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.