Writing a Resume
Your resume is a snapshot of the jobs and responsibilities you’ve had, and what you might bring to the advertised role. Think about structuring it with:
- Introduction - Name, address, contact phone, contact email
- Profile summary - Snapshot of you, your skills and interests
- Qualifications – including courses, certificates and school qualifications you have
- Companies/places you’ve worked – including your job title
- Dates you worked there – start and finish
- Main responsibilities and accomplishments
- Names, positions and contact details of 2-3 referees
Writing a cover letter
Your cover letter is where you can go into detail about the skills you have and why you’re the best person for the job. When you’re writing your letter, read back through the selection criteria and give examples of how you meet the requirements for the job. Our quick guide lets you double check you’ve included all the important information:
- Introduce yourself and state which role you’re applying for
- Give reasons why you want to work with the organisation
- Give examples of where you have worked previously and your prior accomplishments
- Address each selection criteria with examples of how you meet the requirements
- Give additional examples of other skills you have
- Provide personality traits (such as dependent, trustworthy etc.)
- At the end, again state your interest for the position
Try to keep your cover letter concise with correct grammar and spelling. It’s common for advertisers to request cover letters be a maximum of one page, so just keep an eye out for any capped length.
What’s a referee?
Referees are people that a potential employer can refer to if they want to ask questions about you. They can be either professional (employers/colleagues) or personal (family/friends/acquaintances). An example of who you can use include:
- Professional: Previous or current managers, previous or current colleagues, Teachers or guidance counsellors, anyone you may have done odd-jobs for ie babysitting, dog walking, etc.
- Personal: Places you’ve volunteered, managers of clubs you’ve been a part of (e.g. sports, church), coaches.
Your referees will typically be asked questions about your work ethic and personality, including:
- What duties did you perform?
- How long were you employed for?
- Would they hire you again?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
Before you give a referee’s details, always check they agree to it, so the call won’t come as a surprise. Sometimes your referee might prefer to write a letter or summary about you – this is called a written reference.
What’s selection criteria?
Selection criteria outlines the skills you should have to apply for a job. This includes things like ‘positive attitude’, ‘OP9’ etc. Read the selection criteria and apply for jobs where you think you match the skills that are needed.
An employer may ask you to address selection criteria in a cover letter, or to submit a different document which outlines your responses. For example:
Requirement: Year 12 OP4
‘I graduated year 12 with an OP3. I completed the following subjects ….’
To extend further, you could include any extra-curricular activities or certificates you received while at school:
‘I graduated year 12 with an OP3. I completed the following subjects …’. ‘During my time at (school) I was awarded the year 11 award for best English student for our year group. I was also the captain of our senior debating team. I led the team to win in the regional championship and we came second in the state debating championship across Queensland'.
If you don’t have the right criteria, but still want to apply to show your skills you could say something like:
‘I graduated year 12 with an OP5. I am very interested in learning on the job and starting my career in a company I am passionate about’.
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