How to Successfully Translate Your CV Into English

You’ve found the perfect job in an English-speaking country. You know you’re exactly the person they need to hire – but you need a fantastic English CV model to get your foot in the door. Let’s talk about how to catch your future employer’s attention with the perfect CV!

Is a CV the Same as a Resume?

The easy answer is usually yes. An employer is asking for a one to two-page summary of your education and work history. The biggest difference is that in the US, a CV is longer and more detailed. It is used by people who have advanced degrees to find a position in an academic institution or research company.

What Should I Include in My CV?

A resume will typically list all these things as a summary, in this order:

  1. One to two sentences describing what kind of a job you want, your interest in this kind of work, and a brief summary of your qualifications for this position.
  2. Your educational history, where you studied, and when.
  3. Your employment history, starting with your most recent job.
  4. A short list of other skills you have that may be relevant to the job.
  5. A brief paragraph listing any awards you received, professional organizations you belong to, and even two or three of your hobbies and outside interests.

Notice that all of these things are brief. A resume is usually only one page long. It will change as you move from job to job. Many people will change their resume to fit the specific job they are applying for.

Objective or Personal Statement

The first step in connecting with your future employer is a well-constructed sentence telling them what you hope to achieve by applying for this job. How will you move forward with your life’s goals by working for this company in this position? How can your experience and skills help this employer grow his or her business?

Education

Make a list of all the places you studied and the dates you attended. You should include the location of the school if it isn’t obvious. You should also include your course of study and any other subjects that are relevant to the job you are applying for. Here’s an example:

Bocconi University, Milan, Italy. September 2010 – May 2013
Coursework included Advanced Accounting, Statistics, and Corporate Governance.

If you are a new graduate, this section will be longer and come before your employment section. If you have some employment history, keep your education section as brief as possible so you can include more employment skills and experience.

Employment

List all the places you have been employed. Start with your most recent employment. If you held a job several years ago that is not relevant to your goal, you may not want to include it unless it accounts for a significant space in your work history. Many employers will have questions about what you were doing if there are significant gaps in your employment history.

Write down everything you can remember, including your job titles, your job duties, any management experience, and other accomplishments with a little bit of detail. If you increased sales, how much did you increase them? If you made a procedure more efficient, how did you accomplish this? Remember the job you are applying for, and write your past experience in a way that will be interesting and relevant to your future employer. For each job you list in your CV, make sure you list at least one achievement.

Here’s an example:

Registered Nurse, Emergency/Trauma Department, Fortis Hospital, Bangalore, India
2012 – present
Assess patients and provide necessary and proscribed treatments for stabilization.
Supervised 2 LPNs and directed daily duties of 8 CNAs. Assisted in the training of 20 first-year nursing students, providing guidance in clinical skills and workplace competencies.
Served on the Safety Compliance Task Force as the Nurse Liaison from ER.

Be sure to also talk about your “soft skills,” and how you used them in your daily duties. Soft skills are skills like patience, teamwork, flexibility and leadership.

Skills, Publications, Organizations, Etc.

In this section you can list anything else that you think is relevant. If you are applying to be a nurse, including office management skills and software you know how to use could help you get the employer’s attention. This is also the place to list all the languages you speak, and how well you speak them!

In this section, you can also personalize your CV and talk briefly about your hobbies and interests. This will help an employer see your passion and determination, and show a little bit of your personality.

I’ve Finished My CV – Now How Do I Write It in English?

Make sure you don’t waste all your hard work by leaving English mistakes in your CV! Here are some tips to watch for.

Change Standard English Grammar to Make Things Fit

It’s totally fine to leave out some words that you would normally use in a grammatically correct English sentence. You might do this to fit more information into a small space, or to make it faster for the employer to read.

You know that in English, we need our subjects to tell who is doing the action, right? Well in a resume or CV, it is pretty obvious that YOU are the subject. Don’t use sentence subjects or possessive pronouns. Here’s an example:

Instead of saying,
I was responsible for twelve IT techs and my supervisor promoted me to Team Leader.

You can say,
Managed twelve IT techs; promoted to Team Leader. (Notice that if you combine sentences in this way, they are connected with a semi-colon.)

Use Active Sentences

Besides being more interesting to read, using action verbs can help shorten your sentences. This includes not using phrasal verbs, which always sound weaker. Here’s an example:

I was in charge of twenty sales reps and we met all our goals for the year.

Make this active by saying,
Directed and trained a team of sales reps; hit all yearly goals.

Use Past Tense

If you are talking about a job you currently have, use the present tense to describe your duties. If it is a job you don’t have anymore, you can use the past tense.

Proofread! Proofread!

Make sure you look at your CV several times to make sure things are correct. Have a native English speaker look at it, if possible. Let it sit for a day, then come back to look at it and pretend you are an employer, analyzing how well it matches up to the available job.

You may be tempted to attach a photo to your CV, but in the United States and the UK, it’s not usually done. This could make your resume seem more unprofessional. It will also use valuable space that could be used to list more of your accomplishments!

Keep Improving Your English Skills!

A great CV will help you get an interview, but you will need to show that your English skills are good when it’s time to convince the employer that you are the right person for the job! Check out some of our other videos and posts for business English, like this one about how to introduce yourself at a job interview. Go Natural English offers you lots of ways to improve your English skills, so click here to look at everything we offer!

As always, be sure to leave a comment below and tell us how we can help you with your English language learning!

 

 

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