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The job market is pretty competitive as it is. But if you’re a student from another country, there can be even more barriers to success. Perhaps you have different qualifications to those native employers will be familiar with. Or maybe you’re not sure how to set out the right structure for UK recruiters.
Writing a CV can be incredibly daunting at first, especially for international students who are unfamiliar with UK CV writing practices. With some CV examples, tips and downloadable CV templates to point you in the right direction, you’ll have an impressive, professional CV in no time at all.
From learning about the right way to structure a personal statement to examining a CV sample for international students, there are plenty of resources on hand to write a CV, no matter your experience level. Here we will help you with:
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International student CV sample - image plus text CV
284B McKelvie Road,
Glasgow, G12 1UL
Motivated international student pursuing a degree in marketing while working in hospitality. Possess hands-on professional experience in coffee-making and sales. Proven history of serving customers in a fast-paced environment.
BARISTA | 08/2020 – Current
Arabica Co., Glasgow
- Prepared coffee, cleaned dining areas, opened the register, and carried out other opening duties.
- Maintained regular and consistent attendance and punctuality.
- Ordered, received, and stocked supplies and retail products.
- Constantly expanded personal knowledge of coffee styles and varieties, providing knowledgeable customer guidance.
- Trained new and junior staff members on coffee-making techniques, including grinding, steaming, and latte art.
CASHIER | 02/2018 – 07/2020
Shop & Save, Glasgow
- Processed POS transactions, including checks, cash, and credit purchases or refunds.
- Bagged merchandise following standard procedures.
- Worked with customer service to resolve issues.
- Operated cash registers with proficiency during high-volume shopping times, reducing customer queues.
- Handled cash and card payments with precision, maintaining customer confidentiality and discretion throughout.
- Cash register operation
- Inventory management
- Speedy and efficient
- Highly organized
- Strong communication skills
- Attention to detail
- Administrative support
- Colegio San Patricio – Madrid, Spanish Baccalaureate
A-Level Equivalent, 2020
- IES Mariano José de Larra – Madrid, ESO
GCSE Equivalent, 2018
International student CV template
Creating a compelling CV might seem daunting at first, but it’s not so bad provided you make use of online resources. Our website includes a variety of handy tools, starting with CV templates to show you the right layout and design.
Choosing the right format for your international student CV
Choosing the right layout for your international student CV might seem unimportant at first glance, but it’s actually an integral part of creating a successful CV. The CV format dictates exactly how the information is displayed, including which sections recruiters will see first.
In most cases, it’s best to stick with the structure UK recruiters are familiar with – the reverse chronological CV format. This is the best CV format for international students who have experience in two or more jobs, as it places more emphasis on your work history.
Understandably, however, not all students have multiple jobs to talk about. That’s where the skills-based CV format can help for an international student CV. As the name suggests, this structure focuses on your ability in more detail. You can record categories of your competencies, with specific examples of how you meet each of them. For example, a student could record their French language fluency, and then evidence that with examples, including their native speaker proficiency and the multiple essays they’ve written in French.
If you’re a UK student looking to work on the continent, then a European format CV might be the best choice. It’s preferred by many employers across Europe, and even further afield. The European CV contains many of the same elements as the other UK CV types. You’ll need to include your full name, contact details, work history, education and skills. The major difference is that this CV format for international students doesn’t have a personal statement. European recruiters will be focusing on the details of your education and career.
How to write a CV for an international student
Now that we’ve covered the best way to select a template, it’s time to look at content! In the following sections, we’re going to explain how to write a CV for an international student from start to finish, filling any gaps in your knowledge along the way.
Here’s an overview of what’s coming up:
- Adding contact details to your international student CV
- International student CV personal statement
- Tackling work experience on your international student CV
- International student CV skills
- Outlining education on an international student CV
Adding contact details to your international student CV
Although the contact details section is often overlooked, it’s important to get it right first time when writing your CV. You’ll need to include your full name, address, telephone number and email address.
Your name should be at the very top of the document in a larger, bold font. Ensure that you list an up-to-date phone number and email address that you use regularly. If you don’t have a professional email address to use specifically for applications, then it would be a good idea to set one up. Using a ten-year-old Hotmail address from your teenage years is not going to look professional on a CV for an international student.
Example of contact section for an international student CV
64 Dunstan Close
Bristol, BS35 3QK
07912 345 678
International student CV personal statement
Positioned just under the contact details, your personal statement provides a space for you to introduce yourself to employers. This professional summary will normally be no more than 3-4 sentences long, providing a brief outline of your capabilities, rather than an in-depth retread of the content of your CV.
In an international student CV, you can use this section to describe your unique abilities that relate to the job description, focusing on how these will be beneficial to your prospective employer. Make it relevant to the job you’re applying for, highlighting your great communication for a waiter role or your computer literacy for an admin job.
The personal statement is a good time to mention the subject you’re studying. As an international student, your ability to speak and understand foreign languages could be another plus to include.
Of course, if you’re a UK student using the European CV format to apply for jobs internationally, then you won’t need to include a personal statement at all.
Example of personal statement for an international student CV
Enthusiastic international student eager to learn new skills and information. Studies hard for examinations and always completed accurate, thorough work. Collaborates well on group projects and prepares diligently for assignments.
Tackling work experience on your international student CV
Even though you’re a student, that doesn’t mean you don’t have valuable work experience. If you’ve taken a job as a barista to support your study or worked as a babysitter on the weekends, you could be surprised at how relevant your experience is to the job at hand. Take a look at our CV sample for international students for more ideas or read on for some key tips.
Where to place your work history
This will depend on the CV format you choose. If you’re writing a CV for international students without much experience, a skills-based format could be best. With this structure, your work history will usually appear below your skills section and even your academic history.
