27 Resume Tips That Will Make Your Resume Stand Out In Australia [2022]

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resume writing tips
Irene McConnell
10 min read

April 15, 2022

Last updated: July 27th, 2022

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You’ve decided that it’s time to update your resume and get a new job in 2022. But you haven’t yet found a list of actionable resume tips that will help you get your resume noticed by Australian hiring managers.

Well, I am here to support you during your job search with Australian resume templates, examples, advice that de-mystifies industry jargon, and proven resume writing tips that lead to job offers from Australia’s top companies.

By the way, you can give yourself a massive headstart or outsource the task of resume writing altogether by:

Resume Tip 1: Quantify Your Achievements.

Hiring managers already know what you do in your day-to-day work, so you don’t need to pack your resume with a laundry list of duties.

Instead, you need to demonstrate impact – and that requires achievements, quantified by hard numbers. Prospective employers want to know:

  • Did your work lead to increases in revenue?
  • Did you save the company any money?
  • Did you reduce the number of workplace accidents?
  • What was the size of your budget? 
  • How many people reported to you, if any?

The easiest and most effective way to describe how you contributed to organisational objectives is by using a method called ARTA (Achieved Result By Taking Action).

Here’s an example of a business development manager’s achievement, before ARTA:

“Achieved 110% of annual sales target in 2020.”

Rewriting it to have more impact using the ARTA method, you get:

“Delivered 110% to 2020 sales target [Achieved Result] by developing a new-to-company strategy to target the underdeveloped Gen Y market [by Taking Action]“.

Much better, no?

Expert Tip.

I’ve published a detailed guide that will help you write outstanding resume achievements. You’ll find it here.

Resume Tip 2: Include Power Summaries.

For every role, add a Power Summary that describes:

  • Why you were hired
  • Commercial context around your role

For example:

resume tips australia

Place the Power Summaries just below your job titles and employer names.

They will provide the hiring manager with a strong, commercially relevant context for your responsibilities and achievements.

Resume Tip 3: Target A Specific Role.

Don’t try to create a one-size-fits-all resume that covers several role types.

One resume per role type.

Don’t break this rule. Ever.

Expert Tip.

If you plan to apply for a few different role types, you’ll need to write a separate resume for each.

Resume Tip 4: Kill The Resume Objective.

In case you’re wondering, this is the culprit that I’m talking about:

resume tips australia

It sometimes goes by different names:

  • Resume Objective
  • Career Objective
  • Objective Statement

Regardless of the name, it’s useless.

Australian job seekers often added these self-indulgent and meaningless ramblings at the very top of their resumes back in the 1990s. Don’t do it in 2022.

Resume Tip 4: Save Time By Writing The Profile Last.

Your resume’s profile highlights your most salient strengths and unique selling points in narrative form.

To avoid writer’s block, write it last – as an exercise in summarising the rest of your resume. It’s much easier to write it once all other resume sections are in place.

This is one of those resume writing tips that only professional resume writers know about. You’re welcome!

Aim for a few snappy paragraphs that tell the hiring manager what makes you uniquely capable of solving specific organisational challenges.

resume tips australia

Above is my tongue-in-cheek take on what the profile on Elon Musk’s resume could look like.

Resume Tip 5: Get The Length Right.

Australian resumes run between one page and five pages, with the vast majority coming in somewhere in the middle of that range.

My guide to resume length provides precise guidelines, but you can simply follow the rules of thumb below.

  • Australian Graduates should have a one-page resume.
  • Australian Mid-level professionals should have two to three-page resumes.
  • Australian Senior managers and executives should have a three to five-page resume.

Resume Tip 6: Impress Hiring Managers By Eliminating Ambiguity.

Resumes are notorious for being full of vague, fluffy statements that read like they were written using a thesaurus.

You know the ones:

“Known for achieving financial results across various sectors, I have extensive experience at various companies…”

Ugh.

Go on a hunt for these non-­specific generalisms like “various companies” and replace them with specific details, facts, figures and, examples. You’ll end up with:

“I bring 15 years of experience in driving efficiencies across mining and resources sectors, with companies like Rio Tinto and BHP under my belt.”

Or, instead of saying:

“Worked to achieve positive commercial outcomes”

Explain what “positive commercial outcomes” really meant in that context by communicating what you did (leading with an action verb), and why you did it (demonstrating the positive impact your actions had), to arrive at:

“Allocated human and manufacturing assets [What] to increase factory output and profitability, enabling the business to exceed sales demand, improve customer satisfaction, and capture market share from key competitors [Why].”

Resume Tip 7: Address Any Employment Gaps.

If you’ve taken time off work to see the world, have a family, or any other reason, that’s great.

  • An employment gap in your career history isn’t necessarily a problem, but an unexplained one certainly is.

Be transparent about breaks. This includes gaps caused by events outside of your control like company restructures and redundancies.

