Writing a resume is difficult enough in your own language. What should you include? How do you deal with problems like periods of unemployment? But it's even more challenging if you're writing a resume in a language that is not your own. If you're not a native speaker of English, you may be unfamiliar with the requirements of writing a resume in English-speaking countries; the format may be very different from the resumes in your own country. So here is a guide to writing your resume in English …
Have your resume checked
It really cannot be stressed enough that you must ensure your resume is completely free from errors. If you are not a native speaker of English, then ask someone who is to check it for you. However, it is wise not to exaggerate your level of English; if you secure an interview it will quickly become very clear if your understanding of the language is below what you claim on your resume. Include your qualifications if you have taken any language courses; the job you are applying for may require you to have passed a certain level of language skills.
Don't rely on translation sites
If you're tempted to use translation sites to translate your resume from your native language into English, don't. Translation sites are useful, but should never be relied on for translating important documents. Your resume will be full of mistakes if you use this method - and that definitely won't impress any potential employers. Give your resume to an English-speaking friend instead, as mentioned above.
Use a resume template
Since you may be unfamiliar with the normal way to format a resume in English-speaking countries, look for a resume template to guide you. There are many such templates available on the Internet.
Make your resume brief, but take your time writing it
Employers receive many resumes when they advertise a job vacancy, so they won't read every resume closely. To reduce the chances of your own resume ending up on the 'No' pile, keep it concise - one page is usually enough. You can use the interview to offer more details about your experience and talents; your resume need only summarize the important points about your work history and academic achievements. However, you do need to allow plenty of time to write your resume; don't try to put it together in a hurry. Make notes of everything you might want to include or that could be relevant, and use those notes to make the perfect resume. You shouldn't include everything from your notes, or your resume will be far too long!
Keep the content relevant & positive
When you look at your notes, you should see what is unnecessary and what will attract an employer's attention. Remember that this is your chance to promote yourself. You should make potential employers aware of your transferable skills - that is, the skills that you have learned in previous jobs. The content should always have a positive note; if you complain about previous employers, anyone reading your resume will wonder if you are going to be a difficult employee. It is better to say 'I left the company to seek a role where I could better use my skills' than to say 'I did not like the company and felt unappreciated there'.
List your achievements in each job
It's not enough to just list your job title in each previous employment, as this says little about what you actually did there or what you can offer a new employer. So instead of saying 'Customer Services Assistant', say 'I was responsible for dealing with customers' queries over the telephone, assisting with any problems they had and finding a solution'. This says something about what you actually did in your previous jobs, and what you were able to achieve.
It's not just paid employment that should be listed on your resume. Many people use voluntary work as a way of gaining experience in the type of work they would like to do. So if you have learned any skills in voluntary work that could be useful in paid employment, list them. Being a volunteer shows that you are willing to work and learn new skills, and that you like to occupy your time usefully (this is especially important if you volunteered during times of unemployment).
You want to give the impression of being someone the company wants to employ. Since you may have limited English vocabulary, use a thesaurus to provide you with alternative words for basic verbs like 'to do' and 'to work'. Words like 'performed', 'achieved' and 'carried out' are more dynamic than simply saying 'I did'. You should use positive language that shows what you have achieved up to now, and what you hope to achieve in future employment.
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