When you apply for a job, the employer will want to see your resume. Your resume is a marketing tool that outlines your skills and experience relevant to the job. It can also be called your Curriculum Vitae (CV).
Your resume should be updated regularly, especially when you finish a job or complete a training course. It should also be updated for each job you apply for. It might be a good idea to create a master resume and use it to create a new version for each job application.
What to include in your resume
Your resume should include your contact details, education, employment history and the contact details for your referees. You can also include a statement of your career objective, computer skills, professional affiliations and other skills related to the job. Some people like to include information about their hobbies and interests so that the employer can get to know them better.
Key information that should be included:
- phone or mobile number. If you use a telephone typewriter (TTY) phone or use a telephone relay service, you might consider making a note about this in your resume. Some employers may not have used these systems before
- contact email
- Career objective
- include all relevant work history, including volunteering and work experience
- provide details on the name of your employer, the job title, the period of employment and your key achievement
Education and training qualifications:
- all relevant education and training qualifications should be listed in this section
- provide details on the name of the institution where you studied, course title and date completed
- look at the details and selection criteria of the job
- consider what skills are required for the position and then list your relevant skills
- if relevant, include information about your ability to use the range of relevant software programs. You usually record your skill level as either 'basic', 'intermediate' or 'advanced'. Be honest as the employer will expect you to perform at the level you have indicated in your resume
- use this section to highlight your special achievements
- special achievements can be a work goal, community work, volunteering or a sporting achievement
- contact details for someone who has supervised your work (teacher, coach, supervisor) or who has a good knowledge of your ability to do the job.
You don’t need to include personal details such as your date of birth, marital status and gender.
The most important thing when writing your resume is to make sure that it is relevant to the job you are applying for.
Choosing your referees
Your referees can include a:
- previous employer
- co-ordinator of voluntary work
- person you’ve done ‘odd jobs’ for.
If you do have a strong work history, try to include at least two previous employers or managers.
When choosing your referees you should also make sure your referees know you well and can be contacted easily. Contact your referees to let them know you've put their names down and to get their agreement to be named as a referee. You may also want to talk to your referee about the type of job you are applying for, the skills required and how you match the requirements of the job.
Formatting your resume
You want to make it as easy as possible for a potential employer to read through your resume so keep the format simple.
Do not use bold or italics formatting in the main text of your resume. Only use this formatting for headings and sub headings. If your resume is longer than one page include page numbers, your name and contact number in the footer on all pages.
Updating your resume
Your resume is a living document so remember to update it regularly and keep copies of each update. You will find your resume a handy reference if you need to refer back.
A tailored resume is a great tool to enhance your employment opportunities. If you are not getting interviews with your current resume, then change it.
Getting help to create a resume
If you are just starting out and would like help to create your resume you can:
- use the services of a local expert—the Yellow Pages will list Recruitment Specialists in your local area
- look at sample resumes (see below)
If you are receiving assistance and support from an Australian Government employment service provider, they can help you develop your resume. For information on Australian Government employment service providers, visit:
Presenting your resume
You should proof read your resume thoroughly. A good way to double check everything in your resume is to read it aloud or ask a friend or family member to read it.
When you are happy with your resume, you should print it on clean white paper. Some people like to present their resume in a folder.
You can also attach a covering letter. More information on writing to an employer is available:
It is also very important to follow any instructions the employer gives about presenting your resume.
When you go to an interview, it is a good idea to take two copies of your resume so you can leave one copy with the employer. If you are attending a panel interview, take one copy for each panel member.
Hints for when you have an episodic work history
For ideas on how to present your resume if you have an episodic work history, see:
To view a sample resume that you can use as a template, follow this link:
- Resume template—standard
- Resume template—episodic work history
- Resume template—currently not in the workforce
Our Related Links includes a link to Australian JobSearch. Australian JobSearch lets you create a Job Match Profile that can be viewed by employers who advertise online. For more information on how to use JobSearch see: