Resume and Cover Letter Guide

Since the manner in which writing a ‘Resume’ and ‘Cover Letter’ in Sweden and the U.S.A. is somewhat different, we have put together a resume and cover letter guide in order to aid you in making the best impression possible on your potential future supervisor!

Resume Guide

What is a Resume?

  • Your resume is a summary of your professional and academic life. It usually concentrates on your personal details, education and work experience.
  • Your resume should be one page. Contrary to a European style CV, a resume is intended to sum up all of your related educational, working experience and personal details on one page. American companies are looking for an applicant to put forth only information that is related to the job they are applying to. Past working experiences as well as personal experience that do not relate directly to the job should be left off.
  • You can alter the format of your resume by adjusting or reducing the font size. However, make sure the font is large enough so that the reader can in fact read what you have written. Use bullet points to write short and concise sentences to keep the reader’s interest while making your resume easy to read.
  • Attention to detail is essential- applicants are rejected for errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar. Don’t forget to check and double check your spelling and grammar. Spell check cannot always be relied upon. Ask someone else to read your resume and give you feedback
  • Remember, you need to tailor your resume for the reader! You need to think about how it will sound to the person that is going to select you out of a pool of candidates. They want someone who can meet the needs of their organization. Focus on what you can do for them, rather than what they can do for you.
  • Also, remember to translate your resume from Swedish to English! Although it may seem to make sense to you, an American may not understand a Swedish word!

How to write a Resume

Personal Info:

  1. Name:
  2. Street Address:
  3. Phone Number (including country code +46)
  4. Email address:
  5. Do NOT include a photo, your date of birth, or your gender since this is not customary in the U.S.A.

Qualifications Summary:

This is not a ‘mandatory’ section, but if space allows for it, can be appreciated and gives the reader an idea of what kind of person you are. Here you should write a short summary about yourself, stating what qualifies you for the position that you are applying for. Target strengths and your personality, revealing your skills and character.

Education:

  1. List your academic achievements with the most recent achievement first.
  2. Include start and finish date (month and year).
  3. List any relevant courses you have taken that might further prove that you are qualified for the position.
  4. Be sure to look up the correct translation of your Swedish education. The immediate translation of your Swedish education does not always correspond with an American education.
  5. Ex: High School= Gymnasium, Bachelors/Undergraduate=B.A./B.S. , Masters/Graduate= M.A./M.Sc./M.B.A. ,etc

Work Experience:

  1. Include your different jobs and internships.
  2. List these experiences with the most recent first.
  3. Be sure to include start and finish date (month and year).
  4. Include details about when, where and the role of your position.
  5. Add a brief explanation of what your achievements were or what you have learned from your former job/internship.
  6. Use verbs in an active voice, not a passive voice. ‘I organized the exhibition’ is active while ‘the exhibition was organized by me’ is passive.
  7. Use action verbs to describe your achievements. Find verbs that match your skills and experiences.

Extra Curricular Activities:

  1. Include information such as active memberships in organizations or sports clubs.
  2. Name the organization, your role, and the duration of your membership status.

Language Abilities:

  1. Include all languages you speak.
  2. Make sure to distinguish between your written and spoken capabilities.
  3. Include your level of ability (Basic, Intermediate, Fluent, Mother Tongue).

Computer Knowledge:

  1. List your knowledge of different computer programs.
  2. Include your level of ability (Basic, Intermediate, Advanced).

References:

  • Finish your resume with the phrase- ‘References Available Upon Request’

Cover Letter Guide

Due to the one page restriction of a resume, the cover letter is the opportunity for you to develop upon the ideas you put forth in your resume. It is a chance for you to tell the reader more about your skills and achievements and give them a better image about what kind of person you are. You should expand more on the skills you have gained from your work experience and other relevant activities that you mentioned in your resume. The information should always be relevant for the position that you are applying for. Your letter should be no more than one page. Read an article about some important topics you might want to take into consideration when composing your cover letter.

Remember:

  • Be proud of your achievements! This is no time to be modest.
  • However, make sure you are being honest and always tell the truth.
  • Back up the skills you mentioned in your resume with examples from your work and academic experience.
  • The focus should be on the position, only mention what you think can form a good image of you ‘job wise’.
  • Do not use technical vocabulary, unless you are sure that the reader will understand it (Ex: It is OK to use technical computer vocabulary if applying for an IT internship).
  • Avoid using Swedish expressions since they usually do not makes sense to Americans.
  • Keep a positive and professional tone throughout the letter!