Why foreign recruiters won’t hire you (and how to change that)

Recent graduates have a hard time finding jobs straight out of university. What’s even harder is joining a massive pool of graduates from another culture and continent who automatically have a leg up on you—the right to work there.

Everyone graduates with pretty basic skill sets, similar work experience, and the need to earn money to pay off debt. Even though you may be similarly qualified in a foreign pool of candidates, you’re systematically farther behind.

What sets you behind:

You have no clue how to write a CV.

After years of drillings on how to write a concise, one-page resume that removes your identity but shows your skills, a CV is an entirely new concept. And if you don’t have a good one you won’t stand out.

How to fix it: Follow my guides on writing a perfect CV, plus check out the small mistakes you might be making.

Your grades/extracurriculars don’t matter.

GPA doesn’t exist in other countries and neither does the concept of majors and minors. Credits don’t add up the same, and summa cum laude means nothing to foreign ears. The acronym for your student organization will only elicit confusion. And, as the cherry on top, Greek life is something the U.S. made up and it matters solely to recruiters in the U.S. (and even then only really to the ones who participated).

How to fix it: Sounding bleak? Even though it is difficult to stand out when all of your accomplishments are reduced to nonsensical letters on a page, the solution involves one simple thing: explanation. Find the equivalent of your honors in the country you’re applying (i.e. summa cum laude = first class honours in the U.K.). Write out your student organization and list what it did. Make it easy for a recruiter to pick out that you’re great.

Get personal.

One recruiter I’ve spoken with actually said she skips straight to your ‘interests’ section and if nothing stands out, she tosses your CV. Recruiters in the UK take a more personal look at you and your circumstances than in the States.

How to fix it: The obvious solution? Stand out. UK and foreign recruiters care about you. They want to know if you’ll adapt well enough to stay and benefit their company long-term and if you’ll fit into the company’s culture. Let your personality shine through on your CV and you’ll stand a better chance of scoring an interview.

You have no right to work.

Ah, the biggie. A right to work means the government has okayed your right to live and earn wages in their country. Usually, this means you have secured a proper working visa or are a citizen by birth. Without it, hiring you would be more work for them, and therefore sends your CV straight into the bin.

How to fix it: This dilemma is harder to solve, but is possible. Look into short-term working visas and sponsorships through BUNAC.

A few small changes and you’ll be well on your way to living and working in the country of your dreams.

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