If you’re applying for roles in North America, chances are you’ll need to tailor your CV – or resume as it’s also known – to fit your audience, as there can be some significant differences between the UK or European models and those across the Atlantic.
One page or two?
Standard North American resumes are just one page long – anything longer will look out of place and risks recruiters not actually reading the full document. Unless you’re applying for an academic position, you’ll need to learn how to condense your experiences and carefully edit your document.
Highlight your international experience
The fact you’ve spent time overseas either studying or working will be an appealing prospect to many employers. It demonstrates flexibility, initiative and resolve. Be sure to emphasise your overseas experience – and how that might differentiate you from other candidates. You may have built up a much stronger global network of contacts as a result, and will understand working alongside people from different cultures and backgrounds – and these can be a big benefit in today’s inter-connected world.
Recognise the different terminology
The way degrees are awarded in the UK and Europe is different from that which is standard across North America. There’s no formalised way of converting your grades to the standard GPA system, but you should be aware of rough estimates of conversion which exist such as that provided by the Fulbright Commission.
Adjust your spelling
America’s use of the English language often differs from that of the UK so it’s important you understand the different words, phrases or spellings you will need to contend with. Our advice would be to consider using the American spelling and grammar, but they will understand the UK spelling also. The key is to ensure you remain consistent – don’t go between both throughout your document(s).
Think about if you have been an active part of LSE’s football team during your studies – consider adjusting this to ‘soccer’ to avoid any misconceptions, or if you’re talking about your background in the legal sector, it might be ‘attorney’ rather than lawyer.
Size your document correctly
Paper sizes in North America are different to those used as standard in the UK – remember to format your document as a ‘US letter’ (8.5 × 11 inches) rather than ‘A4’. You can do this by simply changing the page layout in your word-processing programme.
Ensuring your contact details are correct
If you’re applying for roles when you’re still here in the UK you may wish to consider using your permanent address back in North America. This can often emphasise your connection to a particular state or city, and we’ve heard from many LSE students who have chosen to do this.
Remember your LSE email will be deactivated by the end of the term following your graduation – see IMT’s guidance for further information. You can set up a free LSE alumni forwarding address once you’ve registered an account with the LSE Alumni portal which will enable you to keep a connection to LSE at the same time as delivering important emails to your existing account.
Think about using a Skype or other VoIP platform as your mobile or cell number as this might be a more convenient – and cheaper – way of of communicating or arranging any ‘phone interviews with potential employers.
Writing a federal resume for a government job? Check out the resume builder on www.usajobs.gov as a place to get started.
Remember as well that we have a whole section on our website dedicated to helping you write CVs including when to use different types of CV and writing CVs for experienced hires and run regular seminars throughout the academic year. You can also book an appointment with us for feedback before you submit your application.