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Resume template

Use this guide as a starting point

Resume formats and content may vary from industry to industry, so do your research to understand the expectations of employers in your field. 

The information below is an overview of the most common elements of an Australian resume. It is not intended as a one-size-fits-all template. The resume can also be structured in the way that best presents your skills and experience. For example, if you have extensive, relevant industry experience, you might find it preferable to place ‘Employment History’ before ‘Education’.

Resume sections

Personal details

  • Use your name as the heading in large, bold lettering. There is no need to include the words ‘resume’ or ‘curriculum vitae’ anywhere in the heading.
  • Include contact phone number/s and your preferred email address. You can also add a residential address, however, this is optional. Employers will be using these details to contact you, so ensure your email address and voicemail greeting reflect your professionalism. 
  • International students or permanent residents may benefit from indicating their visa status and work rights.
  • There is no need to add extra information such as a date of birth, photo or nationality.

Career objective/Profile/Summary [Optional]

  • This section describes the type and level of position you are seeking and the industry or area in which you would like to be employed. A well-targeted career objective makes you look focused and enthusiastic and helps the reader interpret the information that follows in the resume.
  • The objective should be brief and realistic with a focus on what you are able to offer, eg, ‘Seeking a research position within Environmental Sciences where my university studies in water management and my work experience in local government environmental management can be utilised.’

Skills summary [Optional]

  • This section can be useful for drawing the recruiter’s attention to your key competencies.
  • Focus on skills that are relevant to the job by checking the selection criteria or keywords in the job advertisement.
  • Skills can be technical (eg, experience with a particular type of software or lab procedure), industry-specific (eg, classroom management for primary school teaching) or transferable (eg, team work, leadership, time management).
  • Offer evidence when you claim to have a particular transferable skill, eg, ‘Excellent written communication skills developed through activities ranging from writing complex technical reports during my science degree to press releases in my role as Publicity Officer for the Student Biological Society’.

Education

  • Include your tertiary qualifications, and if recent, also your secondary qualifications. State the full name of the institution and the month and year you completed (or expect to complete) the qualification.
  • Start with your most recent qualification/studies and work backwards.
  • Other information you could include: your majors, your current grade or WAM, academic awards, merit scholarships, international exchanges, your thesis title and brief description (for research students) and any other relevant achievements.
  • Note that this is not the best place to list short courses or trade certificates unless they are relevant to the role.

Experience

Experience is a broad term that can refer to a range of practical activities. You may wish to list all of your practical experience under this heading or divide it into different categories. If you have a mix of industry relevant experience and less relevant work, you can divide the section into ‘Relevant Experience’ and ‘Other Experience’. This will ensure that the employer sees the most relevant information first. Some other possible headings are below.

Employment

  • This is one of the more common headings for listing experience.
  • Start with your most recent job and work backwards. Include your position title, the name of the organisation and the month and year you commenced and concluded the employment.
  • List your responsibilities and any outcomes or achievements. Quantify where possible, eg, ‘supervised 5 junior staff members’, ‘increased monthly sales by 12%’.
  • Be clear about the skills you have used or developed, particularly if you have not included a skills summary on your resume.

Practicums/Placements

You can use this heading for any industry-related experience you have gained as part of your degree, eg, clinical placements for Nursing, teaching practicums for Education, field education placements for Social Work.

  • List the name of the organisation, duration of the placement, responsibilities, achievements (if any) and learning outcomes.

Volunteering

This section refers to unpaid work undertaken in the not-for-profit sector, community groups, NGOs or charitable organisations. Most employers will be interested in your voluntary work because it offers evidence of initiative and transferable skills.

  • Lay out your experience in a similar way to your employment – title, organisation, dates, duties, achievements/outcomes.

Extracurricular activities

Here you can include student clubs and societies, sporting activities, mentoring, student representative roles and more. As with volunteering, most employers value extracurricular activities.

  • Again, lay out in the same way as your employment. Give enough detail for the employer to understand your contribution to the organisation/team/program and the skills you have used.

Memberships

Include membership of any professional associations or industry bodies.

  • Use the full and correct name of the organisation, the year of your membership, and your level of membership, eg, student, affiliate, professional, etc.

Conferences/Publications/Articles

  • Relevant for applicants with research-based qualifications, or those seeking media/communications/writing roles.
  • List your papers and conferences in the formatting used by your industry or discipline area.
  • If applying for a non-research role, consider summarising and/or quantifying your publications or conferences, eg, published three research articles on the topic of XYZ in high impact journals, demonstrating excellent written communication skills.

Add your own relevant section/s

You can include other relevant sections in your resume if you have a particular set of experiences that you would like to bring to the employer’s attention. Choose a clear heading that describes your experience and ensure that all points in the section are relevant to the heading. It is important that the section is closely related to the job to which you are applying. Some examples include:

  • ‘Leadership’ – for students with experience in student leadership such as mentoring, executive roles in clubs/societies, student politics, or other leadership roles.
  • ‘Community Involvement’ – for students who are active in charity or not for profit work, volunteering, advocacy or other community development activities.
  • ‘Exhibitions’ – for students seeking work in the visual arts.

Referees

  • This should always be the last entry on your resume. List 2 or 3 referees who can comment on your work-based skills. If you prefer not to list them on your resume, simply write ‘Available on request’. This will allow you to check in and warn your referees before they are called. Always seek a referee’s permission before you list them in your resume and give them information about the job.
  • Choose the person who will give you the best reference, ideally, a previous work/volunteer supervisor, manager or an academic.
  • Include their name, job title, current organisation, contact details, and their relationship to you, eg, ‘Thesis supervisor’, ‘Current manager’, if the relationship is not clear from their job title.

Final resume review

Is your resume:

  • Targeted and relevant to the role and industry/type of employer?
  • Demonstrating the transferability of your experience and skills to the role?
  • Presenting your information in an accessible format that best promotes what you have to offer?
  • Clear & concise?
  • Professionally formatted with good grammar and spelling?
  • Making the best first impression possible?