I began my recruiting career working in the Paris office for a well-known Executive Search firm headquartered in New York. On my very first day my assignment was to draft a letter to a client. I dutifully wrote what I thought was an excellent letter and proudly emailed it, only to be told a few minutes later that my letter was full of spelling mistakes! Incredulous, I scanned the document for mistakes but couldn’t find any. Then it dawned on me. The spelling mistakes were on words written in British English!
What’s the difference between British and US English?
British and American English are both English, right? Although spoken English, accents and pronunciation aside, is universal and generally understood by both Americans and Britons (or Australians and other English-speaking nations who use British spelling) the spelling and vocabulary can be quite different thanks to the evolution of English on the American continent and not forgetting Mr. Webster who in 1828 codified these differences into a dictionary.
For example, Britons spell “specialised” with an ‘s’ versus the American “specialized” with a “z” or the Britons say “Autumn” while Americans say “Fall.”
Keep things consistent
As a cross-cultural resumé writer who writes and edits English resumés for non-native English speakers, one of the most common problems I see is mixing British and US English spellings in one document. This is confusing to any reader and should be avoided. So first things first, whichever you choose, be sure to keep it consistent within the one document.
Which form of English should you choose?
When writing a resumé which form of English should you go with, American or British? Remembering my story at the beginning of the blog, the answer is simple: If you’re applying for a job with an American company, simply submit your resumé in American English. If you submit your resumé in British English, you may reach a reader who understands the difference, but perhaps not, in which case your resumé will come across as being full of spelling mistakes.
Likewise, when applying for a job with a British company, your safest bet is to submit your resumé using British English.
What if you don’t understand the difference?
Whether you’re not a native English speaker or don’t understand the difference between British English and American English, consult a professional resumé writing service that will ensure that the grammar and spelling in your resumé are appropriate for the market in which you are seeking employment. For more information on professional writers, check out the GeoWord blog on the benefits of using a professional resumé writer.
GeoWord translations for British and US English
GeoWord translates both your resumé/CV and cover letter from French, Italian, and German to either form of English. Try us today to take advantage of our native multi-lingual editors who are also experienced international recruiters. We also offer discount student pricing! If you need a resumé/CV or cover letter written from the ground up, get 10% off using code Career21.
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