Resume 101

It's important to get your resume right - so what should you be including?

19 Apr 2017

A resume or CV (curriculum vitae) is a brief, usually two page summary that contains details about yourself, your education and qualifications, your experience, and other relevant information.

It is one of the most important parts of any job application and selection process, so it’s important to get it right. It basically introduces you to your potential employer and is further supported by items like your cover letter, responses to selection criteria, and (fingers crossed) the interview itself.

So what information do you need to include?

Personal and Contact Details

Make sure that your potential employer can get in contact with you. Double check that all your contact information is up to date and correct, otherwise your potential employer won’t be able to get in touch with you.

You should include your:

  • full name
  • address or location
  • phone number/s (mobile is a must, landlines are a bonus – and don’t include your current work phone unless the application is for a position within your current organisation)
  • email address (again not your current work one but it must be professional – no one needs to know you had a My Little Pony obsession when you were 12).

Extras to add if relevant/applicable to the position and company could include:

  • a link to your LinkedIn profile – especially if you know the organisation is particularly digitally minded. Have a snoop around their website and look for a page about their executive or board members. Chances are if they link to their LinkedIn profiles it is a good idea to include your own (after first making sure it is up-to-date).
  • links to your online or digital portfolios (if you’re applying for a creative or design role).

For standard resumes and applications you are under no obligation to provide your:

  • gender
  • religion
  • race
  • height or weight
  • marital status and/or dependents
  • health details
  • your date or place of birth OR age
  • a photo (unless requested and reasonable e.g. for an actor/actress or model OR you’re really, really ridiculously good looking)

Education and Qualifications

List all of your education and qualifications from the most recent to the oldest. Include university, VET and or school courses, and include any additional training courses completed or relevant qualifications. Don’t forget to highlight subjects, projects or awards completed or received during these studies that are relevant to the particular job you’re applying for.

Work Experience

List all of your work experience (paid and volunteer as relevant) from the most recent to the oldest. Include the employer or business name, how long you were there, your position, the key duties and responsibilities you undertook, key results and outcomes, projects, and any special achievements. Try not to leave long unexplained times gaps in your work history.

If you’ve taken time away from the workforce to raise a family, make sure you outline it clearly in your resume. Parenthood gives you a huge range of skills, such as organisational skills, time management, negotiation techniques and managing a budget. These easily translate into the workplace.

A common question is whether you should list your work experience or education and qualifications first. If you Google it you’ll find millions of results listing the pros and cons for both ways, so make sure you take some time to consider it. A hot tip is to consider which section you have more strengths in. If you’re just starting out you may have a stronger education section (especially if you’ve just finished a course), but if you’ve been in the industry a while or have previous experience it may be the opposite.

Additional Skills

This is the section where you include things like first aid qualifications, software and computer proficiency levels, and additional languages. Don’t stress if you don’t have much or anything here, it’s not always essential.


A referee is a person who can comment accurately on your knowledge, skills and experience in relation to the selection criteria for the job you are applying for. Make sure you always ask their permission first before listing them as a referee and give them a heads up when you submit an application so they can be prepared for any calls or questions. Hint: it’s not a bad idea to provide them with a copy of or link to the job description and selection criteria as well so they can prepare.

If you’re ready to improve the education and qualification section on your resume, check our courses or contact us for more information.

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