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While companies around the world often rely on resumes to find good job candidates, the format of those documents can vary dramatically. For newcomers to the United States, it is vital to understand USA resume format expectations. After all, an improperly-formatted resume could get ignored. Moreover, some details that might be included in foreign resumes could be off-putting to American hiring managers. To help you properly format your American resume, we’ve compiled some of the most vital tips you need to know.

U.S Resume Format: Removing Certain Elements

There are several types of information and details that you should remove from your old resume to align with the USA resume format. For example:

  • Omit any personal details like your date of birth, parent or spouse names, or identification numbers. U.S. employers not only don’t need that information, but don’t want to see it in a resume.
  • Pay close attention to the address format you use. For American resumes. Omit any dashes and stick to the basics.
  • American phone numbers never include the international calling code prefix, so omit that. Be sure, however, to include the area code.
  • Never use all capital letters, except for acronyms.
  • Delete references unless the job posting specifically instructs you to include them. You can always provide those references later if requested to do so.
  • If your country’s resume format accepts charts and graphs, you should omit them for your USA resume format. Many American companies use ATS (applicant tracking systems), which struggle with graphics of any kind.


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USA Resume Format Example:

Example of a US resume format

Here are a few tips to keep in mind:


The USA Resume Format and the Summary Statement

If you’re used to using the old objective statement in your resumes, it’s time for a change. The preferred option in the USA is now the summary statement. Unlike an objective statement that focuses on your career goals, the summary focuses on your ability to fulfill the company’s needs. Since employers are ultimately more interested in what you can do for them, the summary is a better option.

Here is a good example:

An accomplished sales leader with a keen understanding of the market dynamics that impact national advertisers. A proven record of success in penetrating new market segments, account development, and revenue growth. Expert in integrating video, display, mobile, television, and print verticals into a cohesive message. In-depth knowledgeable of creating digital content packages and brand strategy for both start-ups and Fortune 500 accounts.

For more information about the resume summary, read our great post, How to Write a Resume Summary that Lands the Interview.


Include Only Relevant Details

The standard USA resume format should produce a resume no more than one or two pages in length. Most employers only spend seconds deciding whether a resume deserves to be read. That means that longer resumes are more likely to be cast aside without further consideration. So, how do you keep your resume to those limits? Include only the most relevant information. Focus on skills, education, and experience that best demonstrates your qualifications for the position. Consider omitting details that don’t support or add to that narrative.


It’s All About Value

Fancy titles and extensive experience may impress some employers, but most American hiring managers are only looking for potential value. They want to know what you can bring to the company. So, no matter what titles or positions you’ve held, none of it matters if you cannot explain your achievements at those companies. Any resume using the USA resume format should:

  • List the job, position, and measurable achievements.
  • Focus on achievements that directly relate to the position you’re seeking.
  • Use hard numbers to quantify the value that you brought to the company. For example, “Led 10-person team that revolutionized ABC Corp’s product delivery process, cutting delivery times by 30% and reducing costs by 14%.

In addition, be sure to use keywords from the job posting. This will help to shape the narrative and present you as the right candidate for the job. You can identify those keywords by reviewing the job posting and looking for key words and phrases that define the position and its requirements. As a bonus, this keyword usage will help improve your resume’s chances of getting past those ATS machines.

Knowing how to format a resume for a job search in the US is half the battle. Once you understand the best resume format for the USA, however, you can focus your attention on producing a truly stellar job resume. Ultimately, using the right USA resume format will help to better your odds of landing that critical interview that leads to a job in the United States.

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