US resumes

Find out what a resume is and how it’s different from a CV.

Resumes are used in applications for jobs in the USA. A good resume is an important element in obtaining an interview.

A resume is a concise, informative summary of your abilities, education, and experience. Its length is normally one side of A4 only. It should highlight your strengths and skills and, make you stand out from other candidates.

CVs are also used in North America, typically for academic applications like further study and academic jobs. They are much longer documents which detail all your experience and include your publications, research and full education history.

What should you include on your resume?

There’s not an exact formula for writing your resume but things you should include are:

  • your contact details
  • education – definitely your degree(s) but sometimes also pre-degree qualifications depending on what you’re applying for
  • work experience/ volunteer experience
  • extracurricular activities
  • skills – technical, interpersonal, transferrable – they're all valuable!

With any experience you include, make sure to include your accomplishments and achievements in those positions, not just your responsibilities. Use plenty of action words and keep each bullet point fairly short.

Find more information on writing your resume, and examples, at the links below:

Harvard University Office of Career Services

Columbia University Center for Career Education CVs

These resources require your University of Edinburgh login:

LinkedIn Learning course for resume writing

Resume makeover. Rewriting your resume LinkedIn Learning course