What to include in a CV? Which CV sections to keep off? This complete guide outlines exactly which things to put on your CV to make it shine.
Do you think life would taste better if you were allowed to carry a Colt .45 on your belt at all times? Or perhaps you can’t live without the NYC pizza slice, or the LA traffic? All valid reasons to move to America.
The American CV format doesn’t differ that much from CVs around the world, but American CVs are something else and reserved mainly for academic position applications. The US CV format is pretty straight forward, so—alright, this is America, time is money.
First, let’s see a perfect American CV sample.
In this guide:
- An American CV sample better than most.
- How to make the US CV format.
- Expert tips and examples to boost your chances of landing a job.
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Looking for CV templates for certain positions? See:
- CV With No Experience Sample
- Internship CV Sample
- Entry-Level CV Sample
- Career Change CV Sample
- Federal CV Sample
- Consultant CV Sample
- Accounting CV Sample
- Babysitter CV Sample
- Nanny CV Sample
- Bartender CV Sample
- Server CV Sample
- Barista CV Sample
- Line Cook CV Sample
- Food Service CV Sample
- Waiter / Waitress CV Sample
- Dishwasher CV Sample
- Nursing CV Sample
- Technical CV Sample
- IT (Information Technology) CV Sample
- Office Clerk CV Sample
- Front Desk CV Sample
- Data Entry CV Sample
- Secretary CV Sample
- Retail CV Sample
- Good CV Samples for All Jobs
US CV Template You Can Copy and Use
Carol J. Grier
932 Hickory Heights Drive
Baltimore, MD 21234
Personable waitress with 3+ years of fine dining experience in a dynamic Baltimore location. Used to handling 300+ orders a shift with 100% accuracy, managed to maintain a 99.8% guest satisfaction score and win Waiter of the Month four times in a row. Looking to apply proven skills and friendly persona to provide world-class service at Gaucho’s.
The Lobster, Baltimore
- Fine-dining waitress in a high-traffic Baltimore location with £4m in annual revenue.
- Handling 300+ orders a shift, maintaining 100% accuracy.
- Maintained a 99.8% guest satisfaction score for 20 months in a row.
- Achieved “Waiter of a month” four months in a row.
- Taking care of 10+ tables at once, meeting standards of the restaurant.
- Trained 5 crew members, checking their menu knowledge once a month.
- Implemented new menu introduction strategy, increasing customers purchases of desserts by 20%.
- Interpersonal skills
- Employee training
- Wine and food pairing
BA in Food and Nutrition, 2015-2017
University of Maryland, University Park, US
- Spanish (fluent)
- Portuguese (intermediate)
- German (basic)
- First Aid, CPR, BLS (American Red Cross)
Seems easy enough. Let’s start your own. Here’s how to write an American CV:
1. Use the US CV Format
Most American CV templates order your experience in the reverse-chronological CV format. This brings the most recent stuff to the top, and creates an easily skimmable structure.
If you’re undergoing a career change, or you are at the very beginning of your career, you could opt for a skills-based CV, also called a functional CV format. This will shift the spotlight to your chosen skills and will help justify any employment gaps or other positions.
Now let’s run through all the relevant US CV sections.
2. Add a Proper Header
Of course, you don’t need to be told that you need to include a CV header, however, it’s important you check you haven’t missed anything important. It should include your address, phone number you can always be reached on, and email address, at the very least.
For office and corporate jobs (careers), most people add a LinkedIn profile. This allows you more depth and information (if they want it), without exceeding acceptable CV length (more about that later).
For specialist jobs, portfolio links are needed, for example, Behance for graphic designers, GitHub for programmers, etc.
American Style CV Header
3. Write a CV Profile
After all the organisational details comes the CV profile. This is a 4-8 line paragraph outlining who you are and why you are applying for the job—the ‘why’ being your 2-3 biggest achievements, not ‘because I have rent to pay and 2 kids’!
For someone with substantial experience and some achievements, a CV summary is best. If you’re early in your career, and you want to focus on your transferable skills and ambition, you should use a CV objective.
USA CV Profile
4. List Your Work Experience
When thinking what to include on your CV, obviously work experience is the first thing that comes to mind. However, recording it correctly can be tricky.
