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Advice with writing a resume

Advice with writing a resume

Old Feb 16th 2009, 9:48 am
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Default Advice with writing a resume

Hi, I'm new here so apologies if this has already been covered elsewhere but I haven't been able to find much advice on how to write a resume (as opposed to a British CV). My husband's been tentatively offered a job in Kirkland, Seattle, which we're seriously considering but the company want an official resume and interview. I'm trying to find some info on how a resume differs from a CV - can anyone point me in the right direction?

Many thanks!
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Old Feb 16th 2009, 11:17 am
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Default Re: Advice with writing a resume

Originally Posted by CherylH View Post
Hi, I'm new here so apologies if this has already been covered elsewhere but I haven't been able to find much advice on how to write a resume (as opposed to a British CV). My husband's been tentatively offered a job in Kirkland, Seattle, which we're seriously considering but the company want an official resume and interview. I'm trying to find some info on how a resume differs from a CV - can anyone point me in the right direction?

Many thanks!
A resume is generally shorter than a CV, 2 pages at most, unless he has dozens of years of experience that's directly applicable to the job he's applying for.

I've interviewed hundreds of people in the US and resumes vary widely. The best start with a two or three line paragraph stating the candidate's main areas of expertise and the kind of role they are looking for. Below that they state their experience, broken down by role (ie. if he held two distinct roles at a company then a section for each,) the dates that role was held, and a bullet-point description of duties - 4 or 5 sentences for the more recent roles and 2 or 3 for anything older than 5 years.

He should also include his education history, just the degree titles and the university. If he has any technical certifications or the like then they should be listed close to the bottom. Some people like to list a few hobbies to show that they have a life.

Don't include date of birth, nationality or references on there (you can note that references are available on request.)

My preference is for the resume to be written in the third person, and a cover-letter included that is written in the first person and is very specific to the job being applied for. The cover letter is essential if there's anything that needs to be explained, (he has a degree from a UK university, or has held a role in the UK that is called something different but has the same duties, etc.)
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Old Feb 16th 2009, 11:30 am
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Default Re: Advice with writing a resume

Originally Posted by notacrime View Post
A resume is generally shorter than a CV, 2 pages at most, unless he has dozens of years of experience that's directly applicable to the job he's applying for.

I've interviewed hundreds of people in the US and resumes vary widely. The best start with a two or three line paragraph stating the candidate's main areas of expertise and the kind of role they are looking for. Below that they state their experience, broken down by role (ie. if he held two distinct roles at a company then a section for each,) the dates that role was held, and a bullet-point description of duties - 4 or 5 sentences for the more recent roles and 2 or 3 for anything older than 5 years.

He should also include his education history, just the degree titles and the university. If he has any technical certifications or the like then they should be listed close to the bottom. Some people like to list a few hobbies to show that they have a life.

Don't include date of birth, nationality or references on there (you can note that references are available on request.)

My preference is for the resume to be written in the third person, and a cover-letter included that is written in the first person and is very specific to the job being applied for. The cover letter is essential if there's anything that needs to be explained, (he has a degree from a UK university, or has held a role in the UK that is called something different but has the same duties, etc.)
That's great - thanks so much for your advice. I think he's really keen on the job and we're both happy to relocate. Now just to organise everything else!
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Old Feb 16th 2009, 1:58 pm
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Default Re: Advice with writing a resume

http://britishexpats.com/wiki/Resume-USA

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Old Feb 16th 2009, 10:28 pm
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Default Re: Advice with writing a resume

Originally Posted by CherylH View Post
That's great - thanks so much for your advice. I think he's really keen on the job and we're both happy to relocate. Now just to organise everything else!
Originally Posted by lisa67 View Post
CherylH, you might also look in the Canada wiki; they've written some great resume tips in there that apply to the US as well.

Also monster.com has a good resume tune up section that will help you see the differences.

I think you'll love it up here (I'm down the road) -- what's not to love?!
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Old Feb 16th 2009, 11:50 pm
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Default Re: Advice with writing a resume

Originally Posted by CherylH View Post
Hi, I'm new here so apologies if this has already been covered elsewhere but I haven't been able to find much advice on how to write a resume (as opposed to a British CV). My husband's been tentatively offered a job in Kirkland, Seattle, which we're seriously considering but the company want an official resume and interview. I'm trying to find some info on how a resume differs from a CV - can anyone point me in the right direction?

Many thanks!
Whether your husband prepares a CV (yes, US style CVs are appropriate sometimes) or a resume all depends on his industry/field.

