Perhaps you think a resume is a resume, and that as long as you have one in any language – it can be translated into another. This is not necessarily the case, and a resume in English tends to be structured differently than that in many other languages.
This guide will help you get the hang of how to write resumes in English, and we have included a full resume sample at the bottom of the article.
Resume objective for resumes in English
Including a resume objective isn’t standard in all languages, so it may come as a surprise when you apply for jobs in English. The resume objective goes up top, making it the first thing a hiring manager sees when picking up your resume.
An interesting fact is that some argue that a resume objective is somewhat old-fashioned, but we have done our research and found that it depends on how you use it. Here, we will demonstrate how to write a modern objective that will help you stand out from the crowd.
We sampled over 20 real resumes written in English for this article, and the majority did include a resume or a professional summary.
According to the University of Washington there are three standard formats for resumes in English, and we have chosen to recommend the reverse chronological resume format.
Use strong action words when crafting your English resume objective, to show off your personality, but also to show that you are the right person for the job.
What to put in the objective depends on the job you are seeking, as you should mention some of your skills and past experiences here, but in general, a resume objective for an English language resume could look something like this:
Responsible, organized, and friendly professional with over 7 years of experience in relevant fields. Driven and always eager to take on new challenges, a Bachelor’s degree in English literature, a passion for the written word, and excellent communication skills and teamwork abilities.
Resume skills for English resumes
The next thing you find on most English resumes is a skill section. This is a short list of your top skills – things you know how to do that are likely to impress an employer, company or hiring manager.
The key here is to restrict your skills to those actually relevant, because if you are applying for a life as, for example, a lifeguard at a community pool – the recruiter probably won’t care whether you know how to knit socks or hold a world record in chess.
In the skill section, you can mention your education, personality traits like being organized and driven, administrative skills such as experience with Microsoft Word and Excel, and language skills!
Indeed.com, a popular work site for job searches in the United States, highlights why language skills are so important – it shows your ability to communicate with customers with different backgrounds and nationalities.
A top tip is to read through the job post and job description, and try to identify specific language used, along with requirements and requests. This can then be used to build a strong skill section that will hopefully appeal to the person who will end up with your resume in their hands.
Keep each skill reasonably short, with the intention of summarizing everything you may have learned from previous work positions, and with the purpose of intriguing the hiring manager enough to keep reading.
Organized | Multitasker | B.A in English Literature | 7+ Years of Retail Experience | Detail-Oriented | Goal-Driven | Microsoft Word | Excel | Video Editing Experience | Background in Social Media Management
Resumes in English work experience
To list your previous work experience is something you tend to do no matter what language you write your resume in, and regardless of the country where you reside, but let’s have a look at how to write this section in an English resume.
You will usually list the most recent work experience first, and then go back. If you have worked for a very long time, try to pick out the most relevant experiences for the position you seek, as no recruiter wants to go over 4 pages of work experience and job duties.
Next, describe briefly what you did on each job listed, preferably followed by work-related achievements. What did you do well while employed? Pay special attention to achievements that put you in a good light for the job you are currently pursuing.
In our research, we looked at resumes in other languages to see how they differ from resumes in English, and we recommend following this specific format when writing your English resume rather than the format you might be used to.
Drexel University points out how important it is to focus this section on your responsibilities and achievements, and not on what the company you worked for does.
Sample Work Experience
AT&T, Cerritos, CA
Customer Service Representative, 2017 – 2020
Attended customers and handled communication both in-person, over the phone and electronically. Guided the customer towards a sale and resolved issues and complaints.
- Took on the role of team leader and recruited, trained and guided a new sales team.
- Successfully increased the team sales with 34% within the first two months, by implementing a daily team meeting.
- Worked with management to improve the decor of the store, to make it more welcoming and easy to navigate.
- Elected employee of the month for three months in a row.
Banner Health, Mesa, AZ
Food Service Worker, 2015 – 2017
Set up the work station every morning, carried out basic food preparation, sanitized equipment and followed rules and regulations to provide excellent food service to 100+ customers per day.
- Recognized for being the most efficient worker in the facility, and for successfully carrying out tasks in a time-efficient manner.
- Took initiative to rotate food inventory and to check expiration dates, which successfully reduced food waste.
- Assisted in developing and maintaining a stronger online presence on social media and more.
- Implemented a new clean-up routine to save both time and money.
Siete Family Foods, Remote
Grocery Channel Sales Lead, 2012 – 2015
Created in-dept action plans, followed up with customers, traveled, attended trade shows, supervised multiple sales teams and conducted field visits with distributors and vendors.
- Planned and executed a training course for all sales staff, to improve overall work efficiency.
- Grew monthly sales with 46% after detecting a flaw in the sales scripts and procedures.
- Developed a questionnaire for customers, to better the overall service.
- Used an email list to connect with past customers and to improve returning customer rates.
English resume education
Most, if not all, English resumes have an educational section, where you list any higher education or degrees you have obtained. Here is another example where you will start with the latest experience.
A High School education or equivalent will usually only be listed if you lack a college degree, and otherwise it can be left out.
Include the university you went to, your degree and – if you want – the start and finish date of when you attended the educational institute.
