Resumes for the American Job Market, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

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Life in the USA
Making a Living
Finding a Job

Americanizing Your Résumé
This article is courtesy of Kathryn Hayman

Many immigrants face challenges when seeking employment and economic stability in a new country. Such obstacles include having a résumé that is not formatted to North American standards and requirements. Other barriers include:

  • Lack of information and awareness about foreign credential recognition services and resources.
  • Unaccustomed to North American style of job search and interviewing.
  • Not fully understanding North American legislation, standards and requirements when preparing a résumé.

Most international résumés contain private and personal information that goes against anti-discrimination laws in both Canada and the United States. If any of the following are included in an existing résumé, it may be overlooked by the hiring manager or human resource specialist, losing the opportunity to be selected for an interview. Examples of what not to include in a résumé:

  • Nationality/Race
  • Sex
  • Date of Birth
  • Passport Information

Solutions for newcomer? The first step is to understand what a résumé means in the North American labour market. The primary purpose of the résumé is to get an interview. Individuals need to create a marketable portfolio that will help them integrate into the North American labour market. Here are some helpful hints:

  • Stay away for internet based résumé templates! Not only will they make individual résumés look like everyone else in the pile, they typically do not properly highlight key competencies, personal/technical skills, education and transferable skills.
  • Create a résumé that includes clear and accurate information about credentials and professional designations. résumés are usually partnered when going through a credential recognition process such as PLAR (Prior Learning Assessment Recognition).
  • Have access to translation services or computer programs. This ensures individuals are properly communicating their interests, goals and credentials that are most relevant to the desired job/position.
  • Use a reputable résumé writing service that is either community based or on the internet.

The following criteria should be kept in mind when selecting this type of service:

  • Résumé writing services should completed and deliver a finished résumé within one week. Be cautious of guaranteed turn around time of less than two days, quite likely they are using a internet based template.
  • They should offer translation services.
  • Very important, especially web-based résumé writing services, is that they offer secure, safe payment methods such as PayPal or other encrypted processes. This way individuals will be protected against identity theft that is unfortunately rampant on the internet.

If you are new to North America, a well written résumé is your passport to a job in Canada or the United States. It is typically the first item a potential employer encounters regarding the job seeker and sets the tone in recruiting the right fit for their organization or company.
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