10 Tips for Converting your CV into an American Resume

So you’ve decided that you want to work in the USA.  You go Glencoco! Well that’s all well and good but from here, you have to actually find a job and when you’re 3,000 miles away from the place you hope to work, it’s not exactly a walk in the park now, is it?! But don’t get disheartened before you even begin, it is very much possible to get a job in the USA from Ireland. In order to do that however, you need to organise a few things, so we’re here to help you through step one of that process – converting your CV into a Resume.

1 – Address and phone number

The most common conundrum – You are looking for work in the USA, but you have an Irish address and phone number.  Some people write the address of a US relative on their CV, but in our experience this isn’t the best idea.  It’s actually acceptable to leave an address off a CV if you like, you can mention that you are currently living in Ireland in your cover letter.  As for the phone number, see our Skype tips below.

2 – Design

An employer will spend 20 seconds maximum scanning your resume, so if you want to make an impression you should use a stand out template when writing it, or even better if you have any graphic designer friends that can do you a favour and spruce up the design to make your resume one of a kind, by all means, do it!

3 – Length

An American resume should be one page long if at all possible.  It’s time to get ruthless with your 3 page CV.  Cut out anything that is not relevant to the jobs that you are applying for, and take your hobbies out quick smart.  It’s about being concise and clear. 

4 – Tailor it

Why is it that we are told to tailor a resume this over and over again and yet we send the same exact version through to 100 different employers.  The answer? Laziness.  If you really want to work for a company, you need to make sure that this is conveyed during the 20 second scan.  A good tip is to put a short snappy objective in the header of your resume making sure that you mention the actual company name in it.

5 – Visa Requirements

It’s important that when you are sending in a resume to a USA company, that your visa requirements are made crystal clear.  If a HR person opens your resume and sees an Irish address on it, they will assume that you are probably looking for sponsorship and you know what that means? A one way trip to the shredder! Make it clear that you have a J-1 type of visa; that you’re eligible to work in the USA for X amount of time and that you don’t require sponsorship.

6 – Qualifications

There’s absolutely no need for you to list your secondary school details on your resume.  Use that space to showcase your college degree and the main modules that you studied – it helps if you can calculate your GPA and list your overall result, be it First Class Honours, Second Class Honours, Grade 1 etc.

7 – Don’t waffle

Will waffling on a resume get you a job? Absolutely not!  Stick to the facts and don’t try to bulk up your resume with buzz words and fluff – the only thing you’re telling the employer when you do this is that you are not unique or creative in any way..

8 – List achievements

Instead of listing your duties in your previous job, list your achievements.  What did you do in that company to make it better – did you set up a social club, or increase sales by 5%, or were you the brains behind a change that helped increase productivity amongst staff? These are the things that really matter, rather than your run of the mill duties, because chances are, if you are applying for a job similar to one you’ve had in the past, the employer will know what your duties were by looking at your job description!

9 – Link companies

When you’re listing your previous employers and positions, it’s worthwhile to include a link to their websites, so that the company that you are applying to can delve deeper into the kind of places you have worked for in the past, especially if the name of the company doesn’t give away the industry it’s in!

10 – Include Linkedin, Skype, Twitter handles

Make sure that you include your Linkedin profile handle, Skype handle and Twitter handle (if it’s appropriate for the job and if you’re brave enough!).  Have these in a section on their own on your resume, and use clip art of the various social media logos to make it look as sharp as possible.  You want the company to see that you are tech savvy and available for a Skype interview upon request.

Hopefully by following these 10 steps, you’ll have a stand out resume that will get you that interview for your dream job in the USA.  Happy hunting folks!