Developing a resume is one of the first steps taken towards finding a job. For those who are not native speakers writing a resume in English can be very challenging and might require a lot of research and proofreading.
To help you here are 10 tips on creating a great resume in English, according to North American standards:
Watch the video lesson: Tips for Writing a Great Resume in English
1. Contact Information Goes to the Heading
Your heading should include your full name, address with the postal code, phone number and email. If your email address doesn’t look professional, change it before including it on your resume.
2. Stay Away from Anything Personal
Don’t mention anything personal that is not related to the job. Age, date of birth, marital status, and social insurance number shouldn’t be mentioned at all. The use of photos is not recommended either unless your personal appearance is a key to this particular job. For example: TV host, movie actor.
3. Create a Clear Objective
Your career objective statement should be short, clear and to the point. It is an objective relevant to your current resume not to your personal plans for the next five years. Don’t forget to mention the specific position you are interested in, and a professional summary, proving that you are qualified for this job.
4. Leave Some Information for the Skills and Qualifications Section
The Education and Skills & Qualifications sections are two different things. Degrees, school or university name, year of graduation go in the Education section of your resume. Recent graduates might also consider mentioning their grade point average and honours. Professionals who are midway into their careers may list their education after the Work Experience section, as this brings more attention to their professional and practical achievements.
Skills, computer literacy, certificates, languages etc. go in the Skills & Qualifications section and must be relevant to the job you are applying for and to your objective.
5. Don’t Forget to Mention Your Volunteer Experience
If you are a recent college or university graduate with no work experience, or someone looking for a career change, it’s time to think about building your skills through volunteering or internships. Try to find a volunteering experience related to your desired job, so you get a set of skills needed for this particular position. Volunteering also demonstrates that you are willing to make a contribution to society without requiring a paycheck. This is usually seen as a positive attribute.
6. Use Action Verbs and Numbers
The use of action verbs and numbers helps to demonstrate accomplishment, especially when it comes to the description of your qualifications and work experience. Simply listing your duties and responsibilities is not enough; add some impact to your work experience, mention the numbers of new clients you attracted to a company, the results of the campaign you implemented, the percentage of increase in annual sales you contributed to, etc.
7. Use Buzzwords
Remember that your resume may be read by a computer. Resume-scanning software is set up in a way that it picks up keywords and industry jargon related to a certain job posting. Before writing a resume, re-read the job description and write down all the buzzwords you see. These are usually nouns. It will help you to create an effective resume and cover letter.
8. Don’t be Afraid to Use a Second Page
A one-page resume is a commonly-used recommendation which is hardly realistic to follow. Don’t feel that you must limit the resume to one page, think about the most relevant information you better include on this page. If you do use a second page, include a header with your name and contact information at the top of this page. Be sure to leave some “white space” on your resume; crowding all your information on to one page makes it difficult to highlight the important information.
9. Review Your References
Prepare the list of your references in advance as almost every employer asks for it, if not up front, then after the first interview or two. The most common practice is putting the phrase “References available upon request” at the bottom of your resume.
Your references’ contacts must be good as they will certainly be checked! For references prepare a separate page with the same header you used for the resume.
While preparing a resume, don’t forget to write a cover letter. There are fewer chances that you will be invited to an interview without a well-written cover letter.
A cover letter reveals information and skills that often can’t be demonstrated in a resume, such as the ability to communicate in writing, personal writing style, professionalism, attention to details in grammar, punctuation, and spelling, initiative and more. So, remember to devote some time to writing an effective cover letter and meticulously proofread it, along with your resume.