As you begin trying to find a job in the U.S. from South Africa, writing a quality resume needs to be your first priority. The good news is that if you are used to writing CVs, making the switch to resumes should not be too difficult. Moreover, some U.S. companies do have an international approach and accept CVs. However, the majority of companies like to see a resume, so that is where your focus should be.
Avoid Making Common Mistakes
On CVs, elements such as a personal photo, an interests section and information such as marital status are okay. This is not the case on resumes as you apply for a job in the U.S. from South Africa; keep everything professional. Also, if you are emailing your resume in a file, make sure the page size is 8 inches wide by 11.5 inches long. Another important step is to proofread your resume and to check that you have used Americanized spellings instead of British English spellings. If possible, have a native English speaker from the United States look your resume over for these things.
Follow a General Outline
The outline of your resume depends mostly on your relevant work experience (or lack thereof). For instance, if you are changing careers, you would use a functional resume that emphasizes your skills and pays less attention to the little work history you have in that career. To ensure you cover all critical sections, you can use resume templates. At the very least, you should have contact information, your name, and a professional summary that gives an overview of your qualifications. List a few top skills, any notable accomplishments and your professional experience. You should also have sections for education and work experience. Optional sections include skills, and awards and accomplishments.
Remember Clarity as You Write Resumes for a Job in the U.S. From South Africa
Many U.S. employers are unfamiliar with school names and company names in South Africa. Anything you can do to aid their comprehension is great. For example, you could list a company name, and in the first bullet point for your job description, say something such as, “Led a team of 15 at a midsize marketing company.” This way, hiring managers understand instantly what kind of company you worked for and have a better grasp on your background.
Approach Your Education Section Strategically
You may have an impressive educational record that speaks for itself. Great! All you really need to worry about is checking that your educational credentials are listed in reverse chronological order, putting the most recent employment first and going backwards from there. Also, information such as date formats should be consistent (Month/Year in every instance, for example). On the other hand, if you have no college education, try your best to list certificates, professional training opportunities and the like.
If you do not have anything along these lines yet, now is the time to start. If you do have some college but no certificate or degree, list your progress this way: “Coursework in XX, Name of School.” Some type of post-high school educational record helps your chances of landing a job in the U.S. from South Africa.
Engage Hiring Managers With Your Work History Section
Your work history (or work experience) section should be lively and engaging as you apply for a job in the U.S. from South Africa. Under only the luckiest of circumstances will a monotonous recital of facts succeed.
One way to do well is to vary your verbs. “Customized, “negotiated,” “identified,” and “contributed” could all refer to the same activity. As in the education section, use consistent formats when you list dates. In fact, the format you choose should be the same for all sections. Also, it may be less confusing for employers if you list the city where you worked, followed by “South Africa.” If space allows, though, you may want to do “City, Province, South Africa.”
As you develop a strong resume for your U.S. job search, it is important to tailor your resumes to the requirements of each job. You can create a general resume and adjust it to become more specific per each job posting.