Resume Spelling: To Accent Or Not To Accent

By Chris Kolmar and Experts
Aug. 5, 2022

The English language has adopted a significant number of words from other languages, which, while beneficial for our ability to communicate, can make spelling complicated, to say the least. One of these confusing words is “resume,” which can be spelled “résumé,” “resumé,” or “resume.”

In this article, we’ll go over when and how you should use accents to spell “resume,” where the accented spellings came from, and why it’s important to spell the word correctly.

Key Takeaways

  • The standard American spelling is “resume,” while spellings with accent marks are more common in Canada.

  • Countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, and France use “CV” instead of “resume.”

  • It’s important to spell the word “resume” correctly because some hiring managers can be sticklers about it, and you don’t want to give them a reason to eliminate your application from the running.

Resume Spelling: To Accent or Not to Accent

When to Use Accents to Spell Resume

Here are the guidelines to help you quickly determine which form of the word resume to use:

  • Résumé. It’s acceptable to use this form of the word if you’re applying for jobs in Canada. In the United States, it’s uncommon, but still sometimes used.

    Don’t use this word when working in France. Instead, simply refer to your resume as a “CV” or “curriculum vitae.”

    The most common context to spell the word resume with both accents is for academic or linguistic use.

    The term follows the tradition of leaving accents in loan words and clarifies what word you’re using.

  • Resumé. Using this term is also acceptable when applying for jobs in Canada. It’s acceptable in the United States as well, but many uninformed recruiters might think you’re just misspelling the word “resume.”

    Some people prefer using this form of the noun to distinguish it from the verb “resume,” which means to begin anew after an interruption.

  • Resume. If you’re looking for a job in the United States, it’s best to go with this version of the word. It’s simply the most practical and commonly recognized.

    The accented forms of the word may come off as overcorrect or too formal, even for professional purposes such as applying for a job.

    The same holds if you’re applying for a job in all other English-speaking countries.

    While proponents for the other ways of spelling the word “resume” argue that they’re more faithful to the original loan word, it’s common for language to change over time.

    Make sure that you use the unaccented form of the word in your document’s file name.

    Resume file names typically follow the “first name – last name – resume.doc” format. However, accented filenames often cause problems for many systems and should be avoided.

  • CV. In addition to France, the United Kingdom and Australia also commonly use the word “CV,” short for curriculum vitae, over the various forms of “resume.”

    Avoid using this term interchangeable with “resume” in the United States, where it refers to a document used almost entirely for academic roles.

How to Type Resume Accents

Using accents when typing out a word can often be a hassle. Here’s how you can do so using:

  • Microsoft Word. You can write acute accents for the word resume using hotkeys or navigating through the application’s menus.

    You can access the menu option by:

    1. First, select the ‘Insert’ tab from the Microsoft word navigation ribbon.

    2. Click on ‘Symbols.’

    3. Choose the option of ‘Latin-1 Supplement’.

    4. Scroll through the menu and select the acute accent.

    You can also type acute accent by using hotkeys:

    1. Hold down the ‘Control’ key.

    2. Press and release the apostrophe key.

    3. Type by hitting the ‘e’ key.

  • LibreOffice. If you’re not using Microsoft Word when you need a word processor, you’re probably using LibreOffice.

    You can still access the acute accent by:

    1. Select the “Insert” tab.

    2. Click on ‘Symbols.’

    3. Scroll through the menu and click on the acute accent.

  • ASCII. You can quickly type a character if you know its numeric code. The ASCII for ‘é’ is 130.

    1. Press and hold down the ‘Alt’ key.

    2. While holding down the ‘Alt’ key, type ‘130’ on the numeric keypad.

  • Mac computers. If you’re using macOS, you can access the acute accent by:

    1. Hold the ‘Option’ + ‘e’ keys.

    2. Release your finger from the ‘Option’ key.

    3. Hit the ‘e’ key again.

  • Google Docs. There’s only one simple way to write the acute accent in Google docs:

    1. Select the ‘Insert’ option from your navigation bar.

    2. Choose ‘Special Characters’

    3. Select ‘Latin.’

  • HTML. In case you need to write the acute accent for your web page, HyperText Markup Language (HTML) also allows you to easily render the ‘é’ character by:

    1. Type the ampersand symbol ().

    2. Type the letter you want to accent, such as “e.”

    3. Type the word “acute.”

    4. Lastly, add a semicolon (;).

  • Mobile phones. For iOS and Android mobile devices, just hold your finger over the letter you want to accent, and you’ll see a pop-up offering accent choices.

    Simply slide your finger up towards the acute accent and release it to write the accented letter.

  • Copy and paste method. If you don’t want to memorize how to access the acute accent through menus of key combinations, you could simply copy and paste it from other sources.

    If you type “resumé” once, you can easily copy and paste it anywhere else in the document.

    It’s also useful to store any words with special characters in a single document that you can copy and paste from at any time.

    Or you could just google “e acute accent” and fix the font and size to fit the rest of your document.

If you choose to write the word resume with accents, it’s a good idea to save your resume as a PDF file.

