RomeCertainly, you want to “stand out” as the best candidate for a job or internship. But when it comes to an international job search, the concept of “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” may help demonstrate that you’re savvy about local hiring and professional customs.

In honor of International Education Week, here are a few cultural differences to keep in mind as you research options, develop a resume, prepare for an interview, and make plans to move to another country:

  • A typical resume/cv designed for the UK market should be two pages long whereas in the United States, we typically draft one-page resumes.
  • In Japan, many people greet each other with a bow. While handshakes may be used, it’s always important to follow the lead of your host. If your host bows, bow. If your host offers a hand for a handshake, shake. Don’t get caught in some awkward handshake/bow combo.
  • Punctuality is not a high priority in Italy and candidates can often expect interviews to start late. That said, it is still extremely important to arrive for an interview on time (5-10 minutes early).
  • In Panama, professionals holding a degree are referred to by mentioning that degree. Thus, terms like ‘Licentiate’ (Licenciado/a), ‘Engineer’ (Ingeniero/a), ‘Doctor’ (Doctor/a) and ‘Architect’ (Arquitecto/a) usually precede the individual’s name and often only the title is mentioned.
  • The work week in the United Arab Emirates begins on Sunday after a two-day weekend on Friday and Saturday.

These tips and more are located in Puget Sound’s Going Global resource. Visit your Cascade CES Resources menu for Going Global Country Guides that feature nation-specific information about job searching, resume and cover letter writing, and interviewing for 40 countries around the world.

Another excellent resource to add to your list—The U.S. Department of State offers travel advisories, tips for traveling abroad, and resources for an international job search.

Other CESblogs that may be of interest:
Career Options: International Development
Career Options: Foreign Service Officer

Also, “do as the Loggers do” and peruse profiles of Puget Sound alumni who’ve spent time abroad.

Happy travels!

© 2013 Career and Employment Services, University of Puget Sound
Photo: Russell Yarwood