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A resume (also known as Curriculum Vitae) is a marketing document summarising your qualifications, key skills and work history. The information you provide is used by the employer to determine if you meet the job requirements and whether or not to select you for an interview.

To make a good first impression, a well-written resume needs to be clear, concise, and neatly organised with content relevant to the position you are applying for.

What to include

Summary

  • Summarises past experience/highlights, behavioral traits and what you are looking for
  • Compelling 'why me' summary statement such as an 'elevator pitch'

Personal details

  • First name and surname
  • Current address - and postal address if different (optional)
  • Home and mobile phone numbers (recorded messages should be professional, if applying for work overseas, include international codes)
  • Email address (avoid using unprofessional email addresses)
  • Citizenship or residency status (only if requested by the employer)

Don't include personal information such as your date of birth or marital status.

Education

  • Course start date and end date (eg 2010 - current)
  • Full c/qualification title
    • Include majors or minors
    • GPA (if you feel comfortable adding this)
    • results for specific subjects (if relevant)
    • achievements and awards related to your course
    • course related research projects that are relevant to the job
  • Educational institution

Professional experience

  • Period of work; start date and end date (eg 2015 - current)
  • Job title
  • Organisation name
  • Experience provides an overview of the role, showing tasks, employability skills and achievements. Achievements should ideally have measurable outcomes.
  • Key responsibilities (summarise in a dot point list, with the sentence starting with an action word ie advised customers of various products)

It is usual to list your jobs starting with the most recent. However, if you have course-related jobs you can include these first by using section headings (eg 'Industry related experience'). These can include paid and unpaid work. Casual roles that don't align to work aspirations can be omitted where there is more compelling work experience.

Community involvement or extra-curricular activities

  • Period of work
  • Role title
  • Organisation name
  • Key responsibilities
  • Achievements

Provide an overview of activity and outcomes. Include participation in community work, clubs, sporting associations or youth groups. This shows initiative, leadership and interpersonal skills.

Professional development (only include if relevant to role you are applying for)

  • Relevant certificates, short courses and training
  • Period of training
  • Title
  • Training provider, organisation or association name

Professional memberships

  • Name of Professional organisation
  • Period of membership

Interests and hobbies

Hobbies are optional and should only be included where they are aligned to the applicant. For example including technology interests as a hobby and a career choice.

Referees

Referees are not provided directly on the resume unless specified by the job advertisement. Write 'Referees are available on request' and have their details ready to provide to an employer when asked.

If it is specified that you are required to list these, find two or three people who have seen what you are able to do in an employment or academic environment. Do not include friends or family members or non-work referees. Always get permission from referees before including their details on your resume.

For each referee, include:

  • Name
  • Job title
  • Organisation
  • Phone number
  • Email address

Resume tips

Tailor your resume to the job you are applying for. Create different resumes for jobs that are academic, casual, graduate, postgraduate, voluntary, vacation, industry-based learning or in the creative industries.

Format

  • Use ten to twelve point standard fonts (eg Times New Roman, Arial)
  • Write in plain business English (avoid SMS language, abbreviations, jargon and slang)
  • Use sub-headings and bulleted lists to draw attention to important information
  • Ensure plenty of white space between paragraphs and margins that are not too narrow
  • Write in the third person, don't use I, me or my
  • The layout (including indent alignments) must be consistent throughout the resume

Length

  • Two to three pages for a graduate with little professional work experience
  • Three to four pages for a graduate with a considerable work history

Styles

  • Hybrid - this is the most suitable for graduates as it combines the best features of the chronological and functional styles
  • Chronological (reverse) - information is listed in order from most current employment/work history
  • Functional - highlights your skills and achievements (good to use if you are changing careers)

Check the document

Proof read your resume and have someone else proof read it too – spelling and grammatical errors could lose you the job. Hiring managers and recruiters receive incredibly high numbers of applications and spend less than 60 seconds 'screening' or looking at a resume.

Other ways Career Connect can assist you

By completing one of these activities you can submit your resume for review to Career Connect via our Feedback Service.

Online resources

  • Visit Student Futures to start recording the reflections that will inform your key selection criteria.
  • Enrol and complete the 'Leap into Leadership Online' module Personal brand: Stand out from the crowd.