How to write a resume

A resume (sometimes referred to as a CV) is a document that lists your skills, work experience, education, training, abilities, and personal strengths. It demonstrates your suitability for a job and is the main document a hiring manager will read before deciding whether they want to meet you.

Your resume is a sales tool that opens the door to a job interview. It ‘sells’ you and demonstrates what you can bring to a job, team, and organisation.

Even if you don’t have a lot of work experience, having a resume is very important.

Your resume will include:

  • Your name and contact details
  • A personal opening statement about you and what you can bring to the job, including your key skills and strengths. Don’t forget to include your transferable skills such as communication, teamwork, and problem solving.
  • Your employment history (including any work experience, internships, or volunteer work). List any key responsibilities and work achievements that you’re proud of.
  • Details of any education, qualifications, training, and licences Referee details if requested in the job advertisement, otherwise state “Referees are available upon request”

Here’s what you don't include:

  • Private information (including date of birth, family information, health conditions)
  • Fancy fonts, formatting, or images/clip art
  • Incorrect information about your work history, your qualifications, education, and licences
  • Very long paragraphs – use bullet points to break up information
  • Typos. Make sure you proofread your resume. You can ask someone to help you with this.

How to order the sections in your resume

The order in which different sections appear can depend on the job you’re applying for and how your experience, skills, and education relate to that job.

For example, if you’ve done a similar job that demonstrates the skills and experience required for the job you’re applying for, you should prioritise your employment history on page one of your resume.

If your qualifications or education are the most relevant aspect of your job application (and perhaps your work experience is less relevant), then use this as a guide when you’re arranging the order of your resume.

Our resume builder has options to present your work experience or your qualifications first.

You might decide to change your resume for each job you apply for, so you can highlight the most relevant skills and experience for each job. To do this, start with finding key words in the job description or advertisement and think about how your experience applies. Download your generated resume as a Word document to make changes like this to it.

What to include if you don’t have a lot of work experience

If you need to write a resume and you don’t have a lot of work experience, or your experience is in a different field, don’t worry. Job applications and resumes are about demonstrating transferable skills – not just skills gained through employment.

Don’t forget that you can include the following in your resume:

  • Unpaid work experience or volunteering
  • Short courses you’ve completed to gain practical experience
  • Projects completed as part of an education or training course

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