This way, you can ensure that your original formatting will be saved when you email the file to recruiters. If you send a special character such as the acute accent through a normal word document, it may turn into gibberish when the document is opened.

Whatever version of the word you choose to use, ensure that you remain consistent throughout the document.

Consistency will impact your chances of leaving a good impression more often than whether you decide to spell “resume” with an accent.

What Is a Resume Accent?

A resume accent refers to the dash found in two of the three commonly accepted ways to spell out the word “resume.”

The three common ways to spell out resume are:

  • Resume. This is the typical spelling that most of us are accustomed to.

  • Resumé. The accent above the character “e” is called an acute accent. The letter is read in a similar way to how you would pronounce the word “hey.”

  • Résumé. The word may also be spelled with an acute accent over both e’s.

If the occasion calls for spelling the word resume using an accent, be sure to use the right one.

Other types of common accents are the:

  • Circumflex accent (ê)

  • Diaeresis (ë)

  • Grave accent (è)

The Resume Accent’s Origins

The word “resume” that we use in English originally comes from the french word “résumé,” meaning a summary or outline.

In the 1940s, Americans adapted the term to refer to the document that lists your work experience.

In France, “résumé” doesn’t refer to the document you submit for job applications at all. It simply means a summary of information.

If you happen to be applying for jobs in France, make sure that you instead refer to your resume as a “CV” or “curriculum vitae.”

Mistakenly using the word “résumé” will either confuse the reader or reveal that you don’t fully grasp the French language.

The exception to this rule is if you’re pursuing a job in Canada. Most people indeed recognize the word “résumé” to mean a document that summarizes your skills, education, and accomplishments.

In fact, feel free to use all three variations of the word. “Résumé,” “resumé,” and “resume” are all acceptable ways to spell the word in Canadian English.

In case you’re curious, the most reputable English dictionaries describe the origins of the word and their usage as follows:

  • Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. All forms of the word are acceptable to use depending on the context. However, resumé is considered the least common.

  • Oxford Advanced American Dictionary. Suggests using the version with two accents, but all forms are acceptable.

  • Wiktionary. Suggests using the version with one accent but accepts all forms.

  • The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. This dictionary simply lists the three forms of the word as equally popular.

  • Essential American English Dictionary by Cambridge. The words “résumé” and “resume” are mentioned as interchangeable. The word “resumé” isn’t mentioned at all.

As for common style guides, here’s what is recommended:

  • Chicago Manual of Style. Only preserve the accents in borrowing.

  • AP (Associated Press Stylebook). AP recommends using the word with no accent marks.

  • New York Times Stylebook. This stylebook recommends using the version of the word with both accents.

Maximize Your Chances to Leave a Good Impression

How you spell the word “resume” may not seem like a big deal.

For most recruiters, it likely won’t be. However, it won’t hurt your chances to polish up every aspect of your resume.

Some hiring managers are sticklers for precise spelling and grammar, making it essential to understand and apply even seemingly obscure rules.

At the end of the day, though, the content contained within your resume and its format will matter much more than how you spell the word.

Still, here are some additional tips for choosing the right spelling of “resume” if you’re ever in doubt:

  • Follow the lead of the company or hiring manager. If you have written communication from the hiring manager, check to see how they spelled “resume” and then do it the same way. You can also look at the company website or job description for guidance.

  • Be consistent. Whichever spelling you use, stick to it throughout your cover letter, application, and any future communication. Consistency is key to keeping your documents professional and clear.

Resume Spelling FAQ

  1. How should I spell resume? If you’re applying for a job in the United States, spell resume without any accents. It’s the form that almost all recruiters and hiring managers expect to see. Americans don’t put accents on any other words — why should the word “resume” be any different?

  2. Why drop the accents on resume? Resume is a loan word from France, and loan words adapt and evolve as new cultures pick them up and put them to different uses. As we said, the original French word “résumé” doesn’t refer to the same thing as the American version. As such, it makes sense to differentiate the two.

  3. Will ATS pick up on resume accents? Some applicant tracking systems may not be able to read accent marks in your resume. They may appear as question marks or empty boxes instead. In the worst-case scenario, this might cause your resume to be rejected before it even reaches a human reader.

    Optimizing your resume for ATS means sticking to the standard version of almost everything within a text document.

  4. What if the hiring manager or recruiter spells resume with an accent? If, during your correspondence with the hiring manager, they use “résumé” with accents, then it’s probably best to mimic their style and start using the accents yourself for all future messages.

    Part of selling yourself as a good cultural fit means adopting lingo that you wouldn’t otherwise use — even if it is silly.

  5. Should I be consistent with how I spell resume? Yes, the most important thing to remember is consistency is king. If you choose to use accents in your spelling of resume, then continue to do so for the remainder of the document.

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Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.


Don Pippin, MHRM, CPRW, CDCS

Don Pippin is an executive and HR leader for Fortune 50 and 500 companies and startups. In 2008, Don launched area|Talent with a focus on helping clients identify their brand. As a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Certified Digital Career Strategist, and Certified Personal Branding Strategist, Don guides clients through career transitions.

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