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The "resume" (known in other countries as a "Curriculum Vitae" or "CV") is where your work or other experience is laid out in a more outline-type form. Usually accompanied by a more literary and personal cover letter, a resume should clearly show any interested employers exactly what skills they can expect from you and why they should hire you! The presentation and content of resumes and CVs varies from country to country, so take into account the following notes we have prepared for you on how to write a resume for the USA.

Do not be fooled: an American Curriculum Vitae is NOT the same as a European CV. What Europeans know as a "Curriculum Vitae" (or "CV") is called a "resume" in the US. A resume is written by anyone applying for a job. However, in America, a "Curriculum Vitae" is a longer document and is usually written only by a researcher, educator, or academic.

If you are applying for a research or academic job in the US that requests a CV, basically a CV is a lengthy document that lists all of the researcher's achievements, including his or her educational background, scientific papers and experiments, teaching experience and awards received. For more information on writing a CV in the USA, visit this excellent site.


Do not include a heading; start your resume with your contact information.

Contact Information:
Relevant personal contact information at the top of the page including:

  • name
  • phone number
  • fax number
  • address
  • email address.

It is recommended that you do NOT list your gender, race, religion or marital status, unless it is appropriate and relevant for the job. In America, employers are under legal obligation to be fair and to not discriminate against applicants because of their gender, race, or sexual orientation.

Though in general many employers try to be fair, some employers who fear being sued for discrimination may systematically discard any applications that mention these characteristics in an attempt to insure these qualities don't affect the first round of the application process. Clearly, this is not the case if gender or race is important or relevant to the job, as is the case with acting or other jobs in which certain characteristics are sought after.

Some career experts recommend describing your objective in the process of your job search just below the contact information. An example of an objective can be seen in the resume model. Some recommend against including an 'objective', and some employers don't care for it either. There is no hard and fast rule about whether or not to use it. Generally, the point made in the 'objective' will be made in the cover letter (separate from the resume), so it is probably fine to omit it.

Professional Experience:
Read about how to list your work experience in two types of resumes:

Whether you opt for listing your experience chronologically or functionally, it is best to fill your work experience with keywords such as the ones listed here, which highlight your past accomplishments and clearly indicate your skills. Keywords grab a human reader's attention, but are especially important now because employers may scan your resume into a database and then search for certain keywords relevant to the job. Read how to best prepare your resume so that it will be liked by a computer in our section on resumes for the Internet.

This section should come before work experience if you are in school or have been out of school for one to three years, depending on your level of work experience and how relevant your education is to your career. If you have a high Grade Point Average (3.5 or above, equivalent to an A- or A), include it on your resume. If you attended college, list the name of the college and what you got your degree in. If you recently graduated or have taken courses highly relevant to the job for which you are applying, list those.

Certificates & Diplomas
Courses, seminars, congresses or conferences that are relevant in relation to the position. Long or prestigious courses are also interesting. Point out a course's duration in hours. Do not write down the ones that are not relevant or recent. List these in a chronologically inverse order.

Since this may be relevant to an international job, you should list which languages you speak and your level: advanced, intermediate or beginner. Point out if you can translate, speak, or write in each language and list any associated degrees.

Computer Skills:
Programs, applications, etc. Word processing, database, Internet, etc.

Personal Information:
At the end of the resume you should include a brief section where you can list personal information such as hobbies or interests. This can be called something like "Other Interests," or "Skills or Interests." Here you should, very succinctly, list some of your hobbies, each in no more than three words. It's great if these are relevant to your job, but if they aren't these hobbies can simply reveal something about your personality. Interviewers commonly use this section as an icebreaker and as a source for starting a more relaxed, less formal conversation.

Other things to keep in mind

  • Your resume must be short - one or two pages at the most.
  • Print original copies on high quality paper - don't send photocopies.
  • Be neat: take care with the presentation, design, spaces, and spelling of your resume. Don't use abbreviations. Emphasize sections and things that are important with underlines or bold type.
  • Make sure your resume is as organized as possible, so the information can be found easily.
  • You do not need to date or sign your resume.
  • Make a different resume for each job you are applying to, and adapt it to best fit the position sought and the company's needs.
  • Photos are not required and are discouraged for legal reasons. Photos indicate your race and gender, and employers do not need to know this information unless it is relevant to the job. Do not send photos except for appropriate jobs (as a model, actor, or hostess).
  • Write your resume in third person of the singular form.
  • Emphasize your skills and achievements without lying.
  • If you have finished the military service in your country, mention it. If not, don't mention it at all.
  • Saying your marital status is not recommended unless directly relevant.
  • Do not attach diplomas or documents unless asked to.
  • Attach a cover letter with the resume.
  • If you have studied abroad, don't forget to mention it!
  • And finally, check the whole resume again.
Now that you have learned how to write a resume, check out our model resume for the USA.
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