Australian Resume and Cover Letter Guide

| January 5, 2018

 

What is a resume?. 2

What to include in a resume. 2

Length of a resume. 2

Format and style. 3

What to exclude in your resume. 3

Your resume must include. 3

7 signs your resume is just right 4

  1. You’ve sold your achievements. 5
  2. The responsibilities relate to the job ad. 5
  3. The language is active, not passive. 5
  4. You use your skills to give back to society. 5
  5. You are easy to contact. 5
  6. Education is included. 6
  7. References: 6

Resume – Best Practices. 7

What employers check about your resume. 8

How to address key selection criteria. 10

  1. Understand the process. 10
  2. Study the key criteria. 10
  3. Do your preparation. 10
  4. Match criteria. 10
  5. Keep the layout simple. 10
  6. Give STAR responses. 10
  7. Substantiate your claims. 11
  8. Choose your words carefully. 11
  9. Get someone to proofread your responses. 11

Transferable skills checklist 11

Organisational skills. 11

Communication skills. 12

People skills. 12

Leadership. 13

How to summarise your experience in your resume. 13

2 years’ experience. 13

5 years’ experience. 14

10 to 15 years’ experience. 14

20 to 30 plus years’ experience. 14

What is a cover letter?. 14

What to include in your cover letter 15

What to exclude in your cover letter 15

How long should a cover letter be?. 15

Format and style of a cover letter 15

How to tailor your cover letter to the job. 17

  1. Remember every cover letter is important. 17

 

 


 

What is a resume?

A resume or CV is a document that summarises your work experience, education, skills and achievements for a prospective employer. It is usually required as part of a job application, and is considered essential information in order for an employer to assess whether an applicant would be a suitable candidate for a first round interview.

Resume Content

 

  • Personal Details. The essential personal details to include are your full name and contact information – this is usually both your phone number and email address.
  • Career Objective or Summary. If you’re a recent school or university leaver without much professional experience, begin your resume or CV with a career objective in a short sentence or two. If you’ve gained experience in the workforce, a career objective is less necessary, however you may want to replace it with a career summary, describing your professional profile in a short sentence or two. Place either your education or work experience list next, depending on which you’ve achieved more recently.
  • List your most recent educational experiences first. Include your qualifications, institutions you studied at, graduation dates and other specialisations. Mention any special awards and other educational achievements.
  • Work Experience. List your most recent jobs including the title of your position, name and location of organisation, and dates of employment. In point form under each job, give a brief overview of your role, responsibilities and achievements, weaving in the skills required. Internships and volunteer work can also be mentioned here.
  • Additional Information. You may like to create headings such as ‘Skills’, ‘Strengths’ or ‘Interests’ and list information that would be relevant to the job you’re applying for. Information that illustrates your proficiency in languages, computer programs or medical knowledge should be included here.
  • It’s always a good idea to include two to three references at the bottom of your resume. A referee can be a former manager or tutor at university – just make sure you ask their permission before listing their name, position, company and contact details. Otherwise, you may wish to write “References available on request”.

Length of a resume

  • Keep your resume short and concise to make a good impression in a quick glance. Consider one to two pages if you have under 10 years of professional experience. Senior executives or academics may like to have resumes that are three pages or more.

Format and style

  • The design and layout of your resume or CV should be neat and easy to read. Use only one or two easy to read fonts and include headers, bullet points and paragraphs. Make sure you write your resume consistently in first person, and have perfect spelling and grammar.

What to exclude in your resume

  • Personal details such your religion, age or marital status
  • Every job you’ve ever had, especially when it isn’t relevant to the job you’re currently applying for
  • Salary expectation or previous salaries you’ve received.

Australian Resume – Good and Bad Practises

Your resume must include

If luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, it’s time to make it happen by updating your resume.

Once your resume has covered the basics, it’s crucial to include the elements that will make you look like the best candidate for any role: showing your eye for detail is locked onto industry trends.

  • Make it match the job. When employers read your resume, they’re looking to see how you meet the advertised job description. If you use the words from the job ad and description in your resume, you’re showing that you have the exact skills they’re looking for.

 

This is because some employers will run resumes through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), which is on the look out for specific keywords (generally also included in the job ad). If they’ve mentioned a skill or requirement, use those terms to describe your own professional experience.

 

If that feels cumbersome to do throughout the entire resume, have a skills summary at the top of your resume and list the shared skills and requirements up top – that way it’s easy for both the reader and the ATS