what to include in a resume in english

What to include in your resume or CV in English

Are you wondering what to include in a resume before applying for a job? If you want to work in an English-speaking workplace, you need to have a strong resume to get you on the shortlist for a job interview in English. Of course, you will also need to prepare your resume in English, so you’re ready when you see the right job listing.

If you’ve never done a CV or resume in English before, you might not know what to include in a resume to get noticed by hiring managers and recruiters. This article will help you.

Before you get started, there is one important note to keep in mind. It’s probably a good idea to start from zero and make a completely new resume in English.

Why? Because your resume is probably out of date. If you changed your resume in the last 3-5 years, I recommend starting with a blank template.

Also, companies based in Australia, Canada, United States or United Kingdom might have different expectations than your home country. You want to prepare a clear, one-page resume that is specifically tailored for that company.

Here is what you should include in your English-language resume…

1. Keywords

Before your resume reaches human eyes, it will likely pass through a computer program designed to search for the best match for the position. You can take advantage of this trend by looking for specific keywords to include in your resume.

These keywords can usually be found in the job description where the company details the desired skills for a position.

For example, if the job description says “we are looking for someone with strong communication skills,” you might want to consider including “strong communicator” in your resume somewhere. Look for the words and themes that appear several times in the job description

These keywords can be included in your professional summary (more details below) or in your work experience section. 


2. A clear professional summary

If you make it past the AI, one of the first things a human will read on your resume is your summary. This short section should tell the hiring manager who you are in a professional capacity.

It should be short and make it immediately clear why you are qualified for this job. Don’t write a long essay, just a 2-3 sentence summary of your most valuable skills and experience.

Also, your summary may change slightly for different job openings. So be sure to read the job description carefully and highlight the right skills for that opening.

3. Action verbs

If you want to make sure no one reads your resume, just start a sentence using “I was responsible for…”

In other words, don’t do that.

Action verbs will make your resume clearer and easier to read and you must use them at every opportunity. Find the action verb in the description of your responsibilities and use it to start the sentence.

For example:

  • Managed a team of four…
  • Directed efforts to…
  • Completed reports concerning…
  • Coordinated planning for…

Using action verbs will save you space on your resume and will save the person reading your resume time. This will be appreciated and help you make it to the top of the pile. 

4. Numbers

Which of the following sounds better?

“Planned and executed a successful virtual conference in May with speakers from different parts of the world. Everything went as planned and it was profitable for the company.”

“Planned and executed a 3-day virtual conference with 16 expert guest speakers from 12 different countries. The conference had 12,000 unique views and generated $70,000 in revenue for the company.”

The second option is more impressive because it gives the reader an idea of how successful the conference was.

Whenever you have the chance, use specific numbers to highlight your achievements.

Was your team responsible for increasing revenue last quarter? Great, by how much?

Did your efforts help the company’s social media accounts gain new followers? How many?

Was your profit margin better in your second year compared to your first? By what percentage?

Numbers and specific achievements will force people to notice you and give you something concrete to talk about in your interview.

Bonus: Here are three things you should NOT include in your resume

1. Too much personal information

Your resume will have your basic contact information (email, phone number and address) in a prominent location. But most details beyond that are unnecessary.

Do not include your birthplace, birthday, age, gender, ethnicity or government id number.

This information unnecessarily uses space and gives the hiring team more tools to discriminate, either intentionally or subconsciously, against you.

Apart from that, do not include your hobbies or interests in a professional resume. They will not add anything important to your application.

2. Irrelevant Experience

If you still have jobs you worked in high school on your resume, it’s definitely time for an update. Of course, you want to include as much experience as possible, but experiences more than 10 years ago will not help your resume stand out.

This varies by where you are in your career, but if you’re more than 3 years out of university, it’s time to start making some cuts.

Avoid including short-term employment like internships and summer jobs and focus on the experience that is most relevant to the position you’re applying for.

Remember, your resume should not be longer than one page. Make sure you use the space effectively.

3. A photo

In most places, it’s illegal to make hiring decisions based on appearance. So avoid giving your employers this concern and leave the photo off of your resume.*

*Photos may be included if you’re applying for a modelling or acting job. 

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