Creating an American Resume

It’s time for me to get my resume in order.  I didn’t think this was going to be a huge task until it occurred to me that maybe the resume I had been using when I lived on the East Coast is not what people hiring on the West Coast are looking for.  I was expressing this to my friend who moved to the Bay Area from London and she told me she removed her picture and family information from hers before applying for jobs.   I had no idea people- anywhere- included that information.

I was intrigued and started researching some cultural differences on resumes: Anyone applying for a job in the European Union is required to follow a specific format. I can’t decide if this makes things easier for job seekers or harder because one cannot show any creativity. I have read that in Japan, hometown and parents’ details are sometimes included.  Most countries have a preference towards chronological or reverse-chronological format.  What are some of the differences that you’ve noticed between an American resume, and one from your home country?

resume graphic

What about industry differences?  It turns out there are real differences depending on the field.  These should be researched individually.

Some basics to get started on a US resume include:

  1. Always use “letter size” paper.  8.5 x 11 inches.
  2. Do not list age or gender.
  3. Do not list marriage status or children.
  4. Do not include photos.
  5. Do not include high school information.
  6. Understand the difference between a resume and CV.

An American “Curriculum Vitae” (CV) is NOT the same as a CV from countries around the world; and what countries outside of the USA know as a “Curriculum Vitae” (or “CV”) is also called a “resume” in the US. A “Curriculum Vitae” in America is not a resume – it is a longer document and is usually written only by a researcher, educator, or academic.  (Source:

There is one thing all cultures have in common; we want to be confident that our resume looks great.  The most helpful advice I’ve received was from a friend who just accepted a new job.  Take a workshop.  Being around people in the same circumstance makes it feel less daunting.   She recommends the JCC, in Palo Alto and the NOVA job center, in Sunnyvale.

After researching the topic of resumes I have decided that I would be the most comfortable taking advice from someone who is working at the company I would like to apply at or in a similar position that I am looking for.  This will involve more research.  So I am doing a lot of work in order to work.  My hope is that a good resume will land me a job I love, and then it won’t be considered work. After all, isn’t that the dream?


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One Response to Creating an American Resume

  1. Jessica H says:

    This really helped me take my resume to the next level!

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