Resume, resumé, or résumé - which should you choose, and why?

We don't sit around thinking, “how do you spell the word resume?” That is, until we have to write or type it out. At that moment, we wonder, “what is the correct resume spelling?” Is it résumé, or resumé, or simply, resume? And, if I have to include the accent, how in the world do I do it on my computer?

No worries. In this post, we cover: 

  • Where the word resume comes from

  • Different spellings of the word resume in dictionaries

  • What common style guides have to say about accents

  • The most common resume spelling used

  • How to incorporate accents on computers and devices

Initial thoughts about the word “resume” and accents

The word “resume” is commonly used in the US and Canada, though outside of the US, a resume is often referred to as a CV. In the US, there's a verb with the exact same spelling that means to continue doing something after a break or pause.

Let's resume our resume discussion.

One argument for using the accent in the word “resume” is to help distinguish between the noun and the verb. Still, it's not common practice. That might be because many agree that accents are challenging to use when it comes to writing them out. 

Additionally, the English language rarely carries the accent over with words it borrows from other languages. For example, with the French term “derrière” and the Spanish word “cafetería,” the English language shamelessly uses these words spelled as is, minus the accent. Of course, there are rare instances where we do choose to use the accent, such as in the case of the pink wine, rosé. A reason for this is to distinguish it from the rose flower with the same spelling minus the accent. However, this is the exception vs. the norm, which you'll come to appreciate as we further discuss the best resume spelling to use.   

Where does the word resume come from?

The word “résumé” comes from the French word “résumer,” which means to summarize. Thanks to this meaning, we borrowed and applied the word “resume” to define a brief document that summarizes an individual's work history, education, and skills. 

What resume spelling is most common in dictionaries? 

Here's how various dictionaries show different resume spellings: 

Based on this evidence, it appears that dictionaries agree that resume and résumé are both correct spellings. In terms of resumé, some dictionaries list it, while others don't. As a whole, however, resumé is also an acceptable spelling of the word. 

What do common style guides have to say about resume spellings?

In the most recent version of the AP (Associated Press) Stylebook, they opened up some discretion in whether to use accents. In past versions, they advised against transmitting them from other languages and this is still preferred. So according to AP style, the preference is to use resume instead of résumé. 

The Chicago Manual of Style defers to the Merriam-Webster dictionary as to whether you should use accents or not. It tends to suggest you should use accents from borrowed words, so résumé over resume, though either could be used, since both versions are included in the dictionary.

Resume spellings: should you use resume, resumé, or résumé?

Now that we're clear that all three resume spellings are correct - resume, resumé, and résumé - which one should you use? Let's take a look at each one to decide.


Resumé is the least favorable resume spelling. Why? Because it doesn't align with French or English conventions. As such, it's best to avoid using this spelling and move on to résumé and resume.


This resume spelling that incorporates accents above each “e” is considered the most grammatically correct, since it aligns perfectly with the French version of the word. 

So, if you use this option - résumé - no one will turn up their noses about your spelling or grammar skills. When it's used, it also helps people to differentiate it from the verb resume and appears professional in certain settings, like academia. 

The downside to this version? When you use it, you could come across as pretentious, so, similar to resumé, it's generally best to ditch this option.


Resume is grammatically correct and the most commonly used resume spelling in Canada and the US, since the English language, as mentioned, doesn't tend to borrow or use accents of foreign words. So why rock the boat and use one of the other versions unless you have a clear reason to do so? 

Some additional benefits to this resume spelling version are:

  • It's practical and easier to type - no need to worry about shortcuts or tricks for adding accents

  • It looks more natural when writing in the US and Canada

Finally, the word “resume” is a common noun and should never be capitalized, regardless of the version used, unless it's at the beginning of a sentence.

How to type and spell résumé with accents

There are some reasons why you might want to use the résumé version of the word with accents:

  • If the employer asks you to send them your résumé. In this case, it's a good idea to model the same spelling of the word when you're interacting with prospective employers.

  • To be consistent if you've already used the version with accents in a communication with the employer. For example, suppose you use the spelling “résumé” in your cover letter. In that case, you'd want to make sure you use the same spelling in other communications, like an email referencing your résumé.

  • If you're working in a professional or academic setting. In these settings, using résumé with the accents isn't considered as pretentious and could be preferred in some instances.  

In these cases, you might be wondering how to type the accents for this version of the word. Here's a breakdown depending on what type of device or software you're using:

  • Using an Apple Mac computer: Press and hold the Option key and then press the “e” key. Release both of them and then press “e” again. 

  • Using a personal computer (Windows): Press the Alt key and hold it. Type 0233. 

  • On a cellphone: In most cases, if you hold down the “e” key, several options will be displayed with various types of accents you can choose from. 

  • In Google Docs: Click on “Insert” in the navigation and select “Special characters.” When the box pops up on screen, type “Latin” in the search box and select the e with the accent you need. 

  • In Word on a Mac: Hit the letter “e” and hold it down. When the pop up appears, select the accent you want. 

  • In Word on a PC: Hold down Ctrl and press the apostrophe (') key. Let up on both and hit “e” (Ctrl + ' e). 

  • In Outlook: Hold down Ctrl and press the apostrophe (') key. Let up on both and hit “e” (Ctrl + ' e).

Another option is to find the word “resume” with accents in a document or online and copy and paste it (or just the “e” with the accent you need). You can then format the “e” to align with the rest of your document. 

Here are the copy and paste shortcuts for Windows and a Mac:

  • Windows: Ctrl+Shift+V

  • Mac: Shift+Command+V

Resume spelling: key takeaways

  • The English borrowed and applied the French word, résumé, meaning “to summarize,” to define a brief document that summarizes an individual's suitability for a job

  • There are three resume spellings used: resume, resumé, and résumé

  • The least used resume spelling is “resumé,” and it should generally be avoided

  • “Résumé” is considered the most grammatically correct version, since it aligns with its French roots, though it isn't widely used

  • The most commonly used and accepted resume spelling is "resume," which is the standard choice in the US and Canada

  • The word “resume” is a common noun and shouldn't be capitalized unless it starts a sentence

And the resume spelling winner is: resume 

Though no one is going to balk too much if you use the resume spelling versions “resumé” and “résumé,” the standard and most practical option to use is “resume.” In terms of the job application process, what's most important is that you remain consistent. You obviously won't be including the word “resume” on your resume unless you're in a profession such as recruiting and human resources, where you review resumes as part of your job. However, you will likely be referring to your resume in email communications and your cover letter, so be consistent with the resume spelling version you choose. 

Do you have an interview-landing resume you're proud to submit? Why not submit it for a free resume review to be sure? 

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