International Students: Resumes - US Style

Developing an effective resume that highlights your relevant qualifications to the position is crucial in a successful job or internship search in the US. It is a marketing tool that highlights your education and relevant skills, experiences and accomplishments for a specific position.

Writing a US Style Resume

The Resume and Letter Writing section includes helpful resources to help you write your US style resume.  

In addition, take note of the following cultural differences in resumes:

A US resume includes: A US resume DOES NOT include:
  • Personal information such as full name and contact information (cellphone & email)
  • Links to personal website, blog, or LinkedIn profile (optional)
  • Education (highest degree first)
  • Relevant coursework (optional)
  • Relevant experiences in addition to formal internships or jobs:
    • research experiences
    • course/independent projects
    • student leadership
    • volunteering
    • skills (language, computer, etc.)
  • Personal information such as:
    • age
    • gender
    • marital status
    • race/ethnicity
    • home country
  • Immigration status
  • Photograph
  • Religion
  • English as a language skill
  • International permanent address
  • Grammatical or spelling errors
  • TOEFL or SAT scores


Overseas Experience or Education

If you plan to include overseas experience or education in your resume, it is helpful to provide a frame of reference for the employer. Here are some examples:

  • 2nd largest digital marketing firm in China
  • #1 ranked Engineering College in Switzerland

Resume vs. Curriculum Vitae (CV)

In the US, a resume is typically 1 page in length and highlights your relevant qualifications for a specific position. A CV, however, is longer than 2 pages and is a detailed overview of your academic background and accomplishments. CVs are typically used when pursuing academic or research positions.

Writing Support

Every resume you submit should be free of spelling or grammatical errors. In addition to having a Career Counselor review your resume, make sure to seek writing support from your friends, classmates and your support network at Cal who are native speakers of English. Signing up for an English language conversation partner through programs like the YWCA’s English-in-Action program is another option; your conversation partner may be able to help with English grammar. View additional writing resources.

Ready for a Resume Review at the Career Center?

Career counselors are available to review your resume. You can make an appointment online, or meet with the Career Counselor for International Students during drop-in hours.


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