Resume Spelling: To Accent Or Not To Accent

By Chris Kolmar - Jan. 22, 2021

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When a hiring manager reads your resume, you have only one chance to make a good impression before they decide whether to ignore it and move onto the next one.

This makes it imperative to polish every aspect of your resume, including the language used within.

It may seem silly, but a surprising number of recruiters are sticklers for how you use accents when spelling the word “resume.”

This article will discuss what the resume accent is, its origins, and when to use it.

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.

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

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.

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 specifically in 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.

Maximize Your Changes 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. Take advantage of all the other expert resume-writing resources available on Zippia.com.

Take the hassle out of your job search & get an offer faster
Chris Kolmar

Author

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.

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