A well-written resume is the first step to pursuing your dream career in the US, Canada or the UK. However, simply translating your old resume into English won’t work, as the requirements to resumes and the screening process vary from country to country. Here’s what abroad candidates should do to perfect their English resumeand land their first job in no time.
Willingness to take career risk and move abroad is a huge step, so you don’t want to fall short. To land a new job quicker, you need to learn the basics of resume writing in the US as well as possess excellent writing skills to avoid dropping out of competition due to grammar mistakes. If you want to get an effective resume with no effort, consider using our resume writer services. We understand all the difficulties that ESL job-seekers face and can prepare a fully customized, result-focused resume for you. Our writers possess the understanding of hiring process and awareness of the recent resume trends. Resume is the ticket for an interview; so, claim yours by contacting us in the form below.
Build my resume: Twenty basic rules for an English resume
Business etiquette and local traditions set a whole different set of requirements to resume writing in different parts of the globe. In some countries, it’s common to apply with a CV while in others you’ll be expected to send in a resume. Some cultures encourage you to provide personal detail while the others see it as a basis for discrimination. Below you will find the key principles you should use when adapting your resume for job search in the US or Canada:
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Put your name and contact details at the top of the document
Your resume heading should include your full name, local address (no need to mention your international address), phone number, e-mail and LinkedIn profile (the latter is strongly recommended, but still optional). Be sure to include a zip code as some employers will research it to find out whether you’ll be comfortable commuting.
- Avoid including personal detail
US resume standards dictate that the document should be focused on job-related information only. So, your ethnicity, nationality, age, marital status, let alone the picture, should NOT present on your resume. Moreover, these details may even prevent you from getting interviews, as the employers don’t consider resumes with private information to avoid discrimination claims.
- Always use keywords
The hiring process in the US is automated, which means that your resume will be scanned by software first and only read by a human if it passes the software selection. This is done to ease the job of HR managers and weed out the irrelevant application. The bad news is that if your resume isn’t optimized for this software, it’s likely to be recognized as irrelevant and eliminated out of consideration.
How to use those keywords? Be sure that your resume contains the names of the skills and responsibilities that match the job posting and the job description in general. For more information, read our guide on keyword optimization: http://resumeperk.com/blog/why-keywords-are-so-important-for-successful-resume.
- Don’t include pronouns
A resume shouldn’t contain pronouns of any kind (i.e. I, me, they, etc.) as it is meant to be a factual document. Moreover, the resume itself is totally focused on you as it has your name at the top, and the sentences will sound more direct without pronouns. In its turn, including them is also considered as a bad tone and shows your unawareness of the rules of resume writing.
- Keep your English proficiency out
While at home, advanced English knowledge definitely gave you a competitive advantage on the job market. In the US or Canada, this is a must. So, remove your English proficiency or results of tests such as TOEFL. You can mention fluency in your native language (Italic, for instance), though.
- Use strong action verbs
Using powerful action verbs is a trick which can completely transform your resume. If every sentence in your job history starts with “Managed”, “Was responsible for” and likewise verbs, it’s time for a change. Replacing them with powerful verbs such as “Orchestrated”, “Spearheaded” and “Influenced” will highlight your contribution and make your resume sound much stronger. Need an inspiration? Check our posting on what words to use in resume.
- Write about your overseas experience and education
Since you haven’t gained the US experience so far, it’s important that you include details on your previous jobs and education. The best format is to list your duties and accomplishments from past jobs in the form of bulleted list. However, don’t be overly detailed and limit yourself to 5-6 points for every role.
When listing your abroad professional history, it’s important that you give a frame of reference for the employer. If you worked for top companies, let them know – it will serve as an additional proof of your professionalism. For example, if your previous employer was the second largest manufacturing company in Germany, be sure to specify it after the company name, my resume builder recommends. If you’ve recently graduated, do so regarding your college as well.
- Make it 1-2 pages
In the US resumes are typically 1-2 pages long. CVs can be much longer, but they are only used to apply for jobs in academia. If your resume turns out to be over 2 pages, consider removing outdated and secondary information to focus on your professional strengths. Start with cutting off your irrelevant experience and the work history you had over 15 years ago. If you have an impressive list of credentials and job-related activities, it’s a good idea to give a link to your LinkedIn profile where you can go into deeper details on your career history.
Here are more details on choosing the perfect length for your resume: http://resumeperk.com/blog/perfect-length-of-your-resume.
- Include your accomplishments with numbers
Resume isn’t about listing your entire education and career history. It’s a self-promotional document where you can feel free to brag about your accomplishments. Moreover, it’s even expected that you showcase how much you have achieved during your career. To make your accomplishments eye-catchy, consider creating a separate section for them and strengthen your facts with numbers wherever possible.
- Start with an objective or executive summary
The most effective way to start your resume is by putting a career summary at the top of it. This section should summarize your qualifications for the role, your key skills and everything you have to offer to the prospective employer. Ideally, your summary should be written in a way that motivates the hiring manager to read the entire resume. Your summary section can be complemented with a list of relevant skills as well.
- Put your experience above education
If you have gained some professional experience, be sure to put it above your Education section as it’s your experience that potential employees are interested in most. If you are a student or career switcher, it is okay that you put your most relevant education right after the resume summary. However, be sure to prove that you have gained job-related skills, either through internships or part-time/voluntary work.
- Expand on your relevant experiences
It’s not only paid experience that should be presented on the resume. Volunteering, internships, community engagement, research experience all deserve being mentioned. Moreover, any unpaid projects apart from your full-time job increase the value of your resume as they show your dedication and commitment.
- Proofread it super carefully
Since English is not your first language your resume will require a lot of work during the proofreading stage. Awkward word usage, grammar issues and punctuation errors won’t help you in getting the desired job. Use dictionaries as you proofread and take your time to double check every grammar issue and make sure your resume is flawless. After that, it’s strongly recommended that you have a native speaker to have a look at it – if you entrust this task to a professional resume writer, it will benefit a lot for your job search.
Need to find a new job really fast? Check our boosting job search hints.
- Prepare a separate reference sheet
References are important as the employer is going to check your background before hiring. However, you needn’t make them a part of your resume. Create a separate list of your professional references (no personal ones!) to bring it for an interview or provide upon the employer’s request. Don’t put that “References available upon request” on your resume as it goes without saying.
Supplement your resume with a cover letter
Although in most cases a resume is sufficient to apply for job, it’s recommend that you send a covering letter as well. Basically, a cover letter is a one-page document explaining your interest in the role, the key qualifications and skills which will help you succeed if hired. Cover letter is good as it helps you to connect on the personal level with the HR manager and highlight the cultural fit.
How to write a good cover letter? First, remember to keep personal details out as well as in your resume. Second, get creative as you write – a cliché cover letter won’t give you any advantage over your competitors. Think of what makes you unique for an employer, and stick to it. And third, give more details on your most significant accomplishments. To help you out with cover letter writing, we have prepared a guide to writing winning cover letters.
Time to build your resume in English
Creating a resume in English is a challenge as it requires a lot of work and a whole different approach that you are used to. However, by taking advantage of the above tips from our expert writers, you’ll significantly improve your resume and get more chances to be noticed by employers.
Are you only planning on relocating to the US? In this case, a professionally written resume prepared for you in advance will save you a lot of time and nerves during your job search. Our company offers resume services worldwide, so you can order a resume and start browsing jobs while you’re still at home. Contact us, and our writer will prepare a quality copy for you, considering your career goals and the recent US hiring trends to help you land a job faster. It’s time to make the next career move – get your resume adopted for the US job search right now.
Have you ever written an English resume on your own?