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Tips on writing a US CV?

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Ive been reading online websites about how to write a US CV/Resume but its all from companies that want to sell me something so not sure about any of the veracity of it.

 

Do you have any tips about what american recruiters look for?

 

Do CVs have to be one page? 

Are photographs expected or not allowed?

Do I have to talk about "achievements" more than experience?

 

Im used to the standard EU/british cvs, 2 pages listing relevant experience, so any tips would be super useful.

 

Thanks!

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Filed: AOS (apr) Country: Brazil
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1 hour ago, Bug&Bug said:

Ive been reading online websites about how to write a US CV/Resume but its all from companies that want to sell me something so not sure about any of the veracity of it.

 

Do you have any tips about what american recruiters look for?

 

Do CVs have to be one page? 

Are photographs expected or not allowed?

Do I have to talk about "achievements" more than experience?

 

Im used to the standard EU/british cvs, 2 pages listing relevant experience, so any tips would be super useful.

 

Thanks!

One page, no photos. If you Google for "your area" resumes, you will find a lot of examples. 

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People will say one page, but if your experience justifies it, don't be afraid of going to 2 pages. Just don't pad it. No photographs. Also, things that go on UK CVs such as date of birth, address, etc. aren't required.

 

You're 100% correct on achievements, not job descriptions. Like a  lot of things in the US, think of it as selling yourself as an employee. It doesn't come easily to us Brits.

 

As an aside, take a little effort and your resume will stand out. I've recruited in the US for 15+ years (and in the UK for longer before that) and 90% of the resumes I received were hopeless. Spelling mistakes, no relevant experience, inappropriate email addresses and the like.

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Really liking this thread so far... although i am currently working I have been applying for lots of positions which suits my experience more. So its good to know what they are looking for when it comes to CV writing. i guess its a super hard time at the moment with millions of people applying for the same jobs.

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On 12/31/2020 at 8:05 PM, ORCoast said:

 

You're 100% correct on achievements, not job descriptions. Like a  lot of things in the US, think of it as selling yourself as an employee. It doesn't come easily to us Brits.

 

 

Yeah this sounds terrifiying, I can speak about years of experience in relevant projects but you ask me what did I achieve and I freeze. 

Do you have any recommended resources for how a Brit should sell themselves? I think the closest thing was my chartership years ago and it was as unconfortable and unnatural as it gets...

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17 hours ago, Bug&Bug said:

 

Yeah this sounds terrifiying, I can speak about years of experience in relevant projects but you ask me what did I achieve and I freeze. 

Do you have any recommended resources for how a Brit should sell themselves? I think the closest thing was my chartership years ago and it was as unconfortable and unnatural as it gets...

I think it's a cultural thing, as it was an aspect that my husband also had similar troubles with on his CV. All I could do was guide him gently until he was finally ready to accept that he was going to have to clean up his resume to reflect that he did have accomplishments to be proud of and it was okay to list them and no it's not bragging. :) As suggested above, action verbs are your friend. It is still agonizing for him every time a promotion comes along, but it gets easier. It's okay to list achievements and maintain humility. Don't get bogged down in details, but be to the point and concise. For instance:

 

Provided a high level of customer service while maintaining professional standards.

Often noted by supervisors, team members, and customers for friendliness and excellent work ethic.

Directed a team of eight individuals and ensured a high standard of work quality while ensuring team members needs were efficiently addressed.

 

As always it's important to highlight what it is you *did* and can *do* and the opportunities will happen. For his resume it's about 1-2pgs these days with a cover letter, but that's simply because it's in more of a academic setting and he's done *a lot* but it's important not to be 'oversharing' with endless details. You've got to make yourself stand out, sell yourself well, and be to the point.


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4 hours ago, Wuozopo said:


My wife suggests creating bullet points beginning with action verbs to show achievements or even responsibilities.

Even if your only experience was at Starbucks, action verb it—

  • Provided excellent customer service by learning customer names and favorite orders.
  • Supervised a shift of three to seven employees per day.
  • Organized stockroom supplies to facilitate maximum work flow.
  • Trained new employees 
  • Maintained health, safety, and sanitation standards by....

Google “action verbs in resume” to find many examples. 
 

Don’t include what I have seen on UK CVs—-

Hobbies and interests- knitting, long walks in the woods, poetry writing, rock concerts

 

THANKYOU

 

Such a practical tip! give your wife a huge virtual hug from me.

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2 hours ago, yuna628 said:

I think it's a cultural thing, as it was an aspect that my husband also had similar troubles with on his CV. All I could do was guide him gently until he was finally ready to accept that he was going to have to clean up his resume to reflect that he did have accomplishments to be proud of and it was okay to list them and no it's not bragging. :) As suggested above, action verbs are your friend. It is still agonizing for him every time a promotion comes along, but it gets easier. It's okay to list achievements and maintain humility. Don't get bogged down in details, but be to the point and concise. For instance:

 

Provided a high level of customer service while maintaining professional standards.

Often noted by supervisors, team members, and customers for friendliness and excellent work ethic.

Directed a team of eight individuals and ensured a high standard of work quality while ensuring team members needs were efficiently addressed.

