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Create a Resume in English

Your resume is a sales document. . .you are 'selling' yourself to an employer. Keep this in mind as you are writing. It must be current, and highlight the requirements of the position you are applying for.

 Resume Vs CV Learn More    Education Learn More
 Getting Started Learn More    Work Experience Learn More
 Page Header Learn More    Skills Learn More
 Summary of Qualifications Learn More    Distributing Your Resume Learn More

What is the difference between 'resume' and 'CV'?

Resumé is French meaning 'summary'.

Curriculum Vitae (CV) is Latin meaning 'course of life'.

For general job seekers, a CV and resume are the same thing. However, what you call the document changes depending on the country.

Resume is the common name in the US and English-speaking Canada.
CV is used in the United Kingdom.
Both resume and CV can be used in North America and Australia.

However, if you are looking for an academic, education, scientific or research job, you use the term CV. In this situation, a CV goes into a great amount of detail about educational background, including academic publications. This amount of detail is not required when you are applying for a job in the public sector or private sector.

In the information below, we use the term resume and follow a popular style. Please research which name to use in the country you are applying to work in.

 Getting Started

Before you begin writing your resume, research the business or industry that you are sending your resume to. You need to show that you have the skills and experience needed for that company or industry.

Be honest!
Some people lie in their resumes. Studies show that 40% of job seekers lie about their employment, 20-30% lie about their education, and 25-30% give false references. Employers know this happens so they often check the information. It is easy to find information on the Internet. Only write the truth or you might find yourself in trouble!

What should my resume look like?
There are many formats for resumes. The style we use below is a common format in English-speaking countries.

Page layout
Keep it simple - fonts like 10-11 point 'Times New Roman' or 'Arial' are easy to read.
Include page numbers.

Use the correct spelling for each country!
US = color, meter, realize, curb, tire, airplane
Canada = colour, metre, realize, curb, tire, airplane
UK/Australia = colour, metre, realise, kerb, tyre, aeroplane

You can use Englishlink's free dictionary to help you with your general spelling.
Please note, this tool does not explain the spelling for different countries.

Birth date, religion and marriage status
Putting this information is generally not done in English-speaking countries. This information does not affect your job performance, and is therefore not relevant. It can also open a company up to legal problems due to discrimination. If this information is in a resume, a hiring manager generally assumes the person has not worked in an English-speaking country in the past.

Attaching a photograph
This is a no-no in English-speaking countries. It is strange to see a photograph on a resume. Again, it usually indicates the person has not worked in an English-speaking country before. 

How long should my resume be?
If you are a new graduate or have not worked for a long time, 1-2 pages is acceptable. For everyone else, 2-5 pages is normal. However, many employers prefer 'short and sweet' resumes. Your resume shows how your career has developed and lists your achievements, but keep it short and interesting.

Remember, most hiring managers are very busy, and want to get through resumes quickly. If you write clearly and keep the resume short, the person will read the full resume. If it is too long with unimportant information, he or she may stop reading!

 Page Header

This is where you put your contact details. Your contact information should appear on the top and center of every page (in case the pages become separated).

Use a professional sounding e-mail address like (not something like Otherwise, do not include your e-mail address.

Put at least one phone number - make it easy for the hiring manager to find you!

Here are 2 examples of heading layouts:

Julia Meppem
2 Judge Street
Exeter, CA 93221
Tel: (559) 592-7107

Terry Smith
123 This Place - Somewhere, MN 12345 - (123) 123-1234

  Summary of Qualifications

The Summary of Qualifications section on your resume has 4-5 statements that say why you are the best person for the job. It is the first thing an employer will look at, so use this space wisely.

Imagine you only have 10 seconds to make the person reading the resume want you. Briefly explain why you think you are good for the job. Talk about your skills and experience. Explain your vision, goals, work ethic, etc. Also talk about your career objectives - where do you want to be in the future? This gives the employer a vision of the direction you want to take and how you could fit in with the business.

Use the subject 'I' or just the verb tense.  Do not use he/she.  It gives the impression somebody else has written the resume, and is very impersonal.

Summary of Qualifications

With 10 years experience in the sales industry, I seek a position managing a sales team. I am a hard worker who enjoys challenges. I am motivated, and can work without supervision. I take time to listen to the concerns of my staff, and create an environment where my team can share ideas.  My current role has resulted in increased profits, a 10% increase in new customers, and the development of a culture of teamwork.  I believe I can help any company grow to its sales potential.


Summary of Qualifications

Qualified career counsellor with 14 years specializing in coaching and job search services.  Have assisted many people to change career paths by helping set goals and developing networking skills. Very patient and happy to assist wherever possible.  Skills and experience would be very beneficial to any recruitment company.


Your education is definitely one of your biggest assets. Education is more important for some jobs than other jobs. If the job you are applying for requires qualifications...nursing, engineering, teaching, accounting... put your education before your work experience. Include the school, date of graduation and qualification received.

If you have just graduated, and have no work experience, create your resume 'around' your studies. Include practical projects you have completed.

Do not include your primary school. Generally you do not include high school.

Only list schools where you received a degree, work-related certificate or diploma. Put your highest qualification first.

If you were studying for a degree or any other level of education which you did not complete, or have not yet completed, list the courses.

