Resume Preparation

Format & Layout

The most important thing on the resume is the content so keep it simple.  Use a font that is easy to read like Arial, Times New Roman or Helvetica and make sure that the size is not too small nor too big.  Use the same font throughout your resume.  If you are going to use point form in your resume, use only one dot style.  Avoid using colours.

Contact Details

Details required on your resume are your name, address, contact number and email address.  Make sure these details are on every page of your resume in case any page is misplaced or gets separated after printing.

The email address you provide on your resume must sound professional, therefore, if you share your email address with someone else or have a weird nickname, you must replace it or provide another email address.

It is important that that you can be contacted on the phone number you provide.  Don't provide your work number unless you have your own office and don't risk being overheard.  If you provide your mobile number and you have a missed call, make sure that your voicemail message sounds professional.

It is usually advised that you don't provide details such as gender, age, marital status, religion, ethnic background or health issues.  If any of these factors are relevant to the position you are applying for, mention the appropriate information in your cover letter.

Career Objective vs Career Overview

Career Objective = what you expect the company to do for you

Career Overview = a snapshot of your experience and training

There are different opinions as to whether include a career objective or not.  Some employers like them, others don't.  If you do decide to use one, make sure your opening sentence grabs your reader's attention and makes them want to find out more.

If you decide on the Career Overview, it should only be a few sentences long as one paragraph.  It should include a little information of your professional, academic and industry training. If you feel that using a Career Objective will be an advantage, then include it after your Career Overview.

It is advised that you use a Career Objective if you are fresh out of school or a University graduate.  If you're not and have been in the workforce for a while, it is suggested you use a Career Overview instead.

Employment History

The first thing your reader should see is your most recent employment and work backwards from there.  By using point form, the reader can scan the resume and easily match your experience to the position.

Use the following structure when adding your employment history on your resume:

Job Title, Employer, Dates, What you did, For whom and When.

Description of Employer -  this is more appropriate for those coming from overseas or where the company may be unkown.

Responsibilities -  don't list every single thing you did.  For example, attending the monthly department meeting is not a responsibility, chairing the meeting is.  Only include the tasks you were responsible for.

Achievements -  list things you did that you weren't paid to do.  For example, reaching the monthly sales target is not an achievement as this is what you are paid to do.  Exceeding the monthly sales target is an achievement. 

You could also include the following achievements:

  • Staff Awards
  • Special Commendations
  • Helped implement an idea that resulted an increase in revenue, etc

Resume Gaps

If you have been out of the workforce for a while, try and explain the gap in your resume.  Write a short paragraph explaining why there was a gap and put it in to where it corresponds within the Employment History section.  Include information about any new skill or training you acquired during this time.

e.g New mother returning to workforce

Home Administrator/Full Time Mother - July 2000 - July 2002

Acquired skills: excellent organisational and communication skills and the ability to multi-task.  During this time I completed a bookkeeping course and managed the accounts for my brother's catering business.  I also created and managed the volunteer roster at my local hospital.

Education & Training

Begin with the highest level of education achieved.  Unless you have just left school, you can leave your high school education out.  In this section you can include University courses, TAFE training, industry courses, in-house courses and any other professional training.

When listing your education, provide the full name of the course you studied, the full name of the institute you studied with, the skills you learned from this course and your achievements.

The education section follows the employment history unless you have just graduated or are hunting for an academic position where your educational accomplishments are more relevant.


A new employer will want names and contact details of people who know you well and can be contacted to check the details on your resume.  Before listing someone as your referee, they must agree to it.

Unless it is specifically requested in the job advertisement to supply referee details, you can choose not to provide them.  Instead you could just have a short note saying:  "References available on request".

Extra Information

You could also include the items listed below only if they will reinforce your application.  These are not necessary, they are just options.

  • Affiliations and Memberships with Professional Entities
  • Licenses and Accreditations
  • Ability to Speak Foreign Languages
  • Publications
  • Interests