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Introduction to writing a good résumé
To write a good résumé:
- keep a current, master résumé that records everything about your education and career
- then tailor your résumé to each job application
- focus on the results you have achieved rather than merely the activities you have performed
- keep your résumé highly concise; don't write in a narrative form — you don't need to use full sentences; rather, explain what you do using verbs and dot points or short paragraphs
- include at least the following sections
A. Contact details
Your contact details should include:
- your name
- email address
- phone number(s)
You may also include:
- your web address, if you have one
- online profiles, such as Facebook page and Twitter account
- citizenship or residence status
- public service employee number, if you have one
- any relevant security clearances
You need not include:
- marital status
- date of birth
B. Qualifications and training
Qualifications and training cover the following. You may also include the date of the qualification and the institution that awarded you the qualification.
(a) School and post-school qualifications
If you have post-secondary school education, then you need not list your secondary school education.
(b) Accredited training
In Australia, accredited training means a qualification that leads to an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) standard or Statement of Attainment.
(c) Non-accredited training
Non-accredited training may include non-AQF accredited training courses completed in previous public service employment, for example.
(d) Technical skills
Technical skills might include the operating systems you can use (Windows Vista, etc), hardware, software, and programming languages.
(e) Special skills
For example, fluency in a foreign language.
(f) Professional memberships
Such as Bar Associations, Law Societies, the Society of Authors, and so on.
For example, a special kind of driver's licence.
You can list your qualifications and training by:
- reverse chronological order
- hierarchy (from the highest level of qualification down)
- subject matter
C. Work history
Work history is broader than paid employment. Work history includes:
- paid work (full-time, part-time, casual, and contractual)
- voluntary work
- parental and carer responsibilities
- work experience
When listing your work history, provide:
- details of the employer or organisation
- key responsibilities
- key results
When laying out your work history:
- use a consistent format
- list your work history from present to past
- list your key responsibilities; start with a verb. Use the present tense for your current work and the past tensefor previous work that states what you did. For example, consider whether you can use any of these verbs to start your list of key responsibilities:
- state the value or benefit you achieved. Examples of the value or benefits you achieved might be:
- saved time
- saved cost
- increased profits
- increased productivity
- improved a process or procedure or something else
- reduced process steps
- reduced the number of disputes, customer complaints, errors, breakdowns
- met deadlines
- reduced reporting workload
- solved a problem
- increased sales
- increased leads
- increased conversions
- increase number of visitors
- improved customer experience
- improved morale
- increased staff retention
- met standards
- improved relationships
- improved response rates
- introduced something new
- explain briefly how you achieved these results
- demonstrate and quantify your achievements — for example, use testimonials, references, statistics, or financial outcomes.
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D. Referee contact details
Include the names and contact details of 2 or 3 referees. Alternatively, say that the names and contact details of referees will be provided on request.
Further reading on how to write a résumé
In Australia, the "Bible" of job application advice is Ann Villiers, How To Write and Talk to Selection Criteria (2011). The book includes a chapter called "Preparing Your Résumé" (Chapter 12, 140–60).
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