How to Spell “Resume” - Résumé, Resumé, or No Accent?

6 May
5 min read

It’s a question you never think about until the moment you have to write down the word résumé - no, resumé. Or is it just “resume”?

Well, you get our point, right?

It’s a dilemma that’s bound to happen at one point and we’re gonna help you solve it by discussing:

  • Where the word “resume” comes from
  • How to spell resume according to dictionaries
  • What is the final verdict on spelling

How to Spell “Resume” - Dictionary Definition

Going back to the roots of the word, résumé comes from French. It’s written with an accent on both e-s and it means summary

The typical résumé is defined as a document containing a summary of one’s relevant job experience and education. 

The French themselves, however, (along with other European countries), rarely use the term for this purpose. Instead, they refer to it as a CV (curriculum vitae). While they refer to the same document in most European countries, the terms have some differences when used in the US

So, to cut it short: The word itself comes from French and has two accents, but it is rarely used in France itself. 

What’s the correct way to use it in other countries then?

Let’s see what the most popular dictionaries have to say about it.

So, to cut it short: The word itself comes from French and has two accents, but it is rarely used in France itself. 

What’s the correct way to use it in other countries then?

Let’s see what the most popular dictionaries have to say about it.

  • Oxford Advanced American Dictionary - The noun is suggested with two accents (résumé), but the other two spellings (resumé and resume) are given as equivalent options. All three spellings seem legit. 
  • Merriam Webster’s Dictionary - The first suggested noun is résumé, but the other two are listed as alternatives as well. The spelling resumé, however, is noted to be less commonly used. 
  • Cambridge Dictionary - Résumé is suggested, but the spelling resume is also suggested as an equivalent noun. The third spelling, resumé, is not mentioned at all. 
  • Wiktionary - All three spellings are listed as interchangeable, but their usage in the US is explained. Resume is correct since English doesn’t usually borrow accents from foreign words. In Resumé, the accent indicates that the “e” is not silent, while résumé simply retains the accents taken from French. 

So, do we keep the accents or not?

Until recently, the AP (Associated Press) Stylebook strictly advised on transmitting accents from other languages. On their last revision, however, some windows were opened. 

Accent marks can be transmitted on names of people who request them and when quoting directly from a foreign language. So, if the context requires it, the AP Stylebook suggests résumé can be used. In regular use, however, “resume” works best. 

The Chicago Manual of Style, on the other hand, leaves the issue up to dictionaries - more specifically, the Merriam Webster. If the dictionary accepts accents, we can accept them in language as well. 

So, where are we with answering the resume dilemma at this point?

One thing is clear: The resumé spelling is not quite favored. 

Either use both accents (résumé) or none at all (resume). 

Résumé, Resumé, or Resume? Which One Is It?

If we cross out resumé as an unfavorable choice, that leaves us with a choice between the other two spellings. 

Let’s have a look at the cases for and against each of them.

Résumé 

If you use both accents, you’re being 100% grammatically correct. That is, after all, the way the original borrowed word is spelled.

Spelling it this way also makes sure the noun is not confused with the verb to resume.

The downside? Well, outside academics and professional settings, the word is almost never spelled with both accents. 

Doing so might often give off the pretentious vibe. 

Resume

Moving on to the polar opposite - no accents at all - we have to note that this is the most used version in informal contexts. 

It follows the rules of English of removing accents when adopting foreign words and it’s simply easier to type. 

Its con is that there’s a chance it can get mistaken with the verb to resume. 

Despite that, however, it appears that resume is the winning spelling form. It follows the rules of the English language and doesn’t put anyone in a pretentious light. 

Pro Tip:

If you’re corresponding with a recruiter regarding a job position, you can check how they spelled it in the job posting and consider following their lead.

After making your pick, however, stick with it. Using résumé one day and resume the other is an inconsistency that will work to your disadvantage. 

Keyboard Accent Shortcuts

If you’ve settled on using the accented spelling of “resume”, these pointers will probably come in handy when having to type. 

Unicode: ALT + 0233 = é

Mac: (Option key + e) + e = é

Word: CTRL + ' (apostrophe) + e = é

Google Docs: Insert -> Special Characters -> Latin -> é

Grammar Check: Type resum and then pick the preferred substitution from the software’s suggested corrections. Easy fix, right?

Speaking of easy fixes, if you’re in the process of writing your resume (or résumé), grab one of our free resume templates. Unlike accents, there’s no way you can go wrong with one of these!

example resume

Other Resume Resources

Now that we’ve explained the best ways to spell “resume,” it’s time for you to start working on yours (and land your next job).

Check out some of our top resources below on how to create a compelling resume:

  • How to Write a Resume - This is the A to Z guide you can follow for an impeccable resume that will land you interviews left and right.
  • How to Write a Resume with no Experience - If you’re fresh out of college or simply changing careers, there are some particular tips and tricks to keep in mind for your resume. You can check them out in this article
  • 340+ Resume Action Verbs And Power Words - Words have weight and when it comes to your resume, picking one or the other can have a pretty big impact. Make sure you go over our list of verbs and words and cherry-pick the right ones for your profile. 
  • The Jobseeker’s Odyssey - Last but not least, the thing that has it all. This ebook is the ultimate guide to helping you navigate the job market. It’ll accompany you from the job search process to learning how to ace your interview. 

Key Takeaways

There is no definitive answer to the resume spelling dilemma, but we do hope this article helped clarify the issue and scenarios a bit. 

Here are the main lessons we got out of our research:

  • Among dictionaries, resumé is the least favored spelling. Resume and Résumé on the other hand, are listed as interchangeable.
  • While résumé is grammatically correct referring to the word’s French origins, resume follows the rules of English and is most commonly used. 
  • To play it safe, check how recruiters spelled the word on their job post and consider following their lead.

Bonne chance!