The Job Shop staff review hundreds of resumes each day from a variety of Australian and international candidates. Every country has a different way of formatting their resumes. In this blog post, we will offer some resume tips so you can put your best foot forward when applying for a job in Australia.
Keep it simple
The goal of a resume is to get the employer (or recruiter!) interested enough so that they contact you for more information. Keep in mind that whoever is reading your resume is likely busy running their business. The quicker and easier it is for them to read your resume, the better it is for you.
Give a simple and relevant summary of your skills and experience in your resume, not every single detail. A resume for a casual position should be 2 pages, 3 maximum.
Put employment history first
The most important part of your resume is the employment history, so put that first. Your education, skills and references can go after.
Start with your most recent job and go backwards
When listing your previous jobs, always start with your most recent position. Employers are more interested in the job you have recently been in more than what you were doing 5 years ago.
Also, it’s likely that your older previous jobs are not as relevant as your most recent positions, so don’t list them first.
If you are applying for a job in an industry that you have already worked in, you can assume whoever is reading your resume is familiar with the general aspects of that work. Hospitality employers know what a job as a waitress or bartender entails and farmers understand general farm work. When listing your job duties on a resume, there is no need to include every single task you did. Focus on key responsibilities or details that stand out.
For example, instead of “served drinks”, say “served tap beer, wine and prepared cocktails for up to 300 people on busy nights.” Instead of “waited tables” say “responsible for carrying 3 plates for table service”.
Agricultural employers want to know specifics about the type of farm work you’ve done. Saying you have “tractor driving experience” could mean that one time you drove a small tractor around the shed or it could mean you’ve operated a GPS autosteer CLAAS combine harvester.
For a farming role, instead of listing “tractor driving”, say “operated a John Deere 9520R towing a 25 tonne chaser bin”. Instead of “cattle work” say “mustering cattle using motorbike and horses.”
Only include relevant education and qualifications
Keep your education history brief if what you studied does not have anything to do with the job you are applying for. If you have a university degree, just list the name of the university, what your degree is in and the year you graduated. No need to include details on specific courses or your grades if they are not directly related to the job.
Clear and correct contact details
Always double check that the mobile number and email address on your resume is correct. If we had $1 for every time someone had put a wrong phone number or email address on their resume, we’d be rich!
Make your contact details easy to find. If your resume has done the trick, the employer will want to pick up the phone and ring you straight away! Put your mobile number and email address at the top of the page under your name.
Update your resume after finishing a job
If you are taking the time to apply for a job, be sure to take the time to update your resume before applying. An employer or recruiter does not want to hear you say “oh yeah, I did that job but it’s not on my resume.” WHY NOT?!
Updating a resume with a new job only takes a few minutes and it is always worth the effort.
Add a cover letter (if needed)
A cover letter is a great way to personalize an application and give examples of why you are a good fit for a job.
There are times when you will apply for a job that you have the experience for, but it might not be listed in your resume. In these cases, write a cover letter instead of a new resume.
For example, an accountant might have a professional resume but also be a great home cook who grew up on a farm. This information would not be included in an accounting resume. If this person wants to apply for a farm or station cook job, they can include a cover letter with more information on their cooking or farming experience to show they meet the criteria for the job.
Review for errors
Spelling and grammar errors are distracting and annoying to read. You could be a perfect fit for a job, but errors on your resume could give an employer doubts.
Use spell check, but don’t rely on it to catch every mistake. You could have written a word that is spelled correctly but not the one you wanted to use. Always double check your resume for errors before submitting it for a job.
This is especially important if you are applying for a job that will entail written communication. Employers will assume that if you have errors in your resume, you might make errors writing at work.
If you are someone who is not a native English speaker, ask a friend who reads and writes fluent English to review your resume. If your resume is written in poor English, an employer may assume you don’t speak English well.
As the saying goes, “you only get one chance to make a good first impression.” Consider your resume as your first impression to an employer. If you take the time and effort with your resume and use our tips, you’ll be off to a good start in securing a job in Australia.