You’ve found a role that really interests you. As part of the application process they ask you to submit a resume.

What is a resume?

A resume (or CV) is a personal marketing document designed to secure you an interview. A good resume demonstrates how your skills and abilities match up with the requirements of a job.

What information should I include?

Include:

  • Name: Official first name and surname only.
  • Nationality or residency status.
  • If you have a current security clearance include the level, date of issue and other relevant details.
  • Telephone number – preferably your mobile number, with voicemail.
  • Email address: Use a personal email address, not your work one. Make it sound professional. hotguy@ or roxygal@ might look good to your friends but may give the wrong impression to your future employer.

Do not include:

  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Age
  • Date of birth
  • Number of children / dependents
  • Home address
  • Religion

These details are not relevant to your ability to do the job and could be used to discriminate (intentionally or unintentionally) against you.

Your executive summary is a snapshot of your skills and achievements. It is used to highlight what you bring to the role and your potential employer. It should be relevant, brief and punchy. Keep your language clear and concise and only include statements that can be backed up with evidence.

Your executive summary should be able to be read as a stand-alone section. Its goal should be to convince the reader they want to read on.

Your executive summary should be no more than half to one page in length and may include dot points to highlight relevant projects and experience.

In this section include post-secondary qualifications. Highlight the qualification received, the issuing institution and the date of graduation. You may also wish to highlight subjects studied if relevant to the position. For example: Spanish, Journalism etc.

If you are still undertaking studies these should also be included. Instead of a date of graduation indicate you are currently studying towards this qualification.

Consider omitting incomplete studies you are no longer undertaking unless particularly relevant.

Do not include school qualifications unless you have left school in the last few years and/or have little work experience.

Use this section to highlight vocational education / short term training relevant to the role. For example: Manage Project (Australian Institute of Management) – 2010.

Also, highlight any industry certifications /accreditations you may hold that are relevant to the role. For example: PRINCE2, Microsoft or Cisco.

Include any relevant professional memberships you hold. Include the type of membership as well as the name of the organisation.

It may be worth including a table of your skill set or a skills matrix at this point in your resume. This is particularly relevant for technical roles. Include:

  • The skill
  • Years of experience; and
  • The last time you used this skill.

You may choose to categorise your skills under relevant headings. (E.g. operating systems, databases, applications/tools).

In this section detail your employment history. Keep it brief and informative. For each relevant role include:

  • Employer’s name and location
  • A brief description of the employer or the program to which you were assigned
  • Your title in this role
  • Dates through which you performed this role
  • A brief outline of the role
  • You duties/responsibilities in this role
  • You major achievements in this role (leave out any that are not particularly notable)

If you have held many roles, consider only including roles held over the last 10 to 15 years. Include a statement that previous employment history is available on request.

List your employment history in reverse chronological order and include more information on your current role than on older roles.

A referee is someone who can vouch for you and verify that what you say in your resume is true. They should be someone who has supervised your work or who has a good knowledge of your ability to do the job.

Providing referee details in your resume is usually optional. If you don’t wish to include referee details in your resume include a statement such as: “Referee details will be provided on request”. If you’re invited for an interview be sure to have these details with you.

If you are providing referee details in your resume, include the following details for two or three recent referees:

  • Name
  • Title
  • Organisation
  • Their professional relationship to you (e.g. manager)
  • Business telephone number
  • Mobile telephone number
  • Business email address

Make sure you have the agreement of the person before listing them as a referee and let them know they may be contacted.

Most employers won’t contact referees until they have selected a preferred candidate or if they are deciding between a small number of candidates.

Depending on the length and breadth of your work experience and the type of role you may also like to include:

  • Volunteer roles in the community
  • Awards received at school, university, previous workplaces, in sporting teams, etc
  • If a recent school graduate, leadership roles held while at school such as prefect, school or house captain, member of the student representative council, etc
  • Experience living, working and studying overseas
  • Foreign language ability
  • Publications
  • Software applications/known methodologies; and
  • Hobbies and interests