There are many, many things in Thailand that make you do a double- or triple-take when you see them for the first time. Your brain says, “There’s no way that’d be allowed back home!” But then you realize that TIT (This is Thailand) and not everything works the way it does in the motherland. And not even crazy stuff like police bribes or mobs shutting down airports – I’m talking about little things. Dudes hanging from a rope painting the side of a building… secretaries in high heels walking on rutted sidewalks oblivious to buses whizzing by six inches away… construction workers in flip-flops… pit-stains at board meetings, etc. Another thing that’s likely to jump out at you if you stay here long enough is the info you’re expected to divulge on a resume.
Back home, a resume is pretty standard fare: name and contact details at top, description of job applied for and why you won’t screw it up, and a work history. At the bottom you might put some hobbies, and then ‘references available upon request’. You can sometimes get points by being a bit creative, but it’s a dangerous game; one of my friends back home once made his resume as if it was a three-page pamphlet selling a product (which happened to be him). It looked pretty slick actually, and it did end up getting him a job – although it was at Radio Shack, so we’ll just call it a draw.
At any rate, let me just list some of the things that you might find on a typical resume which might make you go “Whaaa…?”
- Picture – Most Thai resumes have this, actually. According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (aka EOE laws), this is a bad idea, and many companies won’t even look at a resume if it has a picture, lest they run afoul of EOE laws. In Thailand, it’s expected.
- Religion – Another EOE no-no, but most resumes will list it, even though 95% of the time it’s ‘Buddhist’. (Thais take their religion seriously – in a semi-related story, I was once at the Bangkok Christian Hospital, and when the form I had to fill out asked for my religion, I left it blank. The nurse literally ran after me to clarify what I meant).
- Marital Status – This can be particularly tricky in Thailand, as divorcees are often looked down upon. I doubt that’d even show up – ‘single’ would likely be given.
- Height, weight, hair color, etc – It’s almost like it’s a dating game.
Although much of this is by no means endemic only to Thailand, it sure is strange for the uninitiated. And, just in case – in Thailand they call a résumé a CV (curriculum vitae, course of life in Latin), a phrase which I’d never heard in Canada. Possibly because I never had a real job there.