Your resume is essentially your best marketing tool. Think of your resume as a promotional document where you can showcase your education, training, skills and experience in a way that tells the employer what you can bring to their organisation. A quality, concise and targeted resume can be the difference between getting an interview or ending up on the ‘no’ pile. A resume is not a list of everything you have ever done – keep it targeted and relevant to the position and the employer.
Tip: Don’t underestimate the value of ‘non degree-related employment’. You will have gained valuable skills – the key is to explain how these skills can be transferred to the role you are applying for. For example your part-time job at a fast food outlet is likely to be relevant to most jobs due to the work ethic, customer service, communication, teamwork and OH&S skills you developed.
Tip: The terms resume and CV are often used interchangeably in Australia, but it is important to know the difference:
- A resume is a summary document that most employers will request. Resumes need to be concise and targeted to the position.
- A Curriculum Vitae or CV is a more comprehensive document and used where a role requires extensive professional experience.
LinkedIn versus resume
In this digital age, you may think having a LinkedIn profile means that a resume will not be required and that employers will trawl through your profile to determine if you have what it takes to do the job. This is not the case. While LinkedIn has many benefits, it only gives a broad view of your career to date. The idea of a great resume is to make it tailored to a role and organisation. This means you can really focus on the relevant parts of your education and experience and relate them to the specific role. Successful job seekers will ensure their LinkedIn and their resume are both quality marketing tools. Some recruiters use LinkedIn to identify and headhunt candidates, but the majority of jobs will still require a resume as part of the application process.
LinkedIn is primarily a networking tool and your general, online professional presence, whereas your resume is a detailed document that is continually tailored for each job application.
When deciding what to include in your resume, ask yourself this question: is this adding value to my application for this particular role? If the answer is no, then leave it out. While there are lots of templates and resume builders available, it is often better to start with a nice clean page and take it from there. Some resume builders and templates are not suitable for the Australian job market as they are based on American employers’ requirements. Remember: this is YOUR resume – use your own education, skills, experience and abilities and don’t copy examples.
Start with your contact information – name, phone number and email address. Make sure you use a professional email address – your JCU one would be ideal. You can also add a link to your Linkedin profile in this section. Your name and contact details are only required at the top of the first page. You don’t need to use extra words like Resume or Curriculum Vitae.
You do not need to add any other personal information – i.e. date of birth, photo, marital/parental status and health.
See below or review the our example resumes to understand standard requirements for this type of document.
Starting with a well-crafted statement can give employers a real sense of who you are and where you are ready to take your career. The key is to match this statement to what the employer is looking for. This section could be called:
- Career Objective
- Professional or Career Summary
- Personal Summary.
Here is an example of a Professional Summary for a Masters of Social Work Graduate:
Here is an example of a Profile for a final year Engineering student:
- Team Leader of an engineering team participating in the JCU Design Sprint Competition in 2022
- Undertook a semester in Singapore during 2021
- Awarded scholarship under the New Columbo Plan for a two week Study Tour to China
What else should be included?
Education: There is no set order for a resume but if you are a student or new graduate, detailing your education at the top of the first page is worthwhile as it is the most relevant information. Many entry level roles require a qualification so you do not want to hide it on page 3. Make sure you explain your achievements and highlight any relevant projects or research topics you have undertaken. If you have several qualifications, list them in reverse chronological order (most recent first). If you are a recent school leaver you can include those details here. Expand and highlight only the relevant achievements.
|2020 - present||Bachelor of Business (Hons) James Cook University, Townsville, QLD|
Majors: Human Resources and Marketing
Honours – List the title of your thesis
Expected Date of Completion: November 2023
Full academic transcript can be provided upon request
Tip: As you gain relevant experience, your education may move to the end of your resume.
Training and Professional Development: Employers want to see that you are committed to your profession. You can demonstrate this by listing relevant training and development you have undertaken. You will need to list the year it was completed, the name and length of the course and the institution. If you are offered a role you may need to produce these certificates.
|TRAINING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT|
Australian Human Resources Institute Conference, Townsville
Student participant and committee volunteer
Occupational Health and Safety Training
Completed at Colorado Clothing Company
Key Skills: Take the opportunity to detail your skills relevant to the position and organisation. Employers are not interested in a generic list, they want you to explain where you got the skills claimed and how you use them. You need to provide strong, clear examples.
