If this is your first time applying for a job in the U.S. from Kenya, chances are you already have a CV, or curriculum vitae, but no resume. Most U.S. employers require a resume rather than a CV, so composing one should be among your top priorities to get the job you want. While CVs and resumes may cover much of the same information, there are several important differences in terms of both format and substance.
Identify the Information You Need to Offer for a Job in the U.S. From Kenya
A typical CV is highly detailed and presents a wider range of information than a resume. Assuming you are applying for the same type of job you previously prepared your CV for, you start off by knowing that you will be condensing or cutting out information from your CV, not adding to it or expanding.
You can eliminate entirely a few sections that are expected on a CV but are not appropriate for a resume you will submit for a job in the U.S. from Kenya. Unnecessary section headings include references, hobbies, publications and coursework. If your coursework is recent and highly relevant to the position you seek, you may choose to briefly mention it in your education section. Likewise, if you have a publication that represents a relevant and significant professional achievement, you can include it in your summary or achievements section.
While you will include the same basic information concerning your work experience and skills, these sections should be briefer and denser on your resume. Drop the detailed descriptions of each job duty you had. Instead, choose a few major duties and use strong but concise descriptors to highlight your achievements.
Use Proper Resume Format
Unlike a CV, which can be as long as necessary, most resumes used to apply for a job in the U.S. from Kenya should not exceed one standard A1 or letter-size page in length. Another important difference is that while a CV is usually in paragraph form, a resume consists mainly of section headings followed by bullet-pointed lists. The main resume sections consist of a summary, skills, experience and education sections. If you have several professional accomplishments, you may also choose to list them under a separate category for achievements.
When you transfer information from your CV to your resume, be sure to adapt it to the resume format. Typically, you will present most of it as a bullet-pointed sentence fragment. The resume convention is also to avoid the use of pronouns. For example, an item on your CV may read: “I used my conflict resolution skills to keep customers happy; this tactic improved my company’s rating on major review sites by two stars.” On your resume, you would format the same information as follows:
- Improved customer satisfaction with conflict resolution skills
- Raised company’s rating on major review sites by two stars
Tailor Your Resume to the Job You Want
Because a CV is essentially a complete history of your professional and educational history, you can send the same CV to the jobs you apply for, perhaps with minor adjustments to highlight items of particular relevance. This is not the case for a resume, where space is very limited. You need to be selective about what you include because writing about one experience means that you may not have room for another.
In order to make an informed decision as to which experiences and skills are most important to your prospective employers, you may need to do some research. Start by reading the job posting carefully. Checking out employers’ web sites can also provide insights as to what they look for. A carefully customized resume is important if you want to convince hiring managers that you are right for this job in the U.S. from Kenya.
Converting your CV into an impressive resume is an important step toward getting the job you want. The trick is to know which information to retain and which to leave out. Once you have done that, it is easy to adjust the format and wording for maximum impact.