I have found Yana Parker's book, the Resume Catalog to be most helpful in writing my resume. Unlike many resume guides, this one has tips and examples for those who have non conventional resumes. e.g. educated overseas (like Brits who emigrate to the US), returnees to the workplace, ex-military, etc.

Her website will probably be useful to your husband:
http://www.damngood.com/

Also, don't use one of the MS Word type wizards to create the CV/resume. You're trying to sell yourself so you want to make a positive impression and presenting yourself like a template is hardly original.
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Old Feb 17th 2009, 7:46 am
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Default Re: Advice with writing a resume

Great tips above already; just wanted to add a few things.

1) If you are sending the resume electronically, format it for "letter" size paper (8.5"x11"). If someone in the US opens a document formatted for UK paper (A4) and prints it, it tends to hold up the entire print queue until someone goes and presses 'override' or similar - not the kind of attention you want to draw to yourself! If you are going to print the resume on paper, and mail it, make sure the info on the page will survive being photocopied onto US Letter paper; not everyone is aware of how to tell their photocopier to scale one size to another.

2) Try to avoid too many UK-specific terms on your resume. You can probably get away with UK spellings, since you are still living there (this may be seen as 'cute'), but avoid terms that are going to puzzle the US reader. Your university grade may be a good example - "BSc (honours) Upper Second" would not be understood. If possible, have an American read the resume for any 'cultural differences'.

3) Don't bother saying 'clean drivers license' or similar - the concept just doesn't apply in US and will confuse/distract the reader (unless the job is for a truck driver or something!).

Good Luck!
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Old Feb 17th 2009, 10:18 am
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Default Re: Advice with writing a resume

That's all wonderful advice - I would never have known about the A4 versus Letter page set-up for example. Thanks so much to you all for taking the time to help me - it's websites like this that make moving your entire life(!) to another country seem slightly less daunting!
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Old Feb 17th 2009, 1:17 pm
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Default Re: Advice with writing a resume

Originally Posted by CherylH View Post
That's all wonderful advice - I would never have known about the A4 versus Letter page set-up for example. Thanks so much to you all for taking the time to help me - it's websites like this that make moving your entire life(!) to another country seem slightly less daunting!
The A4 vs Letter advice is solid - nice one Steerpike, reminds me of "Office Space" - PC Load Letter, what the **** does that mean?
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Old Feb 18th 2009, 6:26 am
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Default Re: Advice with writing a resume

Some good advise, but I would suggest sticking to US spellings of words. I would consider the use of UK spellings stubborn at best.
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Old Feb 18th 2009, 6:32 am
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Default Re: Advice with writing a resume

Originally Posted by AdobePinon View Post
Some good advise, but I would suggest sticking to US spellings of words. I would consider the use of UK spellings stubborn at best.
Makes me laugh, I just (with much hatred) changed my spellchecker after 7 months of being here to US. I played the "quirky brit" for a while, but now I think people see it as annoying
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Old Feb 18th 2009, 7:14 am
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Default Re: Advice with writing a resume

Originally Posted by emailrob View Post
Makes me laugh, I just (with much hatred) changed my spellchecker after 7 months of being here to US. I played the "quirky brit" for a while, but now I think people see it as annoying
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Old Feb 18th 2009, 8:09 am
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Default Re: Advice with writing a resume

Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
"You have arrived"
Makes sense, I guess, but I know that I'm going to really, really struggle with "Aluminium".
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Old Feb 18th 2009, 8:15 am
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Default Re: Advice with writing a resume

Originally Posted by chartreuse View Post
Makes sense, I guess, but I know that I'm going to really, really struggle with "Aluminium".
You mean, Aluminum

My all-time favorite US word is 'Schedule'. Not even spelled differently, but the US pronunciation is so much better! I simply can't bring myself to use the UK pronunciation any longer ('shhhhhhedule'). I still can't get comfortable with the US pronunciation of 'Lever' (rhymes with weather), though - it's a 'leeeeever'. Although, strangely enough - 'leverage' seems perfectly natural ...
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Old Feb 18th 2009, 8:20 am
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Default Re: Advice with writing a resume

Originally Posted by Steerpike View Post
You mean, Aluminum

My all-time favorite US word is 'Schedule'. Not even spelled differently, but the US pronunciation is so much better! I simply can't bring myself to use the UK pronunciation any longer ('shhhhhhedule'). I still can't get comfortable with the US pronunciation of 'Lever' (rhymes with weather), though - it's a 'leeeeever'. Although, strangely enough - 'leverage' seems perfectly natural ...
Yeah, it's weird, isn't it? I'm intending to hang on to "aluminium" though. It's my final sanction - "If you don't stop being horrid then I won't say aluminium for you."
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