Perfect CV

I’m refreshing my CV and it is a good time to write a few tips for those looking for a work in the United States.

Without getting into issues of visa and work permits, due to the last economic crisis,  finding a job in US is definitely not easy;  especially in New York. New York City is perhaps one of the most competitive places in the world. Therefore, all people looking for a job must be really well prepared and very patient.

Let’s start with the CV – American CVs significantly differ from European ones.

1. First of all, do not attach a photo  – CVs with photo attached  will not be even considered.

2. Do not provide your date of birth – it is against regulations. The aim of these regulations is to eliminate age discrimination. But of course, in practice, the Americans will find out how old you are based on the year in which you finished college, years of experience, etc..

3. Do not list your interests – the future American employers are not interested in your interests. To put a bit of irony, you should not have any other interests outside of work. And once you move to this country of prosperity with only 10 days of vacation you will have no time for any interests anyway. You can forget about your interests. 🙂

Though my tone is a bit malicious,  unfortunately a bit of truth  lies within it (but more on that in another blog post).

4. Marital status – do not disclose. America is one of only three countries in the world (the other 2 are Mongolia and Mali) where women  do not have a guaranteed maternity leave. For us Europeans,  it is very difficult to understand … but the advantage of this,  is that American employers do not care whether you’re  freshly-baked married or widowed. The fact that you decide to have children does not affect your future presence at work.

5. Numbers, numbers, numbers – CV must include many numbers. Knowledge of mathematics in the United States is at a very low level, and probably that’s why Americans want to see as many number as possible in your CVs 🙂

But seriously, every fact must be supported by data such as: “my ideas resulted in a100% increase in sales and (better yet simultaneously) 50% improvement in profitability”

Add numbers wherever possible. The more the better.

6. The next biggest difference – European CVs are more focused on specific responsibilities while American CVs  are focused on achievements.

So your previous position is not as important as what you  achieved while in that position. Also we can not assume that the employer would guess that if you worked for 10 years in one company and been promoted every year – you know what you’re doing – you have to write it explicitly.

7. Changing your CV also means  changing the way of thinking: on how to sell yourself and your skills. If you change your resume, and you feel like you’re starting to be a brag – it just means that you are going in the right direction. Confidence is a national trait of Americans.

8. Your CV must be brief (preferably one page) and transparent. Prospective employer will spent no more than 30 seconds on your resume. Nobody will be wondering whether or not you forgot  to mention any additional qualifications. You have only 30 seconds to convince your future employer to invite you to a meeting.

I attached the most useful and easiest to adopt resume template:

I hope that these few tips will be useful. In the next post, I will uncover the mysteries of  U.S. job interviews  and how they differ from European ones.

Yours 🙂

6 responses to “Perfect CV

  1. a very interesting post :^) .. mostly spot on IMHO

    however

    there are couple of points:

    Actually a modest mention of interests such as languages, sports, travel can add a value to your resume. Folks in the States are impressed by knowledge of foreign languages .. and it is a v marketable skill in today’s global business so pls don’t be shy about
    Also mentioning some interest and some accomplishments connected with may be a nice extra thing that may differentiate you from hundreds of other similarly looking resumes …

    the 10 days of vacation must be a New York thing ;^)) … i worked for MA, CA, TX companies and currently have 4 weeks paid vacation (on par with what you can get in the UK) .. but you must negotiate it during the hiring process

    Also please remember that while it is true that main purpose of your resume’s is to get you an interview there is a more to it. So once you make it through the to the screening process (typically by phone) .. the person that would screen you will have your resume in hand and use it for questions .. and if you make it pass screening .. the folks that will interview you in person will use your resume for talking points .. so one better knows it by heart :^)) … and it’d better be all true :^)) because one will need to show confidence in your interview

    • Thank you so much for your comment and suggestions!
      I guess there are no standard regulations in U.S. I’ve just checked an average number and it seems that: “All workers employed for a year or more receive, on average, 8.9 days of vacation. After 10 years of employment workers receive just over three weeks of vacation. Vacation leave approaches four weeks after 25 years of service.” But it is good to know that one can negotiate it. xo

  2. good point :^) you are right ,, yes in private enterprise sector *almost* :^) everything is negotiable .. true by law no US business have to give any paid time off … from my experience .. traveling for me is my way of life and I negotiate it with a prospective employer the same way you negotiate your pay … the averages are almost always misleading .. Walmarts, Taco Bells etc are in them too :^)) ,,,

    also another point of view which I value a lot is that when it is not just that the prospective employer interviews you – it is also you interviewing the employer .. i know it is sometimes hard to see it that way but it is truly a 2 way street .. simply by interviewing with them and/or taking the offer you may be passing on a better opportunity down the road :^)) .. it is quite trivial observation but hard to remember when one needs a job

    • one more thing about the CVs .. actually depending on the industry I reckon the hiring managers are paying more and more attention to one’s profile on linkedin.com .. and often compare to the resume they receive .. IMHO it really helps to have some well written recommendations written by former co-workers or customers etc.

      also it is to be expected that the hiring manager may casually search one’s name in google ..and take a closer look :^))

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