Expert Tip.

Don’t try to mask employment gaps by stretching your employment dates. The truth will inevitably come out – probably during your job interview – and lead to embarrassment.

Resume Tip 8: Don’t Rip Off The Job Description.

Borrowing sentences from the job description is a terrible idea.

Most job descriptions are tactical in their scope and task-driven in their language – because they are written by junior staff who don’t have a full view of the role’s contributions to the organisation’s strategic priorities.

  • Think of them as low-resolution snapshots of the role.

If you embrace a job description or a job ad as a departure point for your resume, you’ll unintentionally play down your experience and pitch yourself at a lower level of seniority.

Expert Tip.

Rather than harvesting job descriptions for useful resume content, use one of the resume templates provided by my recommended resume builder, Resume.io

Resume Tip 9: Don’t Go Back Further Than 15 Years.

I understand the desire to include your entire work history on your resume. After all, you want to look experienced.

However, professional resume writers usually take the opposite approach.

They showcase your most recent and greatest hits, detailing between 3 and 6 roles from the last 15 years of your working history.

resume tips australia

What if you have more than 15 years of employment history?

Split those roles out into a separate “Additional Career History” section, and place them directly below the “Professional Experience” section. Keep the resolution of those roles quite low.

Expert Tip.

Note how the resume example above example allocates more real estate to recent roles. Known as the Russian Doll approach, this method adds impact to your resume by providing detail where it counts most.

Resume Tip 10: Use The Reverse Chronological Resume Order.

You should stick with the reverse-chronological format. This is the most popular resume format, and your hiring manager will feel very familiar with it.

(Related: Guide To The Best Resume Formats).

The reverse chronological order is the most effective at presenting the experience of job seekers with 5-20 years of experience.

If you’re reading this article, you probably fall within this group.

Expert Tip.

Other resume formats include Functional / Skills-Based and Combination. Those are typically used by graduates applying for their first job, or by folks with extremely complicated backgrounds.

Resume Tip 11: Improve The Visual Appeal.

This is one of the most important resume writing tips.

Make sure that your resume is easy on the eye. Use white space to break up text sections and use bullet points to highlight critical information, and:

  • Avoid over-crowding
  • Use bullet points

If your resume “feels” too dense, it probably is. Hiring managers will appreciate you splitting content across additional pages to make the resume easier to skim and read.

Expert Tip.

Hiring managers don’t ever read your resume. They skim-read it. By following sound design principles and optimising for a skim-reader, you’re vastly increasing your chances of being invited for a job interview.

Resume Tip 12: Remove All Instances Of “Responsible For…”

Instead of using the overused “responsible for,” use specific language that accurately describes your role and responsibilities.

For example, instead of saying:

“Responsible for managing a team of customer service representatives.”

Say:

Led a team of customer service representatives and successfully resolved customer complaints.

Resume Tip 13: Delete Buzzwords.

If it’s generic and meaningless, it does not belong on your resume. Read your resume again, hunt down all buzzwords and replace them with precise, commercially relevant phrases.

Words to avoid:

  • Team player
  • Dynamic
  • Hard worker
  • Problem solver
  • Extensive experience
  • Self-starter

Resume Tip 14: Don’t Overshare The Private Stuff.

Don’t include any personal information on your resume. This includes things like your:

  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Date of birth
  • Political affiliation

Personal information has no place on a resume and including it could open doors for unfair discrimination.

Resume Tip 15: Set The Right Font Size.

Keep the font size variation to a minimum. Your resume should not use more than 3 different font sizes.

If in doubt, use:

  • Size 11-12 for the body
  • Size 18-22 for subheadings
  • Size 30-34 for your name

Resume Tip 16: Don’t Use Boring Fonts.

Fonts affect the overall look and feel of your resume.

Don’t fall into the trap of choosing either a dull (or a very ostentatious) font. I’ve written an entire guide to resume fonts in Australia, but if you just want a quick recommendation, use one of the following:

  • Verdana
  • Helvetica
  • Calibri
  • Myriad Pro

All of these are attractive and highly readable fonts that will add a level of polish to your resume.

Resume Tip 17: Honesty Is The Best Policy.

Don’t lie on your resume. Ever.

Be honest about your qualifications and experiences.

If you’re caught lying on your resume, you’ll lose your credibility with a recruiter (and potentially an entire recruitment firm or employer).

You’ll destroy all chances of getting hired – not just for a particular role, but for any future roles with that recruitment firm or organisation.

Expert Tip.

Australia is a very small place, and a bad reputation will haunt you for the rest of your career.

Resume Tip 18: Bold And Italics Add Emphasis.

You can improve readability and highlight relevant skills using bold and italics.

That said, don’t go overboard.

  • If you bold or italicise too many elements, the sense of emphasis will be lost, and you’ll end up with a resume that looks like a fruit salad.
resume tips

Resume Tip 19: Be Careful With Hobbies And Interests.

