Effective Resume for Job Applications in USA
Landing an interview is a race against the clock—dozens of job seekers have already written their CV and Resume and applied for their dream job. It is an uphill task to beat all others and emerge victorious here. Thousands of resume templates are available on the internet nowadays and by now most people know what to put in
their resumes, but it’s the presentation of the content that makes the difference between your resume getting selected and ending up in the trash can.
For most international students seeking a job in USA after graduation, it is very important to understand the difference between a CV and resume because what most
of the rest of the world call a curriculum vitae (CV), US calls it a resume.
A CV (full form Curriculum Vitae which is Latin for “course of life”) is a detailed document describing the whole course of your career. It’s usually two – or three-page long but can just as well be laid out over 10+ pages, if necessary. A CV includes detailed description about your education, professional career, publications, awards, honors, and other achievements.
A resume (or résumé, from French “to sum up”) is a short, concise document used for job applications in the US. The resume provides recruiters with a brief overview of the candidate’s work history along with core competencies and educational background. A good resume should be targeted at a specific job and one to two pages long, preferably limited to one page.
Choose the Right Resume Format
You need to select the appropriate resume format before putting your info into the resume template. Most job applicants in the US choose the reverse-chronological resume template. List your most recent positions first, and go back through past jobs in reverse-chronological order from there. Generally, it tends to be the easiest to read and scan.
There are several studies indicating relationships between resume cues and the applicant’s personality and potential to be hired. Necessary contact information includes your full name, personal cell phone preferred over home phone number and email address which is today’s preferred means of communication. It is also recommended to include your LinkedIn profile URL to give them a better idea of what you have to offer professionally. Also links to your social media, blogs and website can be included if they are relevant to the job.
Start with a Heading Statement (Resume Summary or Resume Objective)
A recruiter spends an average of just 6 seconds skimming resumes, initially. That’s why a professional resume heading statement is so critical. The statement will
paint an attractive image of your candidacy. Your resume summary statement or resume objective statement is most likely to have the maximum eye time since
it’s at the top of the page. If you have got an enough relevant experience, choose an appropriate resume summary including your position-related skills and
qualifications. Choose the resume objective statement if you have no work experience at all, or at least none related to the position you’re applying for and highlight transferable skills from other areas. Avoid using first-person.
List Your Relevant Work Experience & Key Achievements
Your employment history will include job titles, locations, dates employed, key responsibilities and key achievements. Use five or six bullet points to make your case in each entry’s responsibilities and achievements. Hiring practices have modernized and most companies are turning to applicant tracking systems (ATS) to automate the early stages of the recruitment process. Make sure you incorporate buzzwords of your industry into the sentences you are about to write. Keywords are the nouns or short phrases that describe your experience and education that might be used to find your CV and Resume in a keyword search of a resume database. Go through the job descriptions and requirements of the positions you are applying and include keywords directly from those descriptions so that when the ATS scans your resume, it gives a higher match percentage and maximizes your chances of landing an interview.
Also, don’t use the same, tired words (“responsible for…”) in your resume job experience area. Instead, choose power words and action verbs which will keep them interested. Quantify whenever possible such as “increased annual revenue by 10%” or reduced operating cost by 7%”. Convince the recruiter that you will be able to generate a significant return on their investment in you.
Finally, don’t use passive voice, as it feels evasive and unclear. Instead, choose active voice when writing a resume, as it’s concise and to the point.
Put Relevant Skills that Fit the Job
When you consider how to create a CV and Resume that will definitely stand out, it absolutely makes sense to have a big section labeled “SKILLS” or COMPETENCIES”. Use the key job-related skills and keywords listed in that description and requirements to increase your match percentage when scanned by ATS. But not every skill is worth mentioning, the skills should be relevant.
List Your Education Correctly
Do not treat education as an afterthought. Put your highest degree first and add any other degrees after in reverse-chronological order. You can also add any
relevant coursework, honors, or awards you received. If you have little or no working experience, place your education on top of your experience section.
Hobbies and Interests: They subtly proves your ability to work well in a team.
Volunteer work: Volunteering boosts employability as it is a great way to show your commitment and values and emphasized that money is not the only thing you care about.
Certifications and Awards: If they are relevant, they add a lot of value.
Languages: Listing language skills only extends your usefulness as an employee in multinational companies.
Things that you should not forget
Save, email and upload your resume in PDF format so recruiters get a nice, clean document that doesn’t cause formatting issues. Use a resume naming convention
across that includes your name, hyphens or underscores, the position you’re targeting, and the word resume. Go for single line spacing, and 11pt or 12pt font size for the regular text, 14pt-16pt font size for section titles. Avoid making your CV and Resume margins too small. Choose a standard font like Cambria, Calibri, Arial, Times New Roman, or Helvetica as they will render correctly on most machine. Consistency on your resume draft is crucial, just like your consistency as their future employee. For example, format your dates any way you’d like (31 Dec, December 31, 12-2019, etc.), but follow the same throughout. Finally, don’t forget to proofread!
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