Preparing your resume

Your resume will be one of the most important documents in getting you an interview with an employer. Most applications for jobs require a resume at a minimum. A resume is a description of your education, paid employment, volunteer activities (including school activities), general interests and personal strengths. It should outline your technical, transferable and personal skills relevant to the position you are applying for.

Whilst it is fine to use a similar version of your resume for different jobs, you will need to make sure that each time you send a resume, it reflects the skills the employer is looking for. It is your personal advertising brochure and needs to be targeted to each position you apply for. It should to be written in a way that can be easily modified so you can update it for each job application.

There are many different styles of resume, however, there are some basic things that you definitely need to include and these are outlined below.

  • Profile – personal summary or statement about yourself. A profile is a summary of your experience, skills and abilities relevant to the position. It may or may not include a career objective and should be clearly outlined on the front page of your resume. This will encourage the employer to want to read the rest of your application and is an important part of your resume.

  • Personal details – name, address, phone number and email. These details need to be provided somewhere in your resume. You can add them to the style or design of your resume by having the information in a header or footer for example. Make it easy to find, as it provides the basic information about who you are and how you can be contacted.

  • Key skills – technical, transferable and personal skills list. This section should outline your specific abilities, skills and experience for the job you are applying for. Your technical, transferable and personal skills can be listed here. This tells the employer whether you have the skills for the job based on the information provided. You should list all of the skills that you have acquired from both paid and unpaid work. You can group skills together that relate to the job.

  • Key achievements – list of achievements. This section is used to highlight anything you are proud to have achieved in your career. It may include personal achievements. Ideally list 5 to 10 dot points of key achievements that relate to your technical and transferable skills and are suited to the job you are applying for.

  • Educational qualifications – list from secondary school to university. List your most recent educational qualifications that are relevant to the position. If you have just completed school, include your highest level of study achieved. Information you should try to include university degrees, certificates, short training courses attended, workshops, seminars and conferences attended, and licences and accreditations.

  • Employment history – list jobs with significant times and date ranges. In this section explain your past and present work activities as your 'employment history'. If you have just completed school, it is worthwhile to include work experience if you do not have a history of paid employment. Each job listed should include job title, company name and location, dates of employment, and brief overview of your duties.

  • Professional memberships/community involvements – activities you do outside of work such as hobbies. If you have any professional memberships or community involvements relevant to the job you are applying for, you should list them under this heading.

  • Referees – two people whom you have worked for previously who can provide a character reference on your behalf. Referees are normally contacted to provide details on your experience in the time you were working with them and comment on your personal qualities to a potential employer. You should obtain permission from your referees before including their details on your resume. Always keep them informed of any positions you have applied for too. It is common to include a minimum of two referees. This is the last piece of information to include on your resume. Ensure you have the correct and up to date details on your resume, the information you should include is referees name, job title, employer and contact details. If you are unable to locate your referees prior to submitting your application, you still must include this section on your resume. Simply state 'available upon request' and then if you are invited to an interview, ensure you can provide the referee details to hand to the potential employer in person.

Here are various resume samples from Monash University.