However, if you do have some experience, it’s usually best to go with the reverse-chronological format. This places your work experience in a prominent position, straight after the personal statement. If you’re a UK student looking to study in Europe, your work history will appear even further up your CV, as there is no personal statement for the European format.
Key details to include
When you’re writing an international student CV, you’ll need to set out your work experience clearly for recruiters. Here’s what to include:
- Dates you started and finished.
- Job details including the title, company, and location.
- 3-6 duties from each role, as below.
Example of work experience for an international student CV
Administrative Assistant | 07/2021 – 05/2022
K&T Logistics – Liverpool
- Prepared newspapers with inserts and leaflets
- Delivered to 50+ houses in local area
- Collected payment from customers by cheque and cash
International student CV skills
Even with the right experience and education, it’s important to highlight a number of competencies on your international student CV. The best way to do so is with a dedicated CV skills section, though this varies depending on the format you use.
On a skills-based CV, ability takes centre stage. It comes straight after the personal statement with a few points to exemplify or break down each competency. For a reverse-chronological CV, skills should be listed briefly in a bullet-point list.
Whatever the case, you’ll need to know what to include. In some cases, these will need to be tailored to the job you’re applying for, such as cash handling for a retail job. However, there are also a number of transferable qualities that recruiters are looking for – and that most international students possess.
Essential skills for an international student
- Research ability
- Computer literate
- Quick learner
- Clear communication
- Well organised
Desirable aptitudes to set you apart
- Specific industry knowledge
- Analytical approach
- Problem solving
- Attention to detail
- Time management
Outlining education on an international student CV
Education is one of the trickier parts of a CV for international students, because you’ll typically have qualifications from your native country. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include them. It just requires a little more work to ‘translate’ them into qualifications that recruiters are familiar with.
Qualifications to include
Even if you haven’t completed your current course yet, it’s still a good idea to include it within your international student CV. You can do so in your personal statement, mentioning the course you’re studying. Or you can list an expected degree in your education section. This lets employers know more about the subjects you’re studying and your experience with relevant topics.
Whilst it’s important not to delve too far back into your education history, it can help to include some details of your qualifications at secondary/high school level as well as college before university. International students will need to show they have equivalent qualifications to this level of study. When listing qualifications from other countries, it’s good practice to clarify what the UK equivalent is on your international student CV.
What information do recruiters need?
So, how should you display this information? You’ll need to list out your education section in a similar style to our CV sample for an international student.
- Date – Include the date the qualification was achieved. If you’re still working on it, you can list the date it will be completed or omit the date altogether and write ‘expected’.
- Level of qualification – This can include the type of qualification and the grade. You can also include prospective grades.
- Institution – You’ll need to include the name of the institution you studied at, including the location.
Example of education for an international student CV
Charlotte-Wolff-Kolleg – Berlin | Abitur
A-Level Equivalent, 2021
Dos and don’ts for your international student CV
- Do write in plain English As an international student, you might be tempted to show off your mastery of the English language with complex words and winding sentences. However, this can make it much harder for recruiters to read and find out about your expertise and experience. Instead, short sentences and simple language are best when writing a CV for international students.
- Do target the job at hand In some countries, it’s standard practice to use the same CV for all applications. In the UK, it’s usually best to tailor your CV for each job you find. That doesn’t have to mean a complete re-write. Simply read through the job description to find out how your ability and experience match the requirements, then emphasise them whenever possible in your CV.
- DON’T forget to hit key phrases Another UK recruitment practice you might not be aware of is the use of Applicant Tracking Software. This is often used to scan CVs for key phrases and filter down the number of candidates. To make sure your international student CV meets the grade, check the job listing for key phrases and include them in your CV.
- DON’T forget to use pre-made design To create the right first impression, your international student CV should be visually on-point. Unfortunately, that’s not the case if it’s a bland Word document – and it can take hours of effort to get it right if you start from scratch. Using a pre-made CV template will give you the look you’re after without the effort, so you can focus on that all-important content.
Your international student CV questions answered
How do I write a CV for a foreign country?
Here are the steps to writing a CV for a foreign country:
- Check the CV standards for the country you want to apply to
- Add your contact details, don’t forget to include the country code if you are using a foreign phone number
- Write a brief professional summary
- State your work experience
- List relevant hard and soft skills and languages.
- Finally, list your education and relevant certificates
- Add a photo if the country you are applying to requires it
- Check your CV for errors
What is an international CV?
Generally speaking, an international CV is a CV that can be used to apply to jobs in other countries. This CV can be adapted to the CV writing conventions of the country in question. You may need to include further details, such as your visa status or details of any other foreign languages you speak. If you’re applying to a job in Europe, you should pay special attention to the CV format required, as it may be more appropriate to use the specific European CV structure.
How can I make my international CV as a student?
A CV for international students in the UK should include any work experience you have, either in the UK or your home country. Qualifications should be listed with UK equivalents to make things clear for recruiters. You should also include plenty of transferable selling points like communication, research, and computer literacy, which are valuable across the globe.
Will I need to take additional courses?
Depending on where you go, you may need to take additional courses. In short, anything that strengthens your application is a bonus. Here are some examples:
- Microsoft Office for beginners
- Software development courses
- Learn simple HTML
- Inbound marketing
- Customer service qualifications
- Health and safety
You’ll be able to find a range of free and paid courses for all of the above. You should aim to find courses that bolster your skills for specific job roles.
Start your international student CV today
You’ve seen our CV sample for international students and read all the best advice for every section of your CV and check our top-rated CV examples. All that’s left to do now is build your own.
Our online maker is loaded with pre-made CV templates and polished content for a wide range of roles, so you can simply cherry pick the best fit for your capabilities and experience.