List short courses that you have done - presenting skills, business writing, etc.

Information to include:

- name of school
- degree
- degree date
- major(s)
- any minors or concentrations

Bold the important information to make it easier to read.

Masters of Management 
University of Toronto, Canada
May 2004
Bachelor of Business
Queens University, Canada
Major: Business Studies
Minor: Economics
June 2002
Marketing Certificate
Humber College, Canada
Feb 2006

 Work Experience

This part of your resume will be the focus of the hiring manager. It answers the question 'What can this person do for the company?"

I do not have a lot of experience

Young people, including new graduates, often have trouble getting a job because they do not have experience.  This can also be a problem for 'entry-level' jobs.

So focus on your skills and good attitude.  For example:

- hardworking
- quick learner
- good communicator
- well-organized
- friendly
- excellent computer skills
- willing to work weekends and evenings
- willing to travel
- able to relocate, if required

List anything that can be seen to be experience - volunteer work, military training, etc. Most people have valuable skills and experience - you just need to identify it!

Include all related experience for the job you are applying for.

I have time gaps in my experience
Do not have long gaps in your work history.  If you have gaps, try to find something that is related to the experience they want - charity work, part-time work, volunteering, etc.  If you have had short periods of work in different jobs explain why this has happened - contract, pregnancy, moving to another city, etc. Never blame a company for working a short period of employment - the hiring manager might think that you are making excuses.

How many years of experience should I include?
Do not list jobs that are more than 10 years old, unless the experience is really important for the job. You can include a paragraph under the heading "Other professional experience" if you want to highlight very important experience, or you can attach a full summary of your professional history as a separate document. You can also end your resume with the sentence: "Full resume available upon request."

List your most recent work experience first. Include

- job title
- employer
- dates
- describe what you did, for whom and when
- describe achievements

Description of employer
A short overview of the employer is very important if you are applying for a job in another country and/or the company is not well-known. If you worked for a multinational company like Microsoft or HSBC, you do not need a description.

Do not put all your responsibilities - only the most important ones that you were responsible for.
For example: 'Attended training sessions' is not a responsibility, but 'Managed and implemented training sessions' is.

Include up to 3 achievements that were not included in your job description. Things that you accomplished that were outside your area of responsibility. Examples could be: awards, promotions, initiatives, better customer service, being selected for a committee, etc.

Unless it is your current job, use the past simple when you are talking about actions.


Sales Manager
Blix Harton Pharmaceuticals, Seoul

Blix Harton Pharmaceuticals is a privately-owned natural therapies company with 32 employees. Responsibilities include:



 hiring, developing and managing a team of 8 sales people
 developing and implementing the sales training program
 assessing the viability of product lines
 preparing annual budgets and sales forecasts
 building relationships with medical and insurance companies



 generated a 30% increase in revenue
 decreased cost of sale by 26%
 received 'Best Customer Service 2008' awarded by Seoul Chamber of Commerce
 guest editor for Pharmaceutical Monthly since 2007


Marketing Area Manager

Sanofi-Aventis Korea, Seoul


 managing marketing activities in Korea
 developing marketing strategies for product launches
 rebranding 4 top-selling product lines
 implementing sales campaigns targeting different age sectors
 designing & managing the creation of the business-to-business web portal



 grew the brand, to the number 2 position in each country from number 7
 increased the sales team by 50%
 created a sales training video for global use


Assistant Marketing Manager

Pfizer, Seoul 


 assisting the marketing manager to write copy
 organizing team marketing meetings
 auditing brand popularity
 attending trade shows



 awarded 'most improved employee' in 1998
 attended the global marketing conference in 1999
 created the first e-newsletter for marketing

Use action verbs - demonstrated, succeeded, created, managed, negotiated, persuaded, assisted, documented, projected, eliminated, maximized, researched.
Action verbs show your achievements and make the reader pay attention.

Action Verbs


Include as many skills as you can that are related to the job you are applying for.

Do not include outdated skills - for example, a first aid certificate that has expired.

List skills in their order of importance for the job.

We do not recommend listing hobbies. People often do this to make their resume longer. It makes your presentation weak.

    -   fluent in French and English
    -   Excel, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Outlook
    -   MYOB
    -   Photoshop Illustrator
    -   qualified in first aid and CPR

  Distributing Your Resume

Sending your resume

The paper you use is all part of your presentation. If you are mailing your resume, use good-quality paper which is off-white or a pale color. Textured paper is a nice touch.

If you are e-mailing your resume, send it in Word or PDF format.

Use the correct paper size format for the country you are sending your resume to. This is very important when printing an e-mailed resume!  You can research the paper size for each country on the Internet. For example in Australia the paper size is 'A4', but in the US and Canada it is 'letter'.

Keep a job diary

When you are working, it is a good idea to keep a diary that will to help you when you edit your resume. The diary keeps track of:

- achievements - consistent and one-off
- projects - on-going and one-off
- awards
- areas you need to develop in

If you write your resume in your mother tongue, you can use Englishlink's free translation tool to help you. HOWEVER, if you use any translation tool online, we suggest you hire a professional translator to edit your final text. This investment could get you a great job!

Easy reading is really hard writing. --Nathaniel Hawthorne