They are a ‘bodyshop’, concerned with turning over deals and getting their bonuses. But most agencies are like this. Pity that hiring managers can’t see this.

  5. Whatever the previous readers say about Hays, I have to tell you the age is absolutely crucial in your CV in mainland China. This is a culture thing. Suppose this also apples to Hong Kong. Not sure about Singapore though.

    From mainland China Reply
     
  6. Who are good recruiters in HK then?

  7. I was working in BANK OF BARODA in india and i worked there for
    21 years and for betterment i came to South Africa where i am working
    in senior management in one ISO company which engaged with
    paper industry.

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