Every work experience section should be structured with your job title, the name of the company you worked for, and the employment dates for each entry. Each of those should contain a list of bullet points describing your responsibilities.
However, the perfect CV for America will follow this job description:
- Bullet point explaining the primary role, the size and type of company, the type of work, i.e.: ‘Fine-dining waitress in a high-traffic Baltimore location with £4m in annual revenue.’
- Bullet point explaining your primary responsibility, with numbers, i.e.: ‘Handling 300+ orders a shift, maintaining 100% accuracy.’
- Few bullet points discussing specific achievements, i.e.: ‘Achieved “Waiter of a month” four months in a row.’
- A bullet point or two discussing teamwork and mentoring achievements, i.e.:’Trained 5 crew members, checking their menu knowledge once a month.’
Avoid discussing boring responsibilities—they know what the job entails. At least 75% of your bullet points should contain achievements or numbers to back yourself up.
More job description for US CV tips:
- Start each bullet point with a CV power words, i.e ‘Implemented’, ‘Improved’, ‘Generated’, etc.
- Use 6-10 bullet points for your most recent position, and limit yourself to 3 for older positions.
- Use CV keywords from the job ad to make sure your American CV will pass through the Applicant Tracking Systems that look for specific phrases.
- Only include positions that are relevant, or have transferable skills.
American CV Example Work History
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5. Mention Your Education on a US CV
The importance of the education section on your CV will differ depending on your industry and amount of experience.
Starting from your highest qualification, list the degree or diploma name, and below, school name and location. List a graduation date. If you have a degree, skip the high school stuff.
If you don’t have much work experience and this is one of your first jobs, you can list some academic achievements in bullet points below, such as scholarships. If that’s not going to fill much space, you can list coursework that is relevant to your new job.
Education on a US CV Example
6. List Your Skills
You will notice that most modern CVs look similar, and contain a skills section, if not fully fledged, then at least in a tab on the side.
Do you have skills that you want to highlight for your employer? Or perhaps you have some skills that don’t warrant a full bullet point elsewhere, but you’d still like to include? This is where it goes.
This will help pass through the ATS systems. Tip: ATS systems don’t look for ‘punctuality’. Focus on real, specialist skills. According to LinkedIn, these are the skills in demand:
American CV Skills
- Emotional Intelligence
- Cloud Computing
- Analytical Reasoning
- Artificial Intelligence
- UX Design
- Business Analysis
- Affiliate Marketing
- Scientific Computing
- Video Production
And this is how this section should be formatted on your CV:
Skills Section on American CVs
7. Add Additional US CV Sections
Most CVs will contain a confusing, irrelevant mishmash of stuff in a badly structured ‘Additional Info’ section. It’s one of the most common CV mistakes.
Everything should be clearly structured, so include bonus CV sections under these clear headings:
- Association memberships
- Volunteer work
- Additional activities
Extra Sections of American CV Template
Expert Hint: Only include relevant things—remember your US CV is a picture of you as a perfect candidate, not the fullest possible picture of your person.
8. Format Your US CV Properly
Your CV needs to look the part, too. This why you should follow these US CV format rules:
US CV Format
- Font — Use a clear and readable CV font like a 10–12pt Calibri.
- Margins — Use 1-inch CV margins, even on all sides to frame your CV.
- Spacing — Use 1.15 line spacing, and leave space between sections.
- Length — How long should a CV be? 1 page is enough for most jobs.
- File Format — CV in PDF or DOC? Unless specified otherwise, save it as PDF.
These tips will get you a job:
- First, really think about what you want, and what success means to YOU.
- Target your CV for every single position to maximise your chances.
- Update your CV every time you gain a meaningful achievement.
- Don’t lie on your CV.
- Only provide references on request.
Make sure you don’t include the following on your US CV:
- Country of origin
- Date of birth
- Immigrant status
- Marital status
- Number of children
- Personal identification numbers
- Social Security Number
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For a US CV that gets interviews:
- Use the chronological CV format.
- Put your achievementsin your summary, work history, education, and other sections to show you’ve got what they need.
- Pick the right skills. Look through the job description of interest and check wheat the employer needs.
- Write a cover letter. Make it stand out by showing your passion and how you’ll really help the store.
Did we answer all your questions on the American CV format? Was our US CV template helpful? Leave a comment. We’ll be happy to reply.