 

As always it's important to highlight what it is you *did* and can *do* and the opportunities will happen. For his resume it's about 1-2pgs these days with a cover letter, but that's simply because it's in more of a academic setting and he's done *a lot* but it's important not to be 'oversharing' with endless details. You've got to make yourself stand out, sell yourself well, and be to the point.

I feel my CV is SO wordy compared to examples I see! Im pruning it out as much as I can.

 

What about cover letters? Any tips? Would it be appropiate to say in a cover letter that I am relocating to the US in month X?

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Wales
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There are some good videos on YouTube, important thing is that they are very different so not just a translation thingy.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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2 hours ago, Bug&Bug said:

I feel my CV is SO wordy compared to examples I see! Im pruning it out as much as I can.

 

What about cover letters? Any tips? Would it be appropiate to say in a cover letter that I am relocating to the US in month X?

Well, I've always noticed that compared to Americans, British writing usually consists of a lot of wordy text - often with run-on sentences. You can often convey the same feeling without all the text. Unless it's particular to the hubby. :P IMO, it's quite beautiful compared to our direct approach. Usually I just let him go at it, compose whatever it is he wants to say, and then pull out my red pen and check for errors and make constructive editing suggestions. He'll haggle and then we compromise. Cover letter should be to the point - discuss your previous roles and education and how skills you gained may apply to the position you're going for now. I suspect sometimes the reviewer may not even read the letter, but I don't think it will hurt.


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First met: 12/31/04 - Engaged: 9/24/09
Filed I-129F: 10/4/14 - Packet received: 10/7/14
NOA 1 email + ARN assigned: 10/10/14 (hard copy 10/17/14)
Touched on website (fixed?): 12/9/14 - Poked USCIS: 4/1/15
NOA 2 email: 5/4/15 (hard copy 5/11/15)
Sent to NVC: 5/8/15 - NVC received + #'s assigned: 5/15/15 (estimated)
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AP + Issued 8/3/15 - Visa in hand (depot): 8/6/15
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Wedding: 9/30/15

Filed I-485, I-131, I-765: 11/7/15

Packet received: 11/9/15

NOA 1 txt/email: 11/15/15 - NOA 1 hardcopy: 11/19/15

Bio: 12/9/15

EAD + AP approved: 1/25/16 - EAD received: 2/1/16

RFE for USCIS inability to read vax instructions: 5/21/16 (no e-notification & not sent from local office!)

RFE response sent: 6/7/16 - RFE response received 6/9/16

AOS approved/card in production: 6/13/16  

NOA 2 hardcopy + card sent 6/17/16

Green Card received: 6/18/16

USCIS 120 day reminder notice: 2/22/18

Filed I-751: 5/2/18 - Packet received: 5/4/18

NOA 1:  5/29/18 (12 mo) 8/13/18 (18 mo)  - Bio: 6/27/18

Transferred: Potomac Service Center 3/26/19

Approved/New Card Produced status: 4/25/19 - NOA2 hardcopy 4/29/19

10yr Green Card Received: 5/2/19 - Error will need to file I90 >_<

 

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On 12/31/2020 at 2:05 PM, ORCoast said:

90% of the resumes I received were hopeless. Spelling mistakes

This was crucial when I was doing this.  Even when applicants might have been promising otherwise, their resumes went straight into the garbage if I saw one spelling mistake.

 

Bear in mind that British spellings (e.g., "I hope to receive a favourable reply") may be a distraction.

 

And it may be prudent to avoid introductory lines such as, "I am emigrating across the pond to live among you Colonists."  :lol: 


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Posted (edited)

Something else to be aware of is not just having your resume (not CV ;) ) American style, but also understand that many companies run applications through software that filters out a first cut. Best of course is to have a human contact that you know will at least look at the application, but if not, make sure your cover letter is tailored to the job specs and uses key words that the advert uses so that it doesn’t get auto-filtered out even before someone can read it.

 

Also I skimmed the above fast so may have missed this but - make sure you have the fact that you are a green card holder (or otherwise have a right to work) right at the top of your resume under your name - some resume readers will see foreign experience/qualifications and just assume you need a work visa, and toss the application as a result.
 

Good luck! 
 

 

Edited by SusieQQQ

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Filed: AOS (pnd) Country: Philippines
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On 1/1/2021 at 2:19 AM, Bug&Bug said:

Ive been reading online websites about how to write a US CV/Resume but its all from companies that want to sell me something so not sure about any of the veracity of it.

 

Do you have any tips about what american recruiters look for?

 

Do CVs have to be one page? 

Are photographs expected or not allowed?

Do I have to talk about "achievements" more than experience?

 

Im used to the standard EU/british cvs, 2 pages listing relevant experience, so any tips would be super useful.

 

Thanks!

 

As others have said, one page will normally be enough, don't include photographs, and highlight your achievements using action verbs.

 

I also recommend printing out your resume to review it, as many spelling/formatting mistakes are more obvious on a printed sheet of paper.

 

Here is a great LinkedIn video about writing a resume tailored for the US market: Writing a successful resume (linkedin.com)  It has plenty of specific examples and may give you even more ideas. As an aside, once you're satisfied with your resume, consider updating your LinkedIn profile with the same content. It's a great tool for job searching.

 

Good luck!

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