The US Resume Writing Guide
Working abroad sounds like an adventure to many people. However, work in the US requires thorough preparation, starting with a successful application. It requires more than just the obvious US cover letter and US resume writing and translation. You will face issues that probably did not even cross your mind when you become interested in the US jobs.
Do not underestimate the influence they can have on your adventure! For instance, you will experience the different immigration rules and practices, job application procedures, the selection trends and the management culture.
In the US, the term resume is used instead of CV. In short, the resume is an American-style CV, which details the most recent job first and highlights the main aspects of your career. It is less structured, in a narrative style and more brief than a CV. It is also more subjective.
You can turn your updated CV into a resume by shortening some descriptions of your educational and professional experiences.
In recent years it become increasingly popular to join the LinkedIn or XING social networking websites for professionals, where you may search for jobs and have your keyword-optimized, rich content profile with current resume. Hiring managers use them more frequently to consult your profile and supplement or check against the resume you send along. If you do not have an account, create one and include your social media link(s) on your resume.
However, you should manage your online presence. You should eliminate any photos that could reflect poorly on you. From an employer’s point of view, someone who emphasizes partying on a social networking site is not focused on jobs and those who post complaints about work or colleagues are less desirable candidates. Online resumes should not include sensitive information as they could show lack of respect for confidentiality and discretion.
It all starts with your resume. Prepare yourself - before writing your resume research the company you want to work for. Such information will help you to adapt your resume more effectively to each specific job and use proper examples illustrating your achievements.
Depending on length of work experience, most employers in the US prefer one to two page resume printed in reverse-chronological order - starting with what you have done most recently.
Keyword resumes are also popular. Keyword resumes use keywords and phrases, specific to your field, throughout your resume for screening and ranking by a computer. To be most effective, first optimize your resume as a keyword resume. Keywords are typically nouns that reflect skills and experience sought by a potential employer. If your resume has been selected and ranked by a computer, a human screener will then review it; hence, it is important to balance keyword elements with traditional action words and other key phrases that elicit a positive response from the human reviewer.
The aim of your resume should be to persuade job recruiters to invite you for a job interview. Therefore, your resume is a marketing tool, which should be adapted to the market in which you intend to use it. Write an introduction that contains many power keywords and action verbs. Scanners that are programmed to select specific words notice these keywords.
Start your US resume with your name, address and e-mail address. Often resumes are kept on file for long periods, so any contact details you give have to remain accurate in the long term. A daytime phone number, with the international access code, are most important ones.
The main feature of the US resume is the objective and/or goal of your career. Clear, precise and operational “Career Objective” should use short and punchy sentences filled with action verbs and power words. It contains information about the function, the level of responsibility and the type of enterprise you would like to work for.
Follow the career objective with a “Work Experience”. Bear in mind, that looking for a job in the USA, is much like selling a product. You are selling yourself, so again use power words and action verbs that describe your achievements and accomplishments as contributed, organized, demonstrated, trained, managed, developed, coordinated etc.
Make your US resume more effective by providing examples that fit the job, to illustrate your achievements. For maximum impact, bullet point these at the start of a sentence. That enhances your qualifications and experience in sharp, focused, upscale and aggressive manner.
Start with your recent employment first and work backwards. List your job title, the name, location, and focus of the business, your responsibilities, accomplishments and awards.
In “Education”, list with dates of attendance the names of academic institutions and they locations, areas of study and majors/diplomas/degrees. Mention additional courses and training, and special skills such as computer programs and languages in which you are proficient. Mention your native tongue and describe level of fluency for the other languages with reference to the spoken and written levels.
Carefully consider what to leave out of your resume and exclude anything that might give prospective employers a chance to discriminate against you. For example your age, sex, race, marital status, whether you hold a current driving license, etc. and never include a photo.
Finally close your resume with “References available on request”. It is best to avoid putting references on your resume unless you have been specifically asked to provide them. Employers usually ask for references when they actually need them. This is strong indication that an employer is interested in you. Because references are usually verified, inform your referees in advance.
It is very common in the US to apply for a job through the Internet. However, you should be aware that an electronic resume does not look the same as a standard printed resume, so make your resume scannable by avoiding for example lines, bold or italic fonts etc.
Finally, most employers expect your resume to be sent together with a cover letter. Always include a cover letter with your resume, but never attach any official documents, like diplomas or testimonials to your application.
Check the spelling and grammar of your US resume. Use the word processor's spell and grammar checker. If you are not confident of your ability to detect grammatical, punctuation and English or other language usage errors or if you need help in organizing your US resume, send it to a professional for assistance.
We recommend that you send your resumes together with cover letters. If you have a difficulty with your cover letter writing use:
Other US Resume Info
Good luck with your US resume!