How to write your CV in English?

If you are looking for an internship in an English-speaking country and have no idea how to write your CV, help is here! We have gathered recommendations to help you make sure your CV complies with the standards recruiters are expecting, in order to increase your chances of getting their attention!

 

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Where is your CV going?

First of all, you will need to pay attention to your vocabulary, grammar and spelling. According to if you’re looking for an internship in the UK / Ireland and in the USA, you will need to spell some words differently – for example: ‘colour’ = UK / ‘color’ = USA; the date layout changes – the 26th of June 2016 is written 26/06/2016 in the UK and 06/26/2016 in the US, and the vocabulary varies slightly – you are looking for a ‘work placement’ in the UK and an ‘internship’ in the USA.

You need to do your homework and make sure the vocabulary and spelling you have chosen are relevant to your country of choice and consistent throughout your CV.

CV layout and sections

A CV aimed at the UK or American recruiters can be up to 2 pages long and the different sections recommended are as follows:

Personal details

You will need to contain parts of or all the following information according to the country of destination.

– First Name Last Name

– Address

– Telephone numbers: personal/mobile and professional

– Date of birth / Age – YES in the UK, NO in the USA

– Nationality – YES in the UK, NO in the USA

– Sex  – YES in the UK, NO in the USA

– Marital Status  – YES in the UK, NO in the USA

 

Career objective

Though this section is optional, recruiters usually like seeing it. Here again, you have to introduce it differently according to the country of destination: UK: Career objective / professional objective – US: Career Planning.

Give a brief description of your objectives: your latest achievements and what your planned next step is.

 

Work experience/employment history

Your recruiter will likely not be familiar with companies from your country. Therefore, you want to give a brief description of the companies you previously worked for. Simply specify the industry/type of activity, the product/service offered, and the brand.

As you probably have been told already, list your experiences from the newest to the oldest, emphasise the name of the company and your position, briefly summarise your tasks and responsibilities.

We suggest you should spend some time surfing job search websites in the UK / the USA, and look for job offers and descriptions in  English. This will help you find the relevant vocabulary and idioms to name and describe your past work experiences.

Here are 2 lists of vocabulary that you might need: the first one is a list of action verbs that might be useful when describing your responsibilities in previous work experiences, and the second one is a list of words relevant to your area of expertise. 

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Education

Avoid using the word “training” unless you have received a specific professional training (usually from the company that hired you); leave the name of the school you attended to in your native language.

To help you list your diplomas and achievements, here is a table with general equivalencies of post-secondary diplomas for most countries in the world.

However, most likely you will need to Google your diploma and its equivalence in the UK, US, Australia… for more specific details.

There are specific requirements according to the countries: for the UK, specify the subjects studied and the final course marks obtained. In the USA, only list the degrees you got in higher education. You can also mention on your CV the student jobs that helped you finance your studies.

 

Skills

The idea is to highlight the skills you have developed through your education and previous work experiences. Here is an article that gives you an example of skills that are generally sought by recruiters, so you can add your own to your CV. However, make sure that the skills you mention on your CV are relevant for the industry and/or the job you’re aiming at. 

 

Languages

You want to let your future employer know what your level of English is. The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages chart can help you determine it.

 

Hobbies / Interests / Extracurricular activities

Recruiters make good use of this section as it helps them get a better idea of your personality. They also like any volunteering experience so highlight them if you have any, whether it was for a charity, a festival, or event organised in your city for example.

13903383190_5920c870e1_b References

Indicate in this section the name and contact details of at least two previous employers. Make sure you have advised them that a potential future employer of yours might contact them.

If you are a graduate and you don’t have much work experience, indicate one professor/teacher/trainer and one employer.

If your CV is aimed at a US recruiter (or if you don’t want to give contact details on your CV), you can simply write “References available upon request”.

 

And as usual

Make sure you get your grammar and spelling right. Have somebody proof-read it if necessary. We repeat it a lot but for a good reason: spelling and grammar mistakes in CVs are one of the main reasons why applications don’t go through the first screening.

Make sure all the details and information you give are accurate, don’t lie on your CV. Use a simple, easy to read layout and save it under a format that can be easily opened by anyone (word or PDF are usually recommended).

 

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