Are you planning a trip Down Under, and want to find a job while you’re over here? The first step to working in Australia is creating a great CV – but did you know that Australian CVs are quite different to English or American ones? Don’t panic though – we are here to help! This article will provide you with all the best tips and tricks to put together a successful Australian CV, as well as two templates to download.
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Your resume: your best friend when job-hunting
As for all countries, a CV is an essential part of the job search in Australia. However, depending on the types of jobs you want to do in the country, your CV will be different. Do you see yourself working short-term on a farm, in a casual hospitality job, or in a long-term job in a city in your specific field? The steps for finding a job will vary depending on what you’re looking for. Now get creating the perfect CV to land you your dream job!
Do you need a resume for a farm job?
A resume is not always necessary to work in Australia. They won’t always ask you for one for farm jobs like fruit picking. If you are looking for a job on a farm, emailing a farmer your CV will often be a waste of time. It is better to go directly to the farms and speak with the owners or even call them and ask them if they are hiring. Independent farmers will usually not ask you for a CV in person but we still advise you to have one ready, for example if you have to apply online (this happens for some large companies).
CV for a long-term job
If you are looking for a long-term or stable job with a small or larger company, having a well-written CV that follows Australian criteria will be essential, especially for any job that requires experience or qualifications. Your resume should highlight your educational background, your work experience and your references.
CV for a casual job
If you are looking for a more casual or temporary job in a supermarket or in catering, your CV will mainly serve to prove that you have a basic knowledge of English. It is also an excellent way to meet managers directly by handing in your CV.
Note: If you are on a Working Holiday Visa, after July 1 2023 you can only work a maximum of 6 months for the same employer. However, you can do all types of jobs (qualified, unskilled, etc.).
Certificates and trainings required to work in Australia
To work in certain industries in Australia, you will need to complete vocational training and obtain a certificate.
The most well-known certificates are:
- the RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol): mandatory to work in an establishment where alcohol is served.
- the White Card: mandatory for all building trades, such as construction
- the RSG/RCG: mandatory to work in gambling establishments, such as casinos and game rooms.
- Barista: If you want to work in a coffee shop like Starbucks, MacCoffees or Gloria Jeans Coffee, you will need this training.
Showing on your CV that you have the certificates required will be a real asset when job hunting. Indeed, it proves that you have the skills and understanding of the industry.
Save money on your RSA in Australia
Pay less for your RSA course (Responsible Service of Alcohol). With this certificate, you will be allowed to work in all places where alcohol is served or sold.
The differences between the European CV and the Australian resume
First of all, you should know that an resume in Australia is often longer and more detailed than you might be used to. Resumes in Western Europe are usually kept to two pages, whereas an Australian resume can easily go up to five or even seven pages for a specialised job. So don’t hesitate to be specific about your experience and personal qualities.
You will also need to adapt your CV to the position you are applying for! This may seem logical, but consider presenting your experience differently depending on the job you are applying for. Some tasks, responsibilities or skills will be more relevant than others.
Of course, there are exceptions to this rule! To work in the hospitality industry as a waiter or dishwasher, for example, it is advisable to opt for a shorter CV comprising 1 or 2 pages to make it easier to read quickly. (This does not apply if you are aiming for, for example, a management position in a large hotel!) Also remember to indicate the Australian certificates that are necessary mandatory for the job, such as your RSA.
Resume in Australia: Photo or no photo?
It is not generally recommended to include a photo on your Australian CV. Focus on your skills instead! You should also avoid including your age or date of birth as there are age discrimination laws in Australia.
However, you should add a section for references, where you can include the names and contacts of previous employers who would be happy to recommend you to a new employer. Choose people who speak English and with whom you have had a good relationship. We’ll go into more detail about this below.