If you have any special achievements to bring up, these can be listed with bullet points under the degree, but only do this if the achievements are actually relevant, such as a high GPA.
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
Bachelor of Science, 2012 – 2016
- GPA: 3.5
- English Literature
Not all resumes written in English include a course section, and while we sampled resumes for this article, we found that the majority do not. However, listing courses is a great way to catch a recruiter’s attention, provided you have taken courses that are directly related to the position you seek.
If you are applying for a manager position, you can list courses in leadership, economy and management, or anything to help demonstrate why you are a good candidate for the role.
On an English resume, this section would only be included if you have taken a relevant course, and otherwise you can omit it.
You should also stick to listing only courses with English names, or translate names into English, as there will be no benefit in listing courses the hiring manager can’t read.
- Advanced Spanish Course
- Leadership in the Workplace
- Management for Beginners
- Becoming a Workplace Leader
Not all resumes include certifications, due to not all jobs requiring an applicant to be certified. If you are applying to become a teacher, a veterinarian, a doctor or any other profession that requires certifications or licenses – this is where you add them.
If you are new to the English work market, it is important to look into any certification requirements for the job you are applying for, as these may differ compared to requirements in other countries.
You can also list general certifications like having a driver’s license or being certified in First-Aid and CPR, but this section tends to be tailored to fit a specific job.
Job descriptions in English often mention any required certifications, so read the job description carefully to find out what you need to be eligible for a job.
- First-Aid & CPR
- PHR Human Resources Certification
- CCNA Network Certification
- Hubspot’s Inbound Certification
Complete English resume sample
A lot of information at once can be confusing, and we have taken this into consideration. Below is a regular job post in English, followed by a sample resume to show you how to properly adapt your resume to the job you are applying for.
The first thing you want to do when writing a resume in English is to read the job description properly. What can we learn from this job ad that could help write the perfect resume? They are looking for an intern who is currently studying towards their Bachelor’s degree, and they mention a few preferred majors.
They are also requesting someone with excellent communication skills – written and oral, along with social media experience and a problem-solving personality. If this fits you, then you can use the information to show the hiring manager that you’re the right person for the job.
Dedicated and communicative Business Administration student, expected to graduate in the spring of 2022. Passionate about business development and professional growth and hoping to become a valuable part of both a team and the company.
Dedicated | Hard Worker | Communicative | Driven | Social Media Experience | Business Administration | Microsoft Word | Excel | English & Spanish | Analytical | Interpersonal skills
Esrock, Burr Ridge, IL
Social Media Manager, 2019 – 2021
Assisted the sales team by putting together interactive marketing campaigns, communicating with clients through social media and keeping multiple social media channels updated.
- Tracked and optimized social media campaigns and successfully increased engagement with 43%.
- Started the company Twitter account and gained 2,000 new followers within two months.
- Rebranded the overall social media presence of the company to appeal to a younger audience.
- Trained a group of 20 employees in proper social media management, and how to optimize social media channels.
Media Makers, Chicago, IL
Content Writer, 2016 – 2019
Wrote content for the organization to optimize their website, social media channels and marketing material. Provided quality content and utilized SEO strategies.
- Responsible for writing the weekly newsletter that was sent out to customers and potential clients.
- Assisted in making the company website more user-friendly, and added a FAQ section with common questions.
- Trained two new content writers for sister companies.
- Asked to write an ebook on one of the company’s key points, which went on to becoming a bestseller.
- First-aid & CPR
- Social Media Marketing Certification
The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Bachelor in Business Administration, 2018 – 2022
University of Madrid, Madrid, SPAIN
Associate in Business, 2013 – 2015
- Social Media for Advanced Marketing
There is no need to be intimidated when writing a resume in English, because when it comes down to it, it is probably not that different from the resume you already have.
It is all about showing off your best assets, and all you need to do is to try and stick to a similar format as the one discussed here, to avoid confusing the recruiter or hiring manager.
- Adjust your resume to the job you want, to make sure you include relevant skills for a specific position. Show the hiring manager that you want THAT job, and not just any job.
- Include achievements with every past work experience, and use strong action words to make each entry sound as good as possible.
- Make sure you translate any foreign position names or achievements, so that the hiring manager can understand your resume.
Tips from Experts
“Your personal profile (resume objective) is a short introduction to you, your key skills and your career goals. It generally goes on the top of your CV. Not all CV’s include a personal profile, but many do.” – Lori, OOE Teacher, Oxford Online English
“A CV does not get you a job, and what a CV actually gets you is an interview. And it is so important that you remember this when you write one. – “Lucy Bella Earl, Teacher and Business Coach
“Have a clear message. This means starting with a clear vision of what you can offer.” – Heather Austin, Career Coach
Don’t overthink it, as writing a resume in English isn’t hard. The one thing to keep in mind is to preferably write a new resume when wanting a resume in English, rather than to just translate the one that you have.
You don’t want the hiring manager to pick up your resume and feel confused by the format, so the best thing you can do is to follow a format similar to the one explained here in this article. Keep the resume professional, but don’t forget to insert a little bit of personality to stand out from the crowd.