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If you are not from the United States, then writing a US resume for the first time can be daunting. Follow these tips to create a job-winning resume.
If you want to get a job in the United States as a foreign national, then you will need to update your resume to meet formatting and employer requirements. This article will help you to understand what recruiters expect from your resume and cover letter.
An American resume, or more specifically a US resume, is a document that’s 1-2 pages long and provides a snapshot of who a job seeker is and what makes them right for a specific role. While a US resume may be called a CV (or curriculum vitae) in some other countries, note that in the US, a CV is a comprehensive view of a job seeker's work history, achievements, and academic background, while a resume is a more targeted document that focuses on relevant skills and achievements. Most job postings in the US will require a resume rather than a CV. You should only provide a CV if it is specifically asked for.
The formatting requirements of a US resume are pretty simple; you should have .5 to 1 inch margins all-around, a professional font in 12 pt, in a clear and professional sans serif fonts like Arial or Calibri. To help speed up the resume creation process, try using resume templates that are in line with US formatting requirements. You can also read relevant resume examples for similar jobs to give you inspiration.
When the time comes to write your own US resume, you will need to include these basic sections:
Your professional resume header should include your full name, your phone number, email address and any other relevant contact information. You can also include your professional links (for example, your LinkedIn profile).
Directly below your header, you should include your resume summary statement or objective summary. A summary statement provides an overview of your best qualifications and skills. This is the best choice if you have a decent amount of work experience. If you have a short work history or are a first-time job seeker, then consider a resume objective, which feature skills and includes a statement of career goals and intent.
The skills section of any resume should include 8 to 12 relevant skills (more if you’re writing a functional, or more skills-based resume). In order to provide a structured, clean-cut appearance, you should utilize bullet points. Your skills list should include technical skills, hard skills, and soft skills. This will be crucial to helping your resume rank well in applicant tracking systems (ATS) that will scan resumes to see if your skills and the skills mentioned in the job posting match. For example, if you want to apply to be an architect, then you might list the following skills to make sure your job application is successful:
Your work experience section should be presented in reverse-chronological order, with your most recent experience first. Include up to the last ten years of work history unless the job posting specifies otherwise. Hiring managers will look for specific job titles and relevant experience when scanning a resume, so be sure to list your specific positions properly. If you want to create the best resume possible, feature major responsibilities and achievements from each role that fit the job you’re applying to.
List on your most advanced and relevant academic achievements only; your high school GPA won’t be needed, for example. This section can be particularly valuable if you’re applying for a highly specialized or advanced role where a particular skill set is needed, and you can show certifications or advanced training in these areas.
You can also include sections for internships, professional certifications, volunteer work, and any other information you think might be valuable to your job application.
While you could do this, it is far better to take the time to ensure that your resume is properly formatted and fully in line with US requirements. The best way to do this is to create a new resume from scratch using the information from your current resume.
Every country has slightly different formatting guidelines for resumes and CV’s. For example, a resume in the United States should be no more than two pages in most cases, while it can be longer in some other countries. You can use the ResumeNerd resume builder to help you create a resume that is in line with US formatting guidelines.
You should not include your personal social media link on a US resume (though professional social media link like your LinkedIn profile is acceptable). You should also refrain from including information about your private life (for example, your marital status). Finally, you should not include a picture with your resume, as this can cause US employers to discard your application due to policies against discrimination.