CV writing in Asia

Writing a great CV can help land you your dream job.

Many expats are lured to Asia with the thought of low living costs coupled with relatively high wages. For native English speakers teaching is the go-to job, but there are lots of others on offer, especially for skilled candidates who speak more than one language.

If you are coming from Europe or North America, you might be surprised at how detailed CVs tend to be in Asia. Tailoring your CV to Asian standards shows cultural awareness and can help you land your perfect job.


In Japan there is a set CV template, a Rirekisho – this is a standard format and is not flexible. It includes personal information as well as a photo and should be handwritten. Ideally of course you should hand-write it in Japanese as employers believe a lot can be discovered from your hand writing.

You can also submit an English version of your CV, especially if you are applying for a teaching position or work in an international company.


CVs in China are more flexible than those in Japan. You will be expected to provide two copies however, one in Chinese and one in English.

Education and previous work experience should be listed anti-chronologically, that is from the longest ago to the most recent. Personal information is again included, as well as a professional picture.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong tends to have a more Western approach to CVs. You will still be expected to provide some personal information and for customer-facing roles such as teaching you should include a professional looking photo.

The format is the same as in Europe with education, skills and work experience. You should match your CV to the job and always include a tailored cover letter. Many employers expect to see your expected salary figure somewhere in your application.

General CV writing tips for Asia

For a role in Asia, you should generally expect to write a CV rather than a resume. A CV tends to be longer with more details about your education, skills and experience.

When applying for a job, for anything from teaching to wealth management, your CV content will essentially be the same. The length will vary, CV for financial positions tend to be one page.

Those applying for more creative jobs such as architects and designers will attach their portfolio, thus lengthening the CV. You should always try to keep your CV to two pages maximum without leaving out too much essential information.

Unlike the lack of personal details in resumes or CVs in the USA, the following are commonly included on CVs in Asia:

  • professional looking photo
  • personal information – date of birth, nationality, visa status
  • contact information
  • interests
  • language ability and any formal certificates you have regarding language
  • marital status (number and ages of children is commonly included in China)
  • gender (even with your given name it might not be possible for recruiters to know your gender.)

If you are applying for an English teaching job it is unlikely you will need to submit a CV in the language of the country you’re applying in. Rather, a CV in English is preferred and a picture is normally required.

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Have you written a CV for a job in Asia? How did you format it? What advice would you give job-seekers? Let us know in the comments below!