A guide for foreign students wishing to land an internship in the United States
What is needed?
- A good word processor. Microsoft Works or Word will do fine.
- A trusted friend who can proof-read your resume and cover letter (Your friend should be able to help you check for grammar, syntax, and spelling errors in English).
Resume writing in the United States can seem daunting at first. The format, many times, is different than in other countries and it may leave you scratching your head wondering where to put what. It has been said that writing a resume is more relaxed and less formal in the United States. However, that does not mean that there isn’t a typically accepted format. This article will explain how to write a resume to apply for a job or internship in the United States. Once you finish your resume, follow the steps provided to craft a cover letter.
First of all, remember that the resume is your way of selling yourself to a potential employer. It should be able to quickly say who you are and why you are the ideal candidate for the internship or open position. You don’t necessarily want the resume to be a long history or too much information. Many times resumes in the United States are only one page long and contain only recent and relevant information. Think of it as a way to market yourself where the ultimate goal is the interview!
Second, if you are applying for an internship there is a good chance you are a student without much previous work experience. It may help to recall that any experience is good experience at this point. Think of student organizations, volunteer work, and tutoring or mentoring projects. If you do that, it is likely you can think of some relevant experience to write about in your resume.
Now, let’s go through the typical format of a resume in the United States.
<Your Address. It helps to have an address in the United States.>
< E-mail address. E-mail is a common way to be contacted these days>
<You should not include your nationality, birth-date, marital status or any national ID numbers. These are not required on a US resume. You want to keep this brief!>
<Present experience or employment and duties>
<Previous dates of experience or employment>
<Previous experience and a brief description (if you have had any previous experience, you should list that now)>
<Most recent dates>
<Qualifications and Degrees received at last school or university (Keep it to the point. Many people reading your resume will be confused by wordy explanations>
<Previous Dates (Remember this should be in descending order starting with the most recent>
<Previous Education and Qualification (if you have attended other schools, continue in reverse date order)
Put any skills, awards, or achievements here. A noteworthy achievement might be an academic recognition for good grades or a prize you have won for something you did in your academic/ volunteer/ or work life. Keep the descriptions to the point and avoid wordiness.
This is where you can share any other interests that may not have been previously applicable. Make sure that the interests are relevant to the internship you are applying for, and are not a detriment to your resume. Some good examples might be: Reading; Learning new things (you could be more specific and say ‘Learning new computer skills’ for example); Speaking French (or other language); Working on a team; Problem solving; Going to 4H meetings (or other club), etc. Avoid interests that make you sound like someone less than desirable to hire.
REFERENCES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
It is important to have references or people willing to vouch for your good performance like professors or former bosses; yet these days many people do not list their references on their resumes. They require the prospective employer to request them. If you have any letters of recommendation, they should be in English or translated from the original language into English.
When you finish writing your resume, check and see if it looks neat, organized, and symmetrical. This will help so that the person reading your resume doesn’t get confused. Next, proof read it for mistakes. Then, ask a friend to help you find any lingering mistakes.
Please see our sample resume attached. If you would like more resume writing inspiration, click this link for more sample resumes: http://jobsearch.about.com/od/sampleresumes/a/sampleresume2.htm).
Congratulations! You are finished writing your resume!
Sample ResumeJill Thompson 555 First Ave. N New York, New York 55555 111-555-5555 firstname.lastname@example.org
Graduate Assistantship in English Department at New York University- Taught beginning level college English courses to incoming freshman students; corrected essays and tests; held office hours to assist students with questions.
Volunteer for YMCA Summer Day Camps-Participated in a variety of summer day camps such as Horse camp and Swim camp and helped to plan activities and meals for children ages seven to twelve. Initiated a daily reading hour for children ages seven to nine, to instill new vocabulary and reading skills.
Master’s in English Literature from New York University.
Bachelor’s of Arts in English Literature from New York University.
2008- Graduated New York University Summa cum Laude
2007- Excellence in Historic Literature Award from New York University
2006- YMCA Volunteer of the Year
Teaching, Historical Literature, Investigative Journalism, Writing Novels
REFERENCES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST
By Sara Beck. Sara is an MBA student and loves to travel. She blogs at www.sarabeck.wordpress.com.