How to Write a Résumé in English
Hoping to apply to a job now or in the future in an English-speaking country? It’s never too early to start setting up your résumé or CV!
Depending on where you’d like to work, the format of your document will change slightly. When applying to jobs in the North America, aim to have a one-page résumé highlighting your work experience, skills, education, and other important information. In the UK, by contrast, job applicants will typically submit a two-page CV.
The résumé format
The word “résumé,” sometimes written without the accents simply as “resume,” is the French word for “summary.” It’s a summary of why an employer should hire you, and shouldn’t be more than a single page – employers look through many of these and are unlikely to hire you if you expect them to read pages and pages of information! Alongside a résumé, you'll usually need to submit a cover letter with a few paragraphs explaining why you are interested and what makes you an ideal candidate.
Here are some tips for creating your résumé
- Résumés should include your name in large letters at the top so that the hiring manager will remember whose information he or she is looking at. Put your contact information below your name, including address, phone number, and email address.
- Depending on how much work experience you have, you can choose whether to start the résumé with a description of your education, or put this information at the bottom. Include the name(s) of your degree(s) and of the school(s) you attended, your grade point average as applicable, and, if you think it’s helpful, relevant courses you took at school.
- Current students or recent graduates should put this information first – particularly if the school you attended is well known – whereas this would be odd for someone who graduated many years before.
- List your work experience beginning with the most recent or relevant, and then work your way backwards. Include the title of your position, the name of the company, the dates you worked there, and the city where you worked.
- Beneath each experience, list a few points describing, concisely but in detail, what it was you did there. Using active words like “managed,” “gained experience,” “assisted,” etc. will make you sound impressive and highlight your abilities.
- It can also be useful at the bottom of the page to list other skills, such as computer skills, certificates or awards you’ve received, and, of course, languages you speak!
- In the past it was common to include a section for references at the end. If you have extra space, feel free to include this information, but oftentimes it’s better to use this space to include more experiences or skills. Then you can discuss references if and when you are offered an interview!
A “CV” in the US, by contrast, is much more extensive than a résumé and is generally used for academic or medical positions. It’s not uncommon for these to be 10 or 20 pages long! CV stands for curriculum vitae, Latin for "the course of my life."
Any other questions about English résumés? Let us know in the comments!