Writing a Compelling U.S. – Style Résumé 

As an international student, it is essential to understand the expectations hiring managers have for U.S. résumés as each country has its individual recommendations. Developing an effective document that not only highlights your education and experiences but also meets the guidelines of what American employers expect, is instrumental in competing in today’s job market.

Hiring managers are impressed with a job candidate with a global viewpoint – you will add value to their workforce. It’s beneficial to emphasize your assets of a diverse background.

Highlight Strengths as a Global Student

Use your international perspective to your advantage. Employers find immersion in multiple cultures appealing. Accentuate that you are bi-lingual or multi-lingual and that you have experience in a cross-cultural work environment. In the skills section, be sure to add your native language: “Fluent: Mandarin, Cantonese” this shows that you are linguistically diverse.

Incorporate how you have used your written and communication skills effectively in an academic or professional setting. For example:

  • “Led a team of four UConn classmates during a class project on….”
  • “Presented workshop to 100 students for UConn’s Foundations of Biology class”

Draw attention to the fact that you have traveled and lived in multiple countries. This demonstrates versatility and a mindset of inclusivity and shows your awareness of, and engagement in, other cultures.

Tips for Providing an International Frame of Reference

When describing work or internship experiences from outside the U.S., consider providing a frame of reference such as “fastest-growing marketing firm in England” or “third largest technology company in India”.

When referencing a GPA outside of the U.S. translate it to a standard grade point average scale used in the U.S. For instance: “GPA 7/10, equivalent to U.S. GPA 3.84/4.00”.

What to Omit

To protect against discrimination in the review of your application, you should not include the following:

  • Race/ethnicity
  • Photograph
  • Marital status
  • Religion
  • Gender Identity
  • Age
  • Immigration status

Furthermore, it is not a common practice to include test scores on a résumé so you can exclude SAT & TOEFL results.

You can omit English as a language skill.  As an international student attending a university in the U.S., employers presume that you speak and understand English.

What to Include

One-page résumés are standard practice for undergraduate students and one-two pages are sufficient for graduate students. Résumés have sections that focus on academic credentials, experiences, relevant accomplishments, and transferable skills to showcase an individual’s qualifications for a tailored position. Within the U.S. a Curriculum Vitae (CV) is most common when applying for academic or research-related positions and is a multiple page document.

Here are additional resources for U.S. Résumés and U.S. CVs.

To learn more about résumé writing or to make an appointment to have your résumé critiqued, visit career.uconn.edu.

Desirée is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW) and a Career Coach at UConn.

By Desiree Martino
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