Many immigration blogs discuss the list of items you need to submit to the USCIS if you are applying for a National Interest Waiver (NIW). Usually, these lists are exhaustive, and they need not be. If you’re an applicant, you should be including information that is only relevant as to your professional career—your resume and work qualifications and diplomas, your letters of recommendations, and your publications/citations and copies of relevant articles you have written.

Your resume in particular is very important for your NIW application because it should sum up nicely who you are as a professional, what you have accomplished in your career thus far, and should also show how you are a distinguished professional who is worthy of an NIW.

Simply put, submitting your resume to the USCIS can be an easy way to get rejected if your resume is not consistent with your achievements, or for showing evidence that you are working to advanced the proposed endeavor you said you were going to advance. That’s why submitting a relatively brief, but concise and accurate resume is critical for the NIW application. This blog will be dedicated to understanding how you should structure your resume and what you should and shouldn’t include when filing for a NIW.

1. Keep it Appropriate for the USCIS

If you’ve applied to jobs in the past and for specific companies, it means you’ve probably tailored your resume so the HR team knows how you would be an asset for the desired vacancy. Don’t attach the same resume and send it with your NIW application. Instead, you need to do a thorough editing of your resume. Take out club memberships or fraternity associations as they don’t relate to any national interest. Keep professional memberships and show how they are reserved or exclusive for only professionals who have a specific research/academic skill.

In addition, make sure the layout and fonts of your resume are not distracting. The point is for an officer to read it once through to determine who you are, and not to be confused by the way the resume looks on the page. 

2. Keep it Consistent with the Proposed Endeavor

You may be an NIW applicant who only has a few bullet points for some of the previous jobs you’ve held. If you were working for a research institute, for example, and the work you did there relates heavily to the proposed endeavor, you need to go back to your resume and highlight the important work you did there, so it stands out on your resume and therefore your entire application. Similarly, if you are a certified professional, highlight your certification/license in its own section with the dates you started/received your professional certification.

3. Make Sure it’s the Correct Length

This is similar to the first point although it is important to elaborate on the fact that USCIS officers don’t want to be spending hours looking over your resume. Most NIW applicants will have fairly long resumes simply due to the fact that they have years of professional experience. If they are a PhD candidate, that means they could have been in the working world for over 10 years already. The question arises of how to manage all of that professional time on your resume. The answer is that if you are an NIW applicant, you need to go back to previous jobs you have held and think about specific instances that sew your entire narrative together. How did you, the applicant, arrive at being an innovator in your current field? If you are able to do this on your resume it will help you shorten the length and make it more readable at the same time.