Job Hunting Tips

What Is the Best Format for My Resume in Australia & Abroad?

Mark Smith Posted by Mark
min read
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In collaboration with Bulls Eye Recruiting, we're launching a new series on the people2people blog exploring the differences and similarities between job hunting, business and recruitment in Australia, the United States and around the world. Our first installment asks:

What is the accepted format of a CV in your country?

Will Thomson, Bulls Eye Recruiting: In the United States, we typically call the CV a resume. 

The resume in the United States varies in length.  Many career experts will tell you to keep the resume to one or two pages.  

Personally, I believe that completely depends on the situation.  The most important thing when writing a resume is to clearly state your skills.  If you need more than two pages to talk about your technical skills or accomplishments, it is okay to have more pages.  You typically do not need to go more than 10-15 years back on your resume.  If you have held multiple roles within the same organization, it is important to highlight the jobs that you did at the company. Unlike other countries that I work with, it is not necessary to have a photograph, to disclose if you are single or married, to say what age you are, or include any other personal information. You do not need to put your home address on the resume. 

It is important for a jobseeker to list their Linkedin account, Twitter account, blog or any other body of work that can show what skills you might bring to the table. 

The resume is typically structured with a brief summary that clearly states what your objective is and what type of role you are looking to obtain.  It is important to list the companies you have worked with, your title and include the start and end date and month.  It is not necessary to disclose why you left an organization, but be prepared to answer that question in an interview.  You should also include consultancy projects or temporary assignments that may be relevant.  It is important to be through and concise. 

On all resumes, you should list your education, when you graduated, and what technical skills or accomplishments you may have had.   It is important to double check for grammatical errors or typos.


Mark Smith, people2people: How many ways can you skin a cat?  

Preparing your personal details when you are entering the job market is an important first step, but the advice available can be confusing and often conflicting. Even what you call the document itself is contested. Is it a resume or a CV? Our friends at Undercover Recruiter have already done the hard work on this one. Here is their analysis:

 'A resume is a brief summary of your skills and experience over one or two pages, a CV is more detailed and can stretch well beyond two pages. The resume will be tailored to each position whereas the CV will stay put and any changes will be in the cover letter.”'

It seems that Americans prefer a resume and the Australians a CV. So, what about the content? What is generally expected? First, let's start with a couple of aesthetic things. I am not known as an aesthete, but in Australia, make sure you drop the photo. It's recommended you have a photo on your social media profiles, but, please, can you leave it off your CV? Lisa Johnson from the people2people team recently made some excellent points in her blog piece regarding the use of photos.  Use a regular font with regular spacing. Avoid anything that many people would say makes you stand out, such as pictures, fonts, logos, etc. Remember that in the 21st century, your application is likely to be parsed through an ATS (applicant tracking system) so the 'KISS' rule (keeping it simple, stupid) really does apply. Let's get into the basics. Make sure you have your contact details on your CV. That means your address, mobile phone and an email. You can also include links to social media, such as Linkedin and Twitter (both being preferred in Australia). Ensure you list your education with dates and whether or not you have completed the course. Too many people try to pretend that one year at a university can be listed to imply they have achieved an undergraduate (or bachelor's) degree. 

For each of your roles, make sure you clearly state the company name, your title and the dates you worked with them. This means years and months. Once again, an ATS will probably parse the details, and recruiters will be ensuring there are no unexplained gaps. Make a short statement on what the company does. In the global community, many household names are completely unknown outside your state or country. Give your reason for leaving and the title of the person you reported to for each of the roles. 

These people can either be on your list of referees or not. If you have been in senior positions, then make sure you list an achievement in a way that demonstrates how you have added value to the organisation. Similarly, make sure you list the systems you have used and the volume of work for roles where this is applicable. Finally – and this is particularly important in Australia – make sure your CV is not too short but also not too long. Avoid long pieces of prose and defer to bullet points where possible. Your CV is your passport to securing an interview and is a summary of your career history. Any specific points relating to the role you have applied for should be in your cover letter. Your CV is very important in securing a new career opportunity, but it is only part of the process. Your behaviour before, during and after the interview plays just as an important part in the process. Good luck!