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A resume, often referred to as a CV, is a summary (or snapshot) of what you have achieved and who you are. It is a very important part of your job application, as it contains a brief outline of your personal details, employment history, education, skills and interests.
You can use the same resume for several applications but sometimes you may wish to make small changes to highlight special skills or experience that apply to a particular job. It is a good idea to update your resume when you gain new skills, undertake new work or gain relevant experiences such as coaching sports teams or undertaking voluntary work.
The layout of resumes varies a lot.
The Internet has a number of useful websites to explore various styles. Some examples include:
Here are some suggested headings and the kind of information that should go under these headings.
The first part of your resume contains your name, address and telephone number. If you are not on the phone perhaps you can use a contact number of a friend or relative. (Make sure that you let them know so that they are prepared for any messages for you.) It is optional to include your date of birth, place of birth, nationality and whether you are married or single.
Show the highest educational level you have reached and where you studied. List information about the subjects you have studied. Include recent subject results if you have them. If you have a degree that has included a research project or thesis, give some details, particularly if your topic can be related to the job in question.
Include any courses completed and certificates you have achieved, such as:
St John Ambulance First Aid course, 2002
advanced SCUBA diving course
class 1A driver's licence
It is important to give details of any skills that you possess, such as reading, writing or speaking another language; typing; word processing; computing; leadership and organisational skills; ability to accept responsibility; mathematical skills; or ability to work under pressure. Your skills show a prospective employer your range of abilities but they need to be related to the job.
List any previous jobs you have had.
Show your job title. If you did not have a title, put down something that describes your job in a couple of words.
Show the employer's name. This means the name of the business, not the boss's name. Include the suburb or town.
Show periods of employment. Be as accurate as you can with the periods of employment, for example December 2001 - June 2002.
Include your work experience and casual or part-time work. Any work experience such as working in a friend's cafe, or work experience arranged by schools, holiday work, and voluntary work should be mentioned.
Include any other relevant information. The header for this section will vary according to your work and life history. You might include your membership of professional organisations, your sporting activities and achievements, your hobbies, or community activities. All of these show your individuality and interests. For example, community activities suggest you like meeting and helping people, and playing sport suggests you can work in a team.
Include referees and references. Two referees should be sufficient. Be sure to ask their permission before you list their names and addresses. Your referees could include a teacher or academic who knows your work, at least one past employer and someone who has known you for a long time from an organisation or social group.
Information provided by the Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training and The Good Guides Group.