A Guide To USA Style CV Making: Top Dos And Don’ts

Published in
3 min readAug 23, 2021


Fatma Gdoura expert of “CV/Resume Building” workshop during Skills21 third bootcamp.
Fatma Gdoura expert of “CV/Resume Building” workshop during Skills21 third bootcamp

Several students face challenges while writing a CV aimed at applying to scholarships or international opportunities mainly in English-speaking countries. Especially Tunisian students because in the local market french standards are followed.

Not knowing the norms got you here? 🥺

Not knowing the norms: what’s accepted and what’s not may feel frustrating, but don’t worry, we got you. 💡

In this article, we will share with you top Dos and Don’ts while building your CV according to the USA standards as explained by our expert Fatma Gdoura, a management analyst II at CGI.

1- DOs:

  • Include your name, address (if relevant), phone number (preferably cell), and email address in your heading.
  • For your work experience, use a reverse chronological order. Make sure to mention the position title, name of the company, dates of employment (months and years), and description.
  • In the education section, use the reverse chronological order as well. Include your degree, major, school, and year of graduation. If your GPA is above 3.0, you can mention it. Your performance will be known as high.
  • Mention your skills and abilities, both soft and hard.
  • If you got any certificates or awards such as winning essay competitions, scholarships, honors, and professional affiliations, mention them as well.
  • When applying for a job, make sure your CV is 1-page max.
  • When applying for academic positions, your CV can be 2–3 pages long.
  • Use action verbs such as accelerate, construct, explain, measure… Here is a list of 195 verbs to get you started.
  • Use quantitative values: Show the impact of what you did. Make it real and measurable. A good example to follow: Elevated the average customer rating from 4.0 to 4.5 after instituting a new customer service training program.

⚡ GOLDEN BONUS TIP ⚡: Use keywords and verbs that is relevant to the job description you are applying for, that will make your CV stand out from others.

2- DON’Ts:

  • Using the 1st person: Your verbs should be written in past or present tense depending on the time of the experience without including the 1st person as a subject.
  • Posting a photo: It is prohibited to attach photos to avoid discrimination and unconscious bias.
  • Using different kinds of fonts or irregular spaces: Your resume will look messy and unorganized.
  • Writing broad and non-specific descriptions: For example, increased organization for the company.
  • Using the same verb over and over again. Instead, use verbs from the list that we shared with you earlier.
  • Having a fit-all resume: You need to make different versions of your resume depending on the function, the position, and the company.
  • Treating your CV as an autobiography: Only relevant information need to be mentioned. In other words, you don’t have to tell it all; just highlight what is important for the occupation.

To sum up, resume writing is a major challenge for students and even graduates. So, make sure to follow these Dos and Don’ts if you’re applying for American and international opportunities and check our notion on how to write a winning CV if you need help with your French one as well.

Keep in mind that your CV is super important, but not a golden ticket. In fact, even though it can help you boost your position, get an interview, and get noticed by recruiters, you still need to perform well in the interview and other parts of the recruitment process to get the job.

If you’re looking for an amazing experience that contributes to your professional development and makes your CV stand out, join our upcoming Bootcamps. You can find all the information needed on our website. If you need more details, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Get to know skills21 talents from bootcamp #2

This article was written by Ghaya khamassi — Skills21 alumna.




Get the 21st century skills in 21 days! Apply 👉 apply.getskills21.com to have full access.