When applying for a new job, you want to make an excellent first impression. This means you pay attention to your resume and cover letter language. If you are wondering how you spell the word resume, it’s probably at the moment when you have to write it down. Do you just write down ‘resume’, or do you doubt writing ‘resumé’ or even ‘résumé’?
Well, no need to look further because we will help solve this dilemma!
What is a Resume Accent?
A word that is accented usually means that it is not written in American English. The letter ‘e’ is commonly accented in four ways. These common types of accents are called grave accent (è), diaeresis, circumflex accent (ê), and acute accent (é).
So what is a resume accent? ‘Resume‘ is a word that is commonly associated with an acute accent. This accent is a product of the word’s pronunciation. If an acute accent is used on the word resume, the letter ‘e’ will read like it does in the word ‘hey.’ In this case, the resume’s acute accent helps the reader determine which e’s carry a specific sound.
In two of the three ways to write the word resume, the word resume is written with an accent. The accent is the dash put on top of either one ‘e’, as in resumé, or two ‘e-s,’ as in résumé.
How to Spell ‘Resume’ – What Does the Dictionary Say?
As you might already have figured out, the word résumé is French. In French, it’s written with double accents on e-s. The word basically means summary. However, in France and Europe, ‘resume’ is rarely used for the document that we know as containing a summary of a person’s relevant education, skills, and work experience. Instead of the word resume, they use ‘CV’, an abbreviation of the word curriculum vitae.
So which way should you write it? Let’s first have a look at what the most popular dictionaries say.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary: The noun suggested first is ‘résumé’, but variants ‘resume’, or ‘less commonly resumé’ are mentioned.
Cambridge Essential American English Dictionary: Both ‘résumé’ and ‘resume’ are mentioned as nouns. However, the variant ‘resumé’ with one accent is not mentioned at all.
Oxford Learner’s Dictionary: Résumé is suggested, but resumé and resume are also mentioned as alternatives.
As can be concluded, there are different ways of writing the word resume. However, one thing is clear; the variant with only one accent, ‘resumé’ is not particularly favored. This version is not the French or English version but rather a new version that has evolved. Despite becoming acceptable, it isn’t widely used.
Related: ‘How to answer: Walk me through your resume‘
What Do The Common Style Guides Suggest?
- Associated Press Stylebook (AP): AP encourages using loan words without accent marks.
- Chicago Manual of Style: the Chicago Manual of Style suggests preserving the accents in borrowings.
In the end, what is the conclusion? We can conclude that there are different ways of writing the word resume. However, one thing is clear; the variant with only one accent, ‘resumé’ is not particularly favored. This version is not the French or English version but rather a new version that has evolved. Despite becoming acceptable, it isn’t widely used.
Resume, Resumé or Résumé? Which One Should You Use?
By crossing out the spelling ‘resumé’, we can focus on the two remaining spelling options.
Using no accents on the ‘e-s’ is perfectly fine grammar-wise. It is also the most commonly used version in an informal context.
Besides being easier to type, this version follows the rules of English in regard to removing accents when adopting foreign words.
The only disadvantage of using this version is that in written form, it might be confused with the verb ‘resume’. Despite this, ‘resume’ is still the best spelling form. It follows all the English language rules and is easier to write.
This way of spelling the word, including two accents, is acceptable and 100% correct. However, it might be seen as a bit of overkill on the accents.
It does indeed follow the tradition of leaving the accents in loan words, but it’s more widely used in a linguistic or academic context. The double-accented version is a bit uncommon in other contexts, which can appear pretentious.
Whichever way of writing you choose, it’s important that you stay consistent in using the same version in all your written materials.
If you still do not know which version to use, it’s smart to check the job description to see how the company’s HR employees wrote it in order to follow their lead. If the job description says ‘send us your resume‘, follow their lead and go with ‘resume’. This goes for ‘résumé’ as well. It’s important to realize that your choice of a word will not affect a recruiter or hiring manager’s decision, but being inconsistent can. Therefore, choose one and stick with it!
How to Write Resume Accents
In order to get you started we will help you with some shortcuts that you can use in Microsoft Word and other software.
- Unicode: Alt + 0233 = é (this options works anywhere in Windows)
- Mac: Option-e + e = é
- MS Word: CTRL + ‘ (apostrophe) + e = é
- Google Docs: Select ‘Insert’ from your navigation bar > Select ‘Special Characters’ > Choose ‘Latin’ > é
If you can’t get this done, it’s always an idea to copy and paste an accented letter from another source. You can use Google or any other search engine and type in ‘acute accent e’. Next, you can directly copy the é symbol from your browser into your document.
In order to stay consistent throughout your document, you can copy the accented word after you wrote it once and copy/paste it over and over again throughout your document as needed.
Related: ‘Explaining an employment gap on your resume‘
- Looking at grammar, all three options, resume, résumé, and resumé are all correct. However, resumé is less common.
- The safest bet is going with resume. Writing résumé can be considered pretentious and overkill.
- Consistency is key! Choose one form and use it throughout your documents and communication with recruiters.
- Make it easy for yourself. Using ‘resume’ is perfectly fine and does not unnecessarily complicate things while writing.