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First of all, bravo. By discovering this blog post, you’ve made a commitment not to be at the mercy of the tough, post-COVID job search market. You’ve realised that in order to be successful, you’ll need a resume that’s strongly aligned with the expectations of the Australian job market.
Where can you find a great example of an Australian resume?
In fact, I’ll give you something better. Instead of simply showing you a few examples of Australian resumes, I’ll also show you how to structure each section of your resume, to ensure that it grabs the attention of Australian recruiters in the post-COVID world.
I’ll also share with you a few vital idiosyncrasies that you must know about Australian resumes.
But first, let me explain a few little-known, but important nuances of Australian culture. Knowing these will maximise your chances of getting your resume noticed in the Australian job market.
1. Getting Accepted By Aussies.
Australians are famous for their laid-back attitude. They appreciate confidence and professionalism, but severely dislike overconfidence and hubris.
When crafting your resume, it’s critical that you position yourself as a confident and highly competent individual.
Don’t get carried away, though. Your resume should not read like it was written by Conor McGregor, for Conor McGregor.
Aussies don’t relate well to people who are overly brash and self-aggrandising; instead, they reserve a term for them which begins with a “w” and rhymes with “tanker”.
Striking a balance is vital.
You don’t want to undersell yourself. But you don’t want to come across as God’s gift to employers, either (more on this shortly).
2. Structure Of An Australian Resume.
Now that you understand the cultural background against which you need to write your resume, let’s delve into a few specifics.
By the way, if you want to have a top-tier resume without having to write it yourself, consider using my Sydney- and Melbourne-based resume writing services for senior business leaders or my resume writing service for mid-level professionals.
- Don’t submit a one-page resume. It lacks the detail Australian recruiters are looking for.
- Don’t exceed 5 pages.
- Do try to keep your resume to 3-4 pages. This is what recruiters expect and feel is appropriate.
- Do keep your formatting clean and simple.
- Do stick to the internationally accepted font styles and sizes (e.g. Calibri, 11pt).
- Don’t use tables, images or graphs. Many Australian companies use ATS (Applicant Tracking System) tools – and these tend to be easily confused by unnecessary detail.
- Do review your resume with Australian English – that’s ‘Analyse’ not ‘Analyze’, ‘Behaviour’ not ‘Behavior’, ‘Centre’ not ‘Center’.
- This is obvious, but I need to say it anyway – ensure that there are no spelling errors or linguistic mistakes!
- If printing your resume, use A4 sized paper. Australia and Europe are aligned here.
- Don’t use US Letter size (8” x 11”).
(Related: Why Resume Templates Hurt Your Job Search).
3. Example Of An Australian Resume.
It’s time to show you a best-practice Australian resume example, and then explain to you why it works.
In some countries it’s normal practice to include your headshot at the top of your resume. Not so in Australia.
Do not include a photograph of yourself—regardless of how handsome or pretty you think you are.
The headline on a resume typically appears under your name, and is essentially your tagline. My advice is to match your headline with the job you are applying for.
Include any certifications that add credibility and, if possible, highlight your specialisation. For example:
Chief Financial Officer | Chartered Accountant | Manufacturing
This is not the place to be cool, so no ‘Number Monkey’, ‘Head Honcho’ or ‘Moral Captain’ references. Please.
Your Professional Profile.
Here is where you can inject some ‘colour’. Think story. Think brand. Think impact.
(Related: 25 Elements You Must Include On Your Resume).
Most candidates will use this space to detail their overarching experience, qualifications and specialisation. For example:
“A dynamic Chief Financial Officer with 15 years’ experience in the manufacturing sector, I offer chartered accountant expertise is M&A, divestment and fiscal activities.”
While that approach is reasonably effective, do one better and get to the heart of what makes you unique and exceptional:
“Combining Chartered Accountant qualification with astute commercial acumen, I bring 15 years’ success enabling the profitable growth of ambitious corporations in the manufacturing sector.”
Your Employment Summary.
