Applications and Interviewing
The hiring process in the U.S. involves marketing yourself to employers. Most employers will require a resume. Although not always required, we also recommend that you submit a cover letter to supplement the resume and help set you apart from the crowd.
In addition to the information below, review our Resumes and Correspondence Resources to learn more about recommended practices in the United States.
Resume best practices vary by country. For most industries, U.S. resumes are:
- Focused on relevant education, experience, and skills for the specific position
- Concise, consisting of brief phrases instead of complete sentences
- Preferably 1 page, but 2 pages are acceptable if all content is relevant
- Contain full name and contact information: address, phone, email (LinkedIn profile or other online portfolios optional)
U.S. resumes do not include:
- Personal information such as: age, gender, marital status, home country, religion
- International permanent address
- Immigration status
- English as a language skill
- Grammatical or spelling errors
- TOEFL or SAT scores
Unlike a resume, a Curriculum Vitae (CV) (used when pursuing academic or research positions) is longer than 2 pages and is a detailed overview of your academic background and accomplishments.
A cover letter allows you to elaborate upon your interest in the position and confidently explain why you are an ideal candidate. It should be unique for each position. U.S. cover letters:
- Should be 1 page, typically 3 paragraphs
- Focus primarily on how you can add value to the employer
- Expand upon (not just repeat) details found in the resume
- Allow you to demonstrate clear and concise written communication skills
The interview is your opportunity to explain your qualifications, conveying both confidence and enthusiasm. The employer's goal is to determine whether you are a good fit for the position and organization.
Review our Interviewing and Negotiating Resources to learn more about recommended practices. Whether you interviewing on the phone, through video conferencing, or in person, keep in mind a few general tips:
- Speak clearly and slowly in order to be understood
- Practice, practice, practice!
- Review our Interviewing and Networking Resource Manual or sample interview questions and other helpful preparation materials
- Schedule a practice interview with a Career Advisor
- Practice with a friend or in the mirror