Resume challenges in the USA

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Writing a resume in the USA was challenging for me due to several reasons.

I want to share with you what the resume challenges in the USA are.

First, it was different from the one I had prepared back in Iraqi in both from the format and the information you write about. Second, the quality and the quantity of information being explained in the resume was very different. 

In general, the way we used to prepare a resume in Iraq is different from what we prepare here in the United States of America. In Iraq, your resume is longer – my resume was almost three pages. These three pages had information about every single academic institution I graduated from, information about all the classes I had taken, my address, my teachers, my detailed activities, etc.

So the first of my resume challenges was that my resume was long enough to make anyone in the USA tired while reading it.

In my Kurdish culture (and in Iraq in general) people think the longer you describe something, the better you are. Kurdish and Iraq culture is a mostly verbal culture in which they use many words and names for one thing or one activity. I did not notice this until I came to USA and saw how short and precise the resumes are or should be.

My second of my resume challenges was formatting.

I still remember that my resume in Iraq not only short, but it was even formatted in a very different way. For example, writing your resume without a physical address makes it difficult to get in contact with a company or employer. Another example from my first resume included my degrees and the year and the month of that degree. Instead of just writing down the degree and the specialization, we wrote every detail about that degree.

Once I came to the United States of America, I started to change my entire resume.  I started with editing my first resume to take away all unnecessary details about my activities and my degrees. Thus, I was only focusing on precise and required important information about my major degrees, and certificates. I removed most activities, hobbies, and unnecessary information. My main goal was just to keep the main work experiences and achievements in my life.

I realized that there were several resume challenges in the USA.

The first reason is that you have to add specific information from the job description when you apply for certain employers.

Second, you do not know exactly which of your original information should be taken away. Third, I did not know that when you apply for a job here, you should also write a separate cover letter too. Back in Iraq, it was only a resume . We did not get to have a separate cover letter to be attached with resume. Finally, you need recommendations that are not from your original country but from people that live here. 

Writing a resume in a different country can be very hard. Be ready to make changes and learn from people who can help you make the changes you need.

Opinions expressed and advice given in USAHello’s Voices and Hello blogs are the writers’ own. USAHello offers impartial information and online courses to help newcomers in the USA.