How should I update my resume for US clients?
This is a question we get often when working with candidates. There are many aspects of resumes that are different structurally and culturally when you want clients in the US to understand all your experience.
If you are interested in one of our open job positions for Mexicans, we work with you to help you update your resume in these specific ways. We also have our standard Resume template we use when sending your resume to clients that you can use a starting point for building your resume in a generally accepted and clean format.
So what are the five most important aspects to check on your Resume for US clients?
1. Photos in Resumes.
We at TaleXa have mixed feelings about this, but the general consensus for US clients is that it is better to not include photos in resumes. You will notice in our Resume template below that we don’t provide a spot for a photo in that one as well.
Photos may be appropriate in specific cases and we sometimes suggest to include a photo if we truly believe the hiring manager will be discriminatory in any way.
The main reason for not placing photos in resume was well articulated by Melissa Cooley, a career expert on her blog here:
“It’s illegal to consider factors like age, race, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or disability status in hiring decisions. So hiring authorities prefer to not “officially” know whether you’re a member of one of these protected classes. If you put a photo on your resume, you reveal some of these details. If the employer later interviews you but doesn’t hire you, it opens the possibility of a discrimination claim. Some companies will even flat-out reject resumes with photos, just to avoid that potential accusation.”
The idea is that hiring managers should never discriminate or attempt to discriminate among many factors including gender, skin color, race, ethnicity, cultural background, and more, and a photos typically can bring these biases out.
To be safe — we recommend to remove the photo. We strategically advise adding photos in certain instances when discrimination is not an issue (or a photo is specifically asked for).
We believe that now living in a more and more visual and multimedia world, photos will become more prevalent (and legal) for resumes. It’s already telling that LinkedIn, the largest network for professional workers in the world, has created the standard to have photos alongside a profile or resume. Linkedin profiles without photos are typically nowadays seen as unprofessional or simply not tech-savvy.
We’ll simply leave it at this: when in doubt, leave it out.
2. Education fields on resumes need to be explicit about the type of Degrees you have.
On US resumes, it is very common to see simply:
-GED / Some college
-Doctorate / PHD
The equivalent of these you should figure out based on the country you went to your University or studies of higher education. We use Degree Validation services when working with candidates if you are in need of a Visa because for immigration purposes you typically need an official seal confirming the equivalency of your degree to a degree in the US.
The main thing you want to update on your resume though if you have a typical 4-year Bachelors Degree is literally adding the words “Bachelors of” to the field you studied.
We scan hundreds of resumes a week from Mexico and notice almost all candidates simply list their education similar to this:
We’ve had more than one hiring manager in the US see Education sections like this and not realize that the first line “Computational System Engineering” is referring to a Bachelors degree. What may be obvious here in Mexico is not so in the US.
So in this case we want to simply update it to say: “Bachelors of Computational Systems Engineering”.
Then if you have others such as Masters, you would list it as “Masters of Computational Systems Engineering” or whichever field it was in.
Sometimes we recommend putting the University’s original name, in this case, “Instituto Technólogico de Toluca” and in brackets [Technology Institute of Toluca]. It doesn’t seem like it, but for US hiring managers, they may not recognize the translation that this is a Technology Institute at first glance and in this case you want to remove any confusion a hiring manager may have when looking at your resume.
Always keep the original University name though so it is easier to identify on closer inspection.
3. Always include a Technical Skills and Professional Summary fields in your resume at the top.
Statistics from TheLadders from hiring managers showed that, on average, a hiring manager will only spend 6 seconds looking at your resume. While this may be a little depressing after you’ve spent a few days polishing your resume and getting every little detail right, it is something to take into great consideration when you are highlighting the most important aspects of your resume.
Given this, at the top of your resume along with your name and contact information, you will need to play a Summary which is an overview of the highlights of your skills, professional experience, and education. A good Professional Summary could look like this:
This is taken from our Resume template you can find near the bottom of this post. Notice how everything under Professional Summary should be in bullet points with short and concise statements followed by a detailed and easy-to-read table of Technical Summary below.
We do resumes for Designers and Graphic Design professionals, and in the Technical Summary you could simply list the tools you use such as Adobe Creative Suite, Abstract, Invision, Sketch, etc. and all the other categories of services / tools that may be relevant and fall within technical expertise of your craft.
4. Each item of your professional experience needs to include four specific things
Below your Summary at the top, you will begin to list your Professional Experience. The meat of your resume.
When you list these, you need to make sure you don’t miss 6 important aspects: your title, the location (remote if remote), the dates you worked, the company, 3+ bullet points describing your role, and tools/environments you used at this position.
It will look like this if you follow our template:
Notice you can put as many bullet points as you want. In fact, we encourage this because this is the one comment we get the most from our clients is that they want to see and understand more about your role within each position. Ask yourself what you did each day, who you interacted with, what responsibilities you had, and what was unique that you did that would be interesting for a prospective employer to know about you.
5. Keep your Resume between to 1-3 pages if possible. No more than 5 pages if you have lots of Professional Experience.
Length of resumes can be very subjective. You will find many different types of advice on this. For our clients, we prefer the shortest version whenever possible. At times, we may even selectively place your experience that is relevant for the position you are interested.
The truth is there is no hard and fast rule for this. You likely want to keep the resume within 1-3 pages given that hiring managers on average only spend 6 seconds per resume as we mentioned above, however, you also don’t want to seem light on your experience if you have over 10+ years of experience and you need more than 3 pages to list all the companies, your roles, and the tools/environments you used. Listing those are much more important than following a resume page limit.
Typically a good way to know is if you have more than 5-10 years experience, feel free to add more than 3 pages if it takes that much. If you have less than 5 years experience, you probably are either adding unnecessary information or you have lots of extra space / fields that you don’t need.
Those are our five main tips for getting your resume right away ready for US clients. There is one obvious one we didn’t include but your resume should be in English. Consult with a professional translator if you need to double check aspects of your resume or reach out to us if you are interested in one of our open job positions for Mexicans. We can help you out free of charge in those cases.
Please see our recommended format below and we look forward to hearing from you if you believe you qualify for one of our opportunities!