WHEN heading home to Australia there is a lot to think about, but securing employment for when you get back tends to come high up the list. Read our guide to writing a resume to help you secure that all-important interview, and clear the first hurdle in finding work on your return home.
Here we go again…
Whenever you make an application it’s a good idea to check over your resume, ensure it is up-to-date and tweak it according to your target industry or position. Remember, a resume is essentially a marketing document, and the product it’s selling is you.
The key thing to remember is that the purpose of a resume is to get you an interview, not to secure you the position. Although it needs to provide a full and accurate account of your professional history it doesn’t have to go into great detail, as an interviewer will question you about anything that needs expanding. Keep it sharp, short, concise and relevant.
“Your CV is a marketing document and should reflect who you are and how you want people see you,” Duarte De MagalhÃ£es Ferreira, who works in recruitment for Hilton Worldwide, told Australian Times.
“Remember, employers often have less than a minute to scan a CV, so make sure that you only include the most important points.”
It can be a good idea to start a resume with a mission statement of one line, showcasing who you are and what you are offering the employer. Remember it must relate to the company and job description, so it may need to be altered for each application.
A profile section on your resume can be informative, especially if you are changing direction or your situation needs further explanation; employers will often assume you want a job in your field of experience, so if you intend to branch out it’s a good idea to state that explicitly. But keep it factual and avoid vague sentence and clichéd expressions — “I believe I will excel at the role due to my past experiences and future vision” does not tell anybody anything.
Some employers also like to see a ‘key strengths’ section, written in a short, snappy dot point style, for example:
- Seven years sales experience
- Excellent interpersonal skills due to customer focused aspects of the job
When listing your job history think carefully about how to phrase your roles, responsibilities and achievements; picking out three of your most significant points is much more effective than an endless list of generic skills. We can all attend meetings, use MS word and liaise with colleagues, but what is it about the way you do it that stands out?
Remember to highlight anything that goes beyond the call of duty, for example occasions when you have exceeded targets or developed your own initiatives, and don’t forget to include any relevant voluntary work or experience. If the employer is looking for specific skills or experiences and you have them, show it. If not think about other skills you do have in your remit – are these transferable?
It is worth noting that you don’t have to put your reasons for leaving a job on your resume, as many employers would rather discuss this at interview anyway.
Highlight any relevant professional memberships you hold, and don’t forget to specify if you are active in any organisations.
When it comes to education you don’t need to go back further than your undergraduate days. And remember, if you didn’t come out with quite the grade you wanted, don’t put it down; if the organisation wants to know they will ask. Remember to list any relevant courses or further training undertaken since.
People tend to worry about gaps in their resumes, but really these are only problematic if they can’t be reasonably explained. Taking time out to travel, have children, acquire further experience or rethink and regroup is perfectly acceptable. Redundancy, too, is now commonplace and doesn’t need to be denied. It won’t hinder your application, and in fact going through a redundancy and re-thinking, re-focusing and re-entering the job market will often work in your favour.
Writing ‘references available upon request’ on your resume is standard practice, and indeed many recruitment experts now recommend leaving them off and providing referees when asked. But if you do wish to include references ensure they come at the end of the resume.
As a closing piece of advice regarding resumes and applications De MagalhÃ£es Ferreira stressed the following: “If an employer is interested in your application they will contact you, regardless of technicalities on your resume. Of course, your application needs to be of a high standard, well-presented and must showcase your professional history, but ultimately if an employer is left with any questions they will ask. If you are the ideal candidate for a job you are not going to be overlooked because you didn’t give a full enough explanation of what you did in that six month break ten years ago, or haven’t listed your university achievements in enough detail. Don’t be complacent when resume writing, but do bear in mind that if the company is interested in you they will get back to you to find out more.”
For further advice on writing a resume for the Australian market check out www.seek.com.au and www.career-advice.careerone.com.au.