Writing your Australian resume
Here are the different sections that must appear on your Australian resume. The order of the sections is up to you. For instance, if you have little professional experience but have completed a course or degree related to the job you’re applying for, put the “Education” section before “Work Experience”. If you are looking for a job in catering, making the “Skills” section (including your RSA) appear before your work experience could 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
- Local Australian address*
- Australian phone number
- Professional email address
*The majority of employers prefer to hire workers already in Australia. So put down a local address, even if it is a backpackers hostel!
Reminder: Do not include your age or date of birth or your marital status, and do not attach 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 professional 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 (eg. Available from May 7th 2023). This is a very short, but very important part of your resume – it’s like a mini cover letter. The idea is that your potential employer will glance 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 temporary or 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 have my RSA certificate and I am available to start asap.” 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. 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.
Put your previous work experience in reverse chronological order, with your most recent job on the top. If you have had many different jobs in the past, only include those related to the job 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 strengths”
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 a ‘computer skills’ sub-section and your soft skills in a ‘personal qualities’ section (e.g. your creativity and adaptability);
- To work in hospitality, emphasise your ability to work as part of 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 Driver’s license.
This section is very important when looking for a job in Australia. If you are not a native English speaker, any potential employer will want to know whether your English is good enough for the job you’re applying for. Also, considering that for many jobs you are required to drive, it is important to mention whether you have a driver’s 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. Your future employer will probably 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 available on request’. This will also give you the opportunity to inform your contacts that they may get a call!
Get discounts on your White Card course
Take advantage of our special offers to get your White Card and work in the construction industry.
Download your free Australian resume templates
If you want a great Australian resume template for to get you started on your job search, you can download these ones for free. All you have to do is customise them!
👨🍳 CV template for working in hospitality in Australia
👨💼 CV template for working in marketing in Australia
Tip: For emailing your Australian resume, save the file in PDF format. This will prevent the layout from changing depending on different computers/operating systems.
Tips & tricks for a great Australian resume
Put Australian contact details
Once your resume is in an Australian format, you should update your phone number and address as soon as possible.
Australian employers are much more likely hire candidates who are already in Australia. Those who have an Australian address and phone number will have a head start.
If you do not have an address in Australia, as many travellers do not, you can add the address of your hostel or a local post office. You will always be contacted by phone or mail, so it does not make a difference.
Add a title to your Resume
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
– Waiter Position
– Manager Position
– Farm Hand.
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 have never had one before, highlight your past customer relationships as a waitress or in admin.
Pay attention to the format and formatting of the CV
As for the layout and the visual aspect of your CV, a word of advice: go for the simplest option. Avoid overly extravagant colours and layouts. The content is much more important than the format. Australians prefer a clean and clear CV.
There are many free tools online to help you create your Australian resume. Many platforms offer simple and beautiful CV templates. You can fill them out free online then download them. CVDesignR and Canva are good options.
Remember that substance is much more important than form, and Australians prefer a sober and effective CV.
Print your resume
Make sure to print quite a few resumes (20-30) to hand in to places in person. You will probably want to modify your CV as time goes on, so it does not make sense to print many more. In most cities, you will find a store called Office Works. They offer attractive rates for printing (from $0.08 per copy). Otherwise, you have the option to go to your local library. The problem with this is that sometimes it is necessary to buy a card to recharge with a minimum amount in dollars, so you end up paying more.
Do not print too many copies at once. You may not distribute them all, or you may want or need to make some changes to it over time to bring it up to date.
If you want to print a few copies, between 1 and 3, ask to have your prints done at your youth hostel, at a travel agency for backpackers or at a shop that does photo development. It will cost you less.
Hand out your resume personally
Try to walk around and hand out your CV directly to employers if you are searching for work in restaurants, bars, shops etc. Do not hesitate to ask to speak to the manager – this will allow you to meet your potential future employer and make more of an impression. First impressions are important. Wear clean and professional clothes. Avoid applying in a restaurant dressed in shorts, flip-flops etc. Sometimes handing your CV to a manager can turn into a job interview on the spot, so be prepared.