Nine tips for your resume in America as an expat

Applying for jobs in the US is notoriously difficult and competitive, so you want to make sure that you’re giving yourself every single chance and putting your best foot forward. In many cases, this best foot will mean your resume as this is the first thing that most employers will see about you.

Even though you’re no doubt the perfect applicant (I believe in you) if your resume doesn’t stick to these simple tips, then you’re making it much more difficult for yourself!

1. One Page

This is the most difficult one for every single person moving to the US. I KNOW your current one has been trimmed down to the absolute bare essentials, and that there’s no way you could possibly cut it further, but you have to. This isn’t an option. Keep reading for tips below on how to keep things brief.

The only exception is if you’ve spoken to MANY people (5+) in HR in your industry here in the US and they’ve told you that two is fine. Even then though, cut it down.

2. Bullet points

First things first, they’re “bullet” points now, not “dot” points. Don’t be afraid of them, they’re going to become your best friend. The voice of your resume should be direct and to the point. You don’t need “In 2018, I worked to…” anymore. You instead need “Increased revenue 218% in 2018”.

3. Quantifiable results

This leads nicely to my third point. Numbers work here. You want to show results in percentages of improvement, numerical data that shows how impactful you were at previous jobs. They don’t care that you loved the place (save that for the interview), they want to know that you can do the job and do it well.

4. Remove the personals

Contact details are incredibly important but your gender, your height, your weight (yes, I’ve had some weird applications), and your photo are not important.In fact, in some cases, businesses really aren’t allowed to know this so you’re just making it more difficult for them.

5. Columns

Split your page into two columns and you’ll see that you’ve just found mountains of space. Use those tips above in these columns and you’re going to fit in more information than you possibly thought possible.

6. Order and prioritize the information

They don’t need to know that you won a medal in high school, and they don’t need to know about the three months you spent behind the counter at McDonald’s in 2004. Keep it on point, customize the information for the job you’re applying for, and be sure

7. Clean (and boring) styling

You don’t need it to jump off a page, it shouldn’t smell like your perfume, and it certainly shouldn’t have huge headers. Just keep it to bold and not bold as to define the difference between headings and content, but beyond that, don’t get bogged down in picking fonts. Oh, wait, in saying that, stick to a serif font, it’s easier to read.

8. Visa requirements

If you’re lucky enough to be an Australian who is eligible for an E3 visa then be sure to include some mention of the fact that you are. While you might not want to include this link, G’day SF made a great page explaining exactly how to explain the E3 visa to potential employers that may be handy for you.

9. Spelling check

YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR SPELLING TO BE ENGLISH (US). It becomes glaringly obvious that you’re not from ’round these parts when there’s a rogue “s” when there should be a “zee” (not “zed”). I know it sounds like a small thing, but it’s more noticeable than you’d think and some employers may see it as a mistake as opposed to a difference. This one applies to everything you write from now on. Change all the fonts and install Grammarly if you need help.

(Bonus) 10. Network

This one is a pain in the ass bit of advice, I know, but it’s so immensely important that I had to include it. Having some contact who can move your resume to the top of the pile is going to be so important. It’s tough when you’re starting out but if you can get ANY connection to ANYONE even arm’s length away, it’s going to help you. Go to networking events even if you don’t like them, go to industry events when they come up, and say “Yes” to everyone.

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