Resume Writing

It’s a new year and you need a new job, right? Chances are you’ve just moved to Canberra, started university for the first time, or maybe those three cultured months flitting away euros in Berlin has left you in need of some serious monetary replenishment. Whatever the circumstances, it’s time to think about getting that first casual job, that new job, or stepping up to a better one altogether.

Before you do anything, however, let’s check that resume. You see, there are a couple of issues here: swap the order around, drop the photo. Remember, the document summarising your professional and educational achievements shouldn’t include that best-and-fairest award from early high school or your uncle as a referee.
A resume is your self-marketing tool – it needs to convince the employer that you can do the job, want the job, and will fit into the organisation’s culture.

Remember to stick to the common elements of a resume. For a casual job resume, ensure that you include:

· your name and contact details
· qualifications
· skill summary
· work experience
· extracurricular activities
· relevant interests
· referees

Use professional or academic referees, the latter may be from high school if it’s early in the year, but you can always speak with a lecturer or tutor once they get to know you. Want to learn more about resumes? Come check out some of our examples in the Careers Centre or through our resources on CareerHub.

Even for casual work you should always try to align the contents of the resume with what you think an employer will be looking for. Think about the order of your resume, is your previous experience more relevant than your academic qualifications, or have you done something in an extracurricular capacity that could draw the eye of a future employer?

Chances are you won’t be the only individual applying for this position so you want your resume to stand out – the easiest route is research. Go online, pop in, or ask questions about the organisation before you apply. Tailor your resume such that you align ‘what you bring’ with ‘what an employer is looking for’. That means that each application you send to an employer should look at least slightly different. You can start with a stock resume, then tailor it through your research. Of course, then, you have to find that job you want to apply for anyway!

Wait. What are you applying for? While your resume comes first, it doesn’t go without the job search. Traditionally, you could pick up a newspaper – The Canberra Times Saturday edition is still packed with jobs – but more likely you’ll jump onto Seek or MyCareer. Better yet jump onto ANU’s very own CareerHub website – the jobs on our portal are specifically targeted at ANU students. Don’t, however, underestimate the depth of the hidden jobs market: identify likely employers, network with employers and peers, and politely submit speculative job applications to opportunities most appealing to you.

Next step: rinse and repeat!