Your résumé is a summary of your qualifications, skills, experiences and qualities and will be used by an employer to determine if you meet the requirements of the job. To make a good first impression, a well-written résumé needs to be clear, concise, and neatly organised with content relevant to the position you are applying for.
A good résumé will go a long way to helping a potential employer decide whether to interview you or not. For detailed information on creating a résumé that stands out, visit the myfuture website.
What to always include
Your contact details
- Your name (if you have a difficult to pronounce name consider helping an employer with the correct pronunciation by providing phonetic spelling in brackets after your name).
- A professional sounding email address such as your name (rather than a nickname).
- A phone number where an employer can leave a message.
A summary of your work history and education
- Start with your most recent job and then work backwards in time (showing months and years).
- If you have been working for many years consider going back 10 to 15 years in time.
- Always include your position title, organisation name and describe your work responsibilities and tasks.
- If you have worked overseas or if past employers in Australia are not well known, consider including a line of explanation using the heading “About ABC Company”.
- Include your volunteer work, work experience placements and training and education. If you’ve been out of the workforce (caring for small children, an ill family member, travelling, unemployed or studying) it’s important to explain why and provide the relevant dates.
- Include any qualifications, accreditations, licences, registration and certifications relevant to the job vacancy. Describe each item by its full and correct title; name the institution that awarded you the qualification, your key areas of study and the date of completion. For licences, include your date of currency.
- Tailor your résumé by linking what you achieved in the education and training system or through volunteer or paid work to what the employer needs for example “I established reliable work habits”, “the ability to learn and apply new skills”, “I provided accurate written reports and summaries”.
Residential or postal address
Including an address is optional.
You need at least two referees for every job application. Ideally referees should be people you reported to in a work role, including in a volunteer capacity or work experience placement. Always ask permission before including anyone as your referee. You can protect the privacy of your referees by only providing their details on an employer’s request.
This is a list of your top skills that match the job ad. A list of ‘key skills’ helps an employer quickly see what you have to offer. This can be placed after your contact details.
Including “achievements” helps tell an employer how you made a job your own. You only need to do this for your last couple of jobs. A few dot points are enough. Recent achievements can be listed in your work history after your work tasks and responsibilities. An example of an achievement is receiving a staff award or a promotion. You can also try quantifying your achievements to get the employer’s attention, like “created a new filing system that saved five hours of work a week”.
Hobbies and interests
Including hobbies and interests (like travel, music, sport, learning, current affairs, photography) can help an employer see you are the right person to hire if you include items relevant to the job. For example, being part of a sporting team or being a volunteer working with others demonstrates “teamwork”.
You may like to use a template to update your résumé. There are many free templates available on the internet. For tips on writing résumés, including free résumé templates, visit:
You can also type in ‘résumé template’ into your internet search engine to access résumé templates.
Checklist - My résumé:
- has my contact details
- has an easy to read font and a simple layout
- is no more than two pages (or no more than 3 pages if referees are included)
- uses dot points and short factual sentences
- uses keywords from the employer’s job ad
- is an accurate summary of my work and education history and is free of unexplained gaps
- is free of irrelevant information
- is saved in a common format (such as Microsoft Word) with a professional sounding title
- is free of spelling errors, typos and jargon (such as abbreviations)
If you would like to download a printable version of the checklist please click the download link below.