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I'm applying to work at an office in Germany of a company who's head office is in the US.

The expected resume format is quite different between these locations. German resumes usually include a photo, hobbies, nationality and marital status, for example, while at least some of those things definitely shouldn't appear on a US resume, and whether to include the others would be arguable. So which format should I use?

Does the company size matter? This particular company is quite a small startup (less than 50 people in total) that might not even have an HR department in Germany, but I've wondered the same thing about much bigger international companies with 100s to 1000s of employees in a local branch.

  • Could you indicate what is "expected resume format"? Resume formats can be very different, but I don't recall now hearing that a company "expects" applicants to use a specific format (if they did at lest they should provide it) – DarkCygnus Nov 29 '19 at 22:31
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    Not sure why the format would be different... I have always had one resume. As long as it's logical, organized and contains the right information, it's fine. – Catsunami Nov 29 '19 at 22:36
  • @DarkCygnus See edit. – NotThatGuy Nov 29 '19 at 22:41
  • Thanks, and how is your "usual" resume format? More US-like or more German-like? Did this company tell you what format they expect or have you asked already? – DarkCygnus Nov 29 '19 at 22:52
  • @DarkCygnus I don't really have a "usual" format. I have a version in each format that I switch between based on where I apply. They haven't said which format they expect and I haven't asked. – NotThatGuy Nov 29 '19 at 23:02
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So which format should I use?

I suggest you contact this company and ask if they have a specific resume format they expect. Then you can see if you need to adapt yours.

If you are unable to get this information, it would make more sense to use the Germany format, as their offices are located there (and is where you will be working if accepted) even though their head offices are in the US.

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Historically, almost all hiring would be managed and reviewed locally, even with an international organisation. I would say that this would still be the majority case where a local branch doing the hiring. This is because the local branch is familiar with their own culture and needs.

So, I would assume that it is the local branch reviewing and deciding on applicants and provide what would be the format most as appropriate to your local culture.

If it's a remote position, however, that might be trickier. One thing to consider is that other applicants will likely send the resume in the same format as they would to a local organisation, so it probably wouldn't hurt if you did the same.

If you would like to be sure, though, you could try and reach out to the company and ask them what their own preference is. A reasonable person would respond fairly positively to this kind of enquiry.

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I would choose the format based on the name of the recipient. If it's a german name, the german format would probably suit them better.

By the way, naming hobbies is pretty outdated for german applications by now, so you can leave those out if you prefer. The picture is most important.

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