You may be familiar with the 2012 study undertaken by online job-matching service TheLadders that claimed recruiters spend an average of just 6 seconds reviewing an individual’s resume.
Using an eye-tracking technique, researchers found that recruiters focused on your name, current job title, company and dates of employment.
It’s very important that you include this information on the first page of your resume—and do so in a clear and easily digestible format.
In Australia, recruiters are generally looking at your last 10 years of employment history. Only go back further if you have earlier experience that is highly relevant.
Your Responsibilities & Achievements.
Now recruiters will expect you to get into the ‘meat’ of your roles.
Here, you need to call out your key competencies and experience in a way that engages the Australian audience.
Author Richard White, in his 1981 book Inventing Australia, used images spanning 400 years to answer the question … what does it mean to be Australian?
One of his observations was that Australians dislike arrogance and prefer to view achievements as facts. I suggest that you take his conclusions into account. Here are some ways to do it:
- Responsibilities that avoid first-person references: e.g. ‘Provide leadership to a team of 5 HR Advisors’, rather than, ‘I lead a team of 5 HR advisors’.
- No 3rd person references: e.g. ‘Emma leads a team of 5 HR Advisors’.
- Front-loaded fact-based achievements: e.g. ‘Improved staff engagement by 30%, defining and implementing a targeted strategy empowering employee input and influence’ rather than ‘Defined and implemented a targeted strategy empowering employee input and influence, resulting in a 30% increase in staff engagement scores.’
Also, be sure to read my guide to writing persuasive, razor-sharp achievements.
To quote the great Sir John Monash, pioneering scholar, soldier and engineer who lent his name to one of Australia’s leading universities:
“…equip yourself for life, not solely for your own benefit but for the benefit of the whole community…”
Australians, like most westerners, value education and continuing professional development.
Be sure to highlight your academic and professional qualifications by including the name and major of your degree, along with the awarding institution.
Graduate, Australian Institute of Company Directors GAICD
Bachelor of Science, Psychology The University of Cambridge
There is no need to include the year of completion on your resume. Also, there’s no need to include education that is no longer relevant (e.g. high school).
Aside from your previous experience, achievements and personality flavour, there are a few other details that you can consider including on your resume to get a job quickly:
- Non-Executive / Committee / Voluntary Job Roles: Don’t be afraid to expand on these, as you would your professional experience, provided they enhance your value proposition as a professional.
- Professional Memberships / Affiliations: e.g. Member of the British Psychological Society, Fellow of the Financial Planning Association of Australia or the National Association of Sales Professionals
- Visa Status: Show that you are eligible to work in Australia. For more info on Visa requirements and applications, head to the Australian government’s “Working In Australia” website: (http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Work)
- Publications: Provided they are relevant, interesting and credible.
- Awards: List them simply as you would your education e.g. Award Name, Awarding Body, Year.
Like all safety conscious professionals in the digital world, Australian recruiters appreciate the restrictions of data protection and don’t expect to see referee names, addresses and telephone numbers on your resume.
Writing ‘References available on request’ is perfectly acceptable.
You can expect that referee details will be requested in later stages of the recruitment process.
4. Bonus Tips.
The above is your guide to producing a great example of an Australian resume. But here at Arielle, we can’t help but give a little extra. Here are our ‘Top 4 Bonus Tips’ for bagging a job ‘down under’:
- Do not blindly copy resume templates that you find online. That’s a guaranteed way to make yourself look like every other candidate.
- Pay attention to your online presence: LinkedIn plays a big role in Australian recruitment and should form a key part of your professional brand.
- If you’re an executive or a senior business leader, more rules apply to you – start by reading my piece about executive resumes.
- Be patient: Australian recruitment processes can be lengthy due to wide stakeholder involvement and increased expectations.
- Time waits for no man, and neither does an Australian: Be on time for any calls or appointments. Tardiness is not ok.
Alright, that’s all I have for you today.
I hope these tips help – and if you would like to see any specific Australian resume examples (or Australia-specific job search tips), let me know in the comments below.