Communication: Highly developed communication skills gained from participating in a Speechcraft course through Toastmasters, hospitality and retail work experience, and university group presentations.
Teamwork: Strong ability to work as part of team, evidenced by high academic achievements in group work assignments at university and participation in a running club and role as club treasurer.
Languages: Fluent in Japanese
Fieldwork/Practicums/Placements/WIL: This is an area where you can demonstrate how you have developed and applied your skills and knowledge in a workplace setting. Make the most of this opportunity to describe new experiences, observations, responsibilities, situations. You could also add a positive comment from a Supervisor (with their permission).
Tip: Using Verbs (action words) can help to demonstrate what you did – see our information sheet Action Words
|2023||PR Solutions, Townsville, May - June (4 weeks)
|2022|| WiseDesign, Townsville, September - October (6 weeks)
Employment History: Depending on the length and breadth of your work history you may want to split this into sections – Relevant Experience and Other Experience. When detailing your employment, keep in mind what this employer is looking for. Explain how your skills can be transferred to a new role or industry. Refer back to the job advert, the position description and the employer’s website to ensure the skills and examples you are using will be relevant to the position.
Tip: Listing Employment History and Volunteering headings separately is common, however your Employment History section could include both paid and unpaid work if it looks better to list them together. This can help fill gaps in your resume. The example below shows this by including ‘voluntary’ or ‘casual’ in brackets.
|Feb – Nov 2023|
NQ Fundraising Coordinator (voluntary: six hours/week) The Oak Tree Foundation
Achievements and Responsibilities
|2022 – Present||Student Mentor (voluntary)
James Cook University Mentor Program, Townsville
Achievements and Responsibilities
|2020 – 2022||Retail Assistant (casual)
Colorado Clothing Company
Achievements and Responsibilities
Tip: When describing your experience think about outcomes and results – don’t simply list the duties of the role. You want to demonstrate your capacity and potential to achieve.
Community Engagement/Volunteer Roles: Employers are interested in this area of your life so use it to explain how you support your community.
You can also use volunteer roles to demonstrate your application of skills and knowledge.
|Feb 2022 – present||Volunteer Telephone Crisis Supporter|
Memberships: List membership of a relevant professional association – this can show your commitment to your profession.
Licences: Some roles require a Driver’s Licence or Working with Children’s Check
Registrations: Some roles will require registration e.g. Health Professionals must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
Referees: Check the application process carefully to see how many and what type of referees the employer is requesting. Referees could be:
- Clinical or placement supervisors
- Line Manager at your work place
- Lecturer or tutor
It is best to avoid personal or character referees. Always ask permission before listing a referee and keep you referees updated on your applications so that they can be ready to speak about you if asked.
|Dr Anne Smith||Mr Neil Wordsworth|
|Senior Lecturer – School of Advanced Study||Retail Manager|
|James Cook University||Colorado Clothing Company|
|Phone 07 4700 5550||07 4700 5555|
|Email: AnneJSmith@jcu.edu.au||Manager@Colorado Clothing Company|
Check, check and re-check
Employers do not want to see grammar or spelling errors in your resume. You need to check and check again. Don’t rely on spellcheck only as it will not always pick up errors. Ask a trusted friend to read your document or connect with the JCU Careers and Employability team.
Tip: Remember - high level written communication skills is top on most employers wish lists.
Action: Go to your downloaded workbook and complete Activity 3
- Review the discipline specific resume examples for your course on the JCU Careers and Employability website.
- Thoroughly research the organisation’s application procedure to determine what is required.
- Tailor your resume to the job description/organisation’s requirements for the position.
- Emphasise achievements to demonstrate your capacity.
- Be clear, concise and truthful.
- Check word count/page requirements as identified by the employer. Graduate resumes are expected to be 3 – 4 pages.
- Use a simple, professional layout with consistent formatting.
- Use bullet points to list your relevant experience and employment history, and associated responsibilities and achievements.
- List experiences in reverse chronological order under each heading.
- Consider using numbers to quantify/qualify statements, responsibilities and achievements i.e. trained XX number of staff, managed 5 patients per day.
- Check and check again for spelling and grammatical errors.
Log into Big Interview and watch the video: Resume Writing for Robots (7:41 mins)