Are you planning your Working Holiday trip to Australia? Does finding a job worry you? Creating a resume (CV) is an important step towards finding work in Australia, especially because the format might be a bit different from what you are used to back home. This article will provide you with all the tips to create your Australian resume. In addition, you can download a template to guide you.
The Resume: your best friend to find a job
As for all countries, a CV is essential for a job search. However, depending on the types of jobs you want to do in the country, your CV, if you need it, will be different! You will be able to find jobs on farms (fruit picking, packing, pruning, etc.), casual jobs, or even a long term job in the city, in a specific field for example.
A Resume for a farm job?
A Resume is not always necessary to work in Australia. They won’t ask you for one for odd jobs like fruit picking. If you are looking for a job on a farm, writing a CV will be useless. In fact, it is better to go directly to the farmers and speak with them or even call them. They will usually not ask you for a CV. However, we still advise you to have one on hand, for example if you have to apply online (this happens for some large companies).
A Resume for qualified jobs and casual jobs?
However, if you are looking for a temporary or long term job, having a well-written CV according to Australian criteria will be essential. As in Europe, the CV (“resume” in Australia) will be essential to your job search, especially for a qualified job.
For a “casual job” in service, in the kitchen, in stores, your CV will be used above all to prove that you have a basic knowledge of English. It will also be a good way to meet managers by submitting your CV directly in person.
Note: With a WHV you can only work 6 months with the same employer. However, you can do all types of jobs (qualified, unskilled, etc.).
Beware that to work in certain industries, you will need specific trainings. For example, if you want to work in the construction, building field, you are required to have the White Card. If you are after a job in hospitality (a restaurant, a pub etc), you have to get your RSA.
Get your RSA in Australia and receive Discounts!
Pay less for your RSA course (Responsible Service of Alcohol). With this certificate, you are allowed to work in all places where alcohol is served or sold.
The differences between the European CV and the Australian Resume
Firstly, you should know that the resume in Australia is often longer than you might be used to. Resumes in Western Europe are usually drafted in two pages, whereas the Australian resume can easily go up to five pages for a specialised job. Therefore, do not hesitate to be specific about your experiences and personal qualities.
You will also need to adapt your CV to the position you are applying for! This may seem logical, but consider detailing your experiences differently depending on the job you are applying for.
We should note that if you are looking for a ‘holiday job’ (e.g. construction worker, dive instructor), it is best to keep your resume to one or two pages. Except of course if you are aiming for a qualified position in a large hotel! Also remember to indicate the Australian certificates that are necessary / mandatory for this job (for example the RSA to serve alcohol).
The resume in Australia does not include a picture of you, nor does it specify your age.
It is advisable to include a short ‘Reference’ section, which includes the names of previous employers who could recommend you. Choose people who can speak English and with whom you have a ‘good relationship’. See below for more information.
Writing your Australian Resume
Here are the different sections that must appear on your Australian resume. The order of these parts is up to your discretion. For instance, if you have little professional experience and a full school curriculum related to the job you are looking for; bring the ‘Education’ section up before the ‘Work Experience’. If you are looking for a job in catering, making the “Skills” category appear with your RSA before your professional experiences can be a good idea.
As a general rule start with your most recent experience.
1 – Presentation and contact: ‘Details’
Make sure to include your:
- Full name;
- Telephone number;
- Email address.
The majority of employers prefer to hire workers already in Australia. So choose a local address, even if it is a backpackers hostel.
Reminder: Do not indicate your age or date of birth, your marital status and do not put a photo of yourself. This information is considered personal and should not appear on your CV to avoid discrimination.
2 – Introduction: quick presentation of yourself and what you are looking for
Describe your motivation in two or three sentences. What you are looking for in a job, and why your qualities make you the right person for this specific job. Remember to specify your availability. This is a very short, but very important part of your resume. The idea is that your potential employer glances at it and makes a decision on whether he or she is interested in reading the rest of your resume in a split-second.
This part can be short if you are looking for a holiday job. For example to find a job in service, you can write ‘I am a UK traveler on a Working holiday Visa and I am looking for a position as a waitress in Brisbane. I do have my RSA certificate and I am available to start asap.‘ But you can also decide to say more about yourself if you wish or to highlight your skills more.
3 – professional Experience: “Employment History”
Provide a detailed description of the jobs you have done in the past. This includes your tasks and the responsibilities you had within the company. Do not hesitate to highlight what you contributed to the company of your previous employers (e.g. if you worked at a bar and set up a Facebook page for them). Employers like to see that you show initiative.
As a traveller, we often want to get away from the work we did at home and try something new. If this applies to you, emphasise what you did in the past that could be an asset for this new job. For instance, if you are applying for a receptionist position, specify that you have experience hosting clients at another company.