Include anything that demonstrates your ability to beat the competition or your desire to see others succeed. For example:

  • Winning in a cycling event
  • Completing the City2Surf for five consecutive years
  • Volunteering with Surf Life Saving
  • Learning to speak Chinese in 6 months

Resist the temptation to include interests that don’t require you to produce a remarkable result. For example:

  • Collecting stamps
  • Hiking (unless you did something extraordinary, e.g., hiked 50km to raise funds for a charity).
  • Camping

Resume Tip 20: Double-Check The Dates.

Are your employment dates correct? You’ll be surprised how many people submit job applications that contain incorrect periods of employment.

  • The last thing you want is for an eagle-eyed recruiter or hiring manager to pick up this mistake during your job interview.

It will look bad and cast a shadow over your entire job application.

Resume Tip 21: Include Social Media URLs.

Include the URLs of your LinkedIn profile and any other relevant social media accounts.

  • The key word there is “relevant”.

A social media feed of your bird-watching photos isn’t important in the context of a job application as an interior designer, but your Behance portfolio of work is.

Expert Tip.

Add the URL of your professional website or blog, if it’s relevant to your overall value proposition.

Resume Tip 22: Optimise For Robots.

50% of resumes never get seen by a human recruiter or a hiring manager because they get filtered out by an ATS.

Applicant Tracking Systems assess your suitability for a specific role by scanning your resume for relevant keywords and key phrases.

Expert Tip.

Use a tool like Jobscan to rate your resume’s ability to get past the applicant tracking system.

Defeat these harsh resume critics by including a healthy mix of keywords from the job description in your key skills section.

For example, if your job title is project manager, your key skills section may look something like this. Keywords from the job ad are highlighted:

resume tips australia

Resume Tip 23: Tighten Up The Skills Section.

Resume Tip 23: Tighten Up The Skills Section.

The key skills section must prominently display your most relevant strengths, either using 5-8 bullet points (see resume tip above for an example) or a table.

Its purpose is to give prospective employers an at-a-glance view of the hard and soft skills that qualify you for the role.

Make sure that you only list relevant skills. They must be aligned with the role you’re applying for.

Did You Know? Hard skills are the technical, specific abilities that you learn through education and training.

Some examples of hard skills include:

  • Typing speed
  • Foreign language fluency
  • Computer programming
  • Advanced mathematical abilities

Did You Know? Soft skills are harder to quantify. Dictionary.com defines soft skills as “personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.”

Some examples of soft skills are:

  • Communication skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Problem-solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Work ethic
  • Professionalism

Resume Tip 24: Delete Your Photograph.

In certain parts of the world, including a photo on your resume is normal practice – but it’s not in Australia.

Do not include one on your resume – unless a job description specifically asks you to include it.

Expert Tip.

A lot of free resume templates that you’ll find online include space for a photograph. Resist the temptation to use them, as they’re usually intended for overseas job seekers.

Resume Tip 25: Include “References Available Upon Request”.

Don’t add references to your resume, but mention that they’re just an email away.

Expert Tip.

A lot of free resume templates that you’ll find online include space for a photograph. Resist the temptation to use them, as they’re usually intended for overseas job seekers.

Resume Tip 26: Include A Professional Email Address.

Your email address must look like it belongs to a mature adult. Don’t use the same email address that you’ve had since high school.

Think johnanderson101@gmail, not tallandhandsome101@gmail.com

Expert Tip.

For extra polish, register a domain and use it to set up a personal email address (e.g. john@johnwatson.com.au)

Resume Tip 27: Proofread Your Resume 3 Times.

This may be one of those resume tips that’s too obvious to mention, but I’ll do it anyway.

Don’t forget to check for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors! This is a critical step that too many job seekers overlook.

Proof-read, proof-read, then proof-read again.

Every hiring manager has a horror story of a candidate who was about to be invited to interview for a plum gig but got disqualified because of typos in their resume.

Check for any spelling or grammatical errors using your own eyes, then enlist the help of another human. They’ll pick up mistakes that your eyes have missed.

Finally, run your resume through an AI-powered language checker like Grammarly.

On the last read of your resume, make an effort to hunt down and eliminate any generic mumbo-jumbo that may have snuck through:

  • Cull cliches ruthlessly.
  • Remove anything that isn’t commercially meaningful. If it doesn’t cover your mandate, your strategic priorities and scope of the role, it shouldn’t be there.

Need More Resume Writing Tips?

After you’ve finished implementing my resume tips above, you can impress Australian employers even more by learning from my resume writing guides below:

One of the most important resume tips to remember is that your resume is just one piece of the job search puzzle. Don’t forget to:

  • Ensure that your LinkedIn profile is on point
  • Be well prepared for job interviews

– Irene

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