In today's "How to..." post you’ll learn the art of creating that all important job-seeking tool: the résumé.
You’ve arrived in Australia and you need a job! You’ve searched Gumtree, Seek, and the job board at college and found some great jobs you want to apply for. But before you even think about applying, it’s time to create the perfect résumé.
The résumé (pronounced “res-you-may”) or CV is arguably the most important tool in the job seeker’s possession. You might be the world’s best waitress, but if your résumé doesn't sell you to your potential employer, you won’t get an interview let alone a chance to show off your exceptional waitressing skills. So where to begin?
Firstly, tailor your résumé to the format that Australian employers prefer. To help you out, we've included an example résumé below.
Secondly, tailor your résumé to the job you’re applying for. If you’re applying for a waitressing job and you have waitressing experience and child care experience, particularly focus on your waitressing experience. You can still mention your child care job, but keep the focus on tasks that are relevant to the job you are applying for.
Thirdly, always – and I cannot stress it enough – ALWAYS include a cover letter! Many an excellent résumé has ended up in the bin because there is no cover letter. A cover letter is a must!
Here’s some more tips to follow to create the perfect résumé:
Don’t address your letter, ‘Dear Sir/ Madam’ or ‘To Whom it May Concern’. It’s impersonal and looks lazy. Find out who is doing the hiring and address your letter to them. If you can’t find this information, you may address your letter, ‘To the hiring manager’.
Do include a subject line with the title of the job you’re applying for. There might be several jobs going at the company, so this makes it easier for the hiring manager to know what position you’re applying for.
Do tailor the letter for the job you are applying for. Don’t just use the same letter for every job.
Do keep your letter to the point and sell yourself. Let the hiring manager know why you’re the best person for this particular job. Talk about the role and what you can do for the company. You want your cover letter to grab the hiring manager’s attention and make you stand out from the other applicants.
Do your research on the company and mention why you want to work for them.
Do use key words in your cover letter from the job advertisement. Are they looking for someone with ‘exceptional customer service’? You got it! In your cover letter, you ‘pride yourself on the feedback you have received for your exceptional customer service’.
Do list your full contact details, including your name, address, telephone number, and email address.
Do make sure your voicemail message is appropriate for your potential employer to hear. An unprofessional voicemail could be the reason you don’t get that interview.
Do include an objective. This should be direct and specific, and should detail your career goals whilst pitching yourself as the right person for this job.
Do list your most recent qualifications first. Include any qualifications or awards you have that are relevant to the job you are applying for too.
Do list your most recent and relevant jobs to the job you are applying for. List your responsibilities. Include volunteering work and internships if they are appropriate to the position too.
Do list your interests. For example, do you participate in team sport? Put that down because it shows you’re a team player.
Do have references who are happy to be contacted and make sure their contact details are correct. The preference is to not put them on your résumé, but to have them available when the employer asks for them. You can say, ‘References available on request’ or leave this off.
Do use an easy to read font. Don’t get fancy and use 10 different fonts in four different styles. Be professional.
And finally, before you even think about sending in your résumé, read it over, read it out loud, run a spell check, get a friend or teacher to proofread it, and make sure that your spelling and grammar is absolutely perfect!
If you’re still stuck, below is an example cover letter and résumé which follows the tips outlined here. Click on the image to open it in a new page.