Specify the name of the business and its industry, the start and end dates of your contract, your previous job titles, and the city and country where you worked in.
Put your previous job experience in chronological order, with your most recent job on the top. If you have had many jobs in the past, only mention those related to the job to which you are applying for.
4 – Training and education: “Education and training”
This section should include both your degree and any professional training you have obtained such as internships, apprenticeships. For each point specify the name of the educational course, dates, school/ institution, city and country of graduation.
The Australian school system may differ from your home countries. In principle, it is built up as follows:
- High school degree;
- Bachelor’s degree;
- Advanced diploma ou Higher national certificate;
- Master’s degree;
- PhD (Doctorate).
5 – “Skills and strength”
This section of your Australian resume is reserved for your technical and personal skills. They should always relate to the job you are applying for. Examples:
- For a job in graphic design, specify your computer skills in the ‘computer skills’ sub-section and your more personal skills in a ‘personal qualities’ part (e.g. your creativity and adaptability);
- To work in hospitality, emphasise your ability to work in a team, your organisational and interpersonal skills.
Specify the different languages you speak and your level of competency (e.g. native, intermediate, beginner). You can also add other diplomas and certificates here, such as the RSA, White Card, and Drivers license.
This section is very important when looking for a job in Australia. Considering you are a foreigner, any employer will want to know whether your English is good enough. Also, considering that for many jobs you are required to drive, it is important to mention whether you have a drivers license or not.
6 – Hobbies: “Hobbies and Interests”
Do not neglect this part of your CV, but do not list all your hobbies either! In fact, your activities, passions and commitments will allow your future employer to better understand you. Highlight the activities you do outside the professional sphere. Whether practising yoga, being a soccer captain or even participating in community activities, these elements reflect your personality and your qualities.
7 – References: “Referees”
Here you include the names of people you worked with in the past and their contact details. Make sure to check with them that they agree to be listed as a contact before adding them to this list. Usually your future employer will contact them to find out more about you and the way you work so you want to only add people that will have something positive to say. If you are not comfortable giving this information at first just add their names and state ‘contact details on request’. This will also give you the opportunity to inform your contacts that they may get a call.
Get discounts for your White Card course
Take advantage of special offers to obtain the white card and work in the construction industry.
Download your free Australian Resume Template
If you want a resume template for your departure to Australia, download this one for free. Then you just have to customise it!
Tips & tricks for a Good Resume
Australian contact details
Once your Resume is Australian, consider changing your address and phone number.
For digital mailings, save the file in PDF format. This will prevent the layout from changing depending on the computers/ operating systems.
We recommend you do this on the spot because Australian will more likely hire candidates who are already in Australia. Therefore, those who have an Australian address and phone number will have a heads start. If you do not have an address in Australia, as many travellers, just add your hostel or post office. You will always be contacted by phone or mail, so it does not make a difference.
The CV title will allow the employer to quickly identify which position you are applying for. Write the position offered in the title of your resume. For example ‘Barista Position’, ‘Farm Hand’ etc.
As for the layout and the visual aspect of your CV, a word of advice: go to the simplest. Avoid overly extravagant colours and layouts. The background is much more important than the form and the Australians prefer a clean and clear CV.
Go to the simplest, visually and in content! There are many free tools online. Many platforms offer simple and beautiful CV templates. You can complete them for free online then download them. Among them, ExpressCV or CVDesignR.
Tailor your resume to the job
In fact, depending on the job for which you are applying, your experiences, degrees, passions, etc. must be revised to be in line with the job. Your CV must be targeted!
For example, if you are looking for a job in construction but do not have the experience, highlight your DIY skills, your personal DIY-related experiences. If you are looking for a sales job and never had one, highlight your past customer relationships as a waitress or in the administration.
Print your Resume
Make sure to print quite a few (20-30). You will probably want to modify it along the way, so it does not make sense to print many more. In most cities, you will find a store that is called Office Works. They offer attractive rates for printing. Otherwise, you also have the option to go to the Library. The only problem is that sometimes it is necessary to buy a card to recharge with a minimum of XX AUD.
For one or 2 copies you can ask in your hostel, in a travel agency for backpackers or in a shop that also offers photography prints.
Hand out your Resume personally
As much as possible try to walk around to hand out your CV directly with employers (restaurants, shops etc). Do not hesitate to ask to speak to the manager, this will allow you to have a first contact with your potential future employer! Provide adequate, simple and clean clothing … avoid applying in a restaurant dressed in shorts, flip-flops … Sometimes this first contact can turn into a job interview and lead to a job