Learn resume tips

Do you want to get a good job? You need a great resume. Watch this video to learn 10 tips for a great resume.

General resume tips: Follow these ten tips to make a great resume.

What is a resume?

It is a document that you create that details your contact information, the job you want, your qualifications, work experience, educational background and other information to say why you are qualified for the position.

Your resume is the first thing a company will look at when they decide if they want to interview you for a job or consider hiring you to work at their company. Companies receive hundreds of resumes. When someone looks at your resume, you have about 10 seconds to impress that person. Remeber that the employer wants to learn about you and not your coworkers. Make sure to use the word “I”, rather than “we”. You may not be used to talking about yourself. However, it is an important part of the job search process in America.  

Many refugees and immigrants have great experience and skills but need a better resume.

Sample Resume

Ten tips for making a great resume

Here are 10 things you can do to help make sure your resume goes into the “Good” stack.

1. The top part of your resume with your name is very important!

Make sure it is easy to read. Bold your name and consider using a shortened version of your name that is easier for employers to read. Do not include your middle name, especially if it is long.

2. Make sure you use an “American” phone number and email address.

Sometimes, refugees or immigrants use a WhatsApp number or International number. Use a U.S. phone number and write it using the standard format in the U.S. which goes like this- area code in parentheses, first three numbers, then a dash, then the next four numbers:

(503) 544-1195.

Use an easy to re-type, US email address. Do not use an email address that ends in a foreign country such as: mohamedhusseinali17352@yahoo.fr  Instead, use an easy to type U.S. email address. For example: mo.ali@gmail.com. And remember to check this email address! A good idea is to have one email address that you use for all job applications.

3. Use a layout that is easy to review quickly.

This means making sure everything is easy to understand. You can do this by using the same format for every area and making sure everything lines up. You can download a free resume template on our website here (add link).

4. Put your US-based work or volunteer experience at the top of the resume.

It’s important to include experience from working in the United States. If you do not have any U.S. work experience, consider volunteering or interning at U.S. company to get U.S. experience. You can also take free online classes in order to increase your qualifications and include these on your resume.

5. Include your language skills but do not include English

List any languages you speak, including if you only speak or write in those languages. But, do not include English. You show you are fluent in English by having a good resume with proper grammar, capitalization, and formatting.

6. Be sure to include your volunteer experience.

Many refugees and immigrants do not include the many ways they help their community. For example, many refugees we know will translate for other community members. They do this just to be kind and because it is part of their community. You should include this type of volunteering on your resume. The only thing you should not include is when you are helping your own family.

7. Use capitals and verbs

Be very careful with capitalizations. You need to make sure you capitalize all proper nouns. Proper nouns are words like names, cities, and companies. Review your resume and make sure you are using capital letters for all names, places, companies. Every bullet you write describing your experience should start with a verb (a word describing an action). This makes it more interesting to read. It also tells the employer what your responsibilities were right away.

8. Make sure your resume is no more than two pages

Your resume should only be single paragraph spacing and should all fit on one or two pages. Employers will not read resumes that are longer than that.

9. Finally, make sure your font is the same for the entire resume.

One small but important change you can make it to be sure all of the text on your resume is the same font. Many times, when you are making a resume, especially if you copy parts of your text from another document, the font might accidentally change. It makes it confusing to look at. To make sure your font is the same, type “ctrl+a”. Once all of the font is highlighted, select the font and the size. Two good, common fonts to use are: Times New Roman and Arial. Use at least size 12 font to make your resume easy to read.

10. Save your resume as a PDF!

If you save your resume as a word document or other type of document, it might get messed up. It is better to save it as a PDF file so that it will look exactly the way you want. Also, make sure that you have a version saved in Word format as well. You can use this version to make edits to your resume.

Additional tips for entry-level roles

Education can help make you look like a qualified worker. You may have taken courses in school where you developed skills you will use in your job. If so, write the names of the courses in your education. You can do the same thing with longer research papers or significant projects.

Life experience can be helpful to list as well. Even if you did work at or around your home, you can list what skills you used. For example, some stay-at-home mothers could say that they balanced the family budget.

Avoid putting many “soft skills” in your resume. This means that you should not focus on your personality traits. Instead, focus on the things you did or skills you have learned. You can do it a couple of times but not more than that. For example, avoid saying that you are “friendly”, or “a happy person”.

Based on your experience, give yourself a title in your resume. For example, if you worked at a school where you took care of and taught young children, you would be a “teacher” or “childhood education professional”.

Additional tips for professional roles

Your resume should not be longer than 2 pages, even if you have been working for a long time. Only include the last 15 years of your work experience.

If you went to a school that was famous or hard to get into, make sure to add that to your “education” section.

List accomplishments as well as what your tasks were. If you worked on an impressive project, give a little detail about it. An example would be a project you worked on that was very expensive or where you had to manage many people.

Here is a resume template you can use to create your resume.

When doing your resume, it is easiest to start with a template

Here are some example resumes:

Bhutanese Female Resumé Example

Karen Male Resumé Example

Somali Female Resumé Example

Resume Customization: how to create a job-specific resume

Companies use resume tracking systems to filter job applications. For most jobs, a human is not reading your resume. MostInstead, a computer is looking to see if the words in your resume match the job description. A posted job typically receives hundreds of applications. 

Since your resume is reviewed by a computer, you have to make sure you create a job-specific resume. This means that each time you apply, you need to check the job description and match your resume to it. However, a job specific resume does not have to include every word from the job description. Look for keywords. Keywords are words and phrases that are used the most often. Many keywords are listed under the “required skills” section. For example, if you are applying to be an administrative assistant, you notice that words like “filing”, “making appointments”, and “scheduling” use a lot. 

Writing a job specific resume might involve changing words to other words with a very similar meaning. For example, you might be applying for a job that wants a “content writer” when you have previously worked as a “content creator.” Another example may be changing the phrase “looked for new workers” to “recruited employees”. 

This process takes time and practice. The easiest way to start is to print out the job description. Take some time and highlight and underline words you think are important and make sure to add them into your resume. Remember that honesty is important. Do not include any skills that you do not have exprience with. A helpful website for this process is called jobscan.co. You can upload your resume and job description and see if you have enough matches or need to do more.

We hope these resume tips helped you. Now that you have learned how to make a great resume, it is time to get ready for your job interview.

Learn how to have a great job interview.

Refugees shaking hands

Start your job search

Learn how to find a job and make a great resume.

Find job help now
Did this page help you? Smiley face Yes Frown face No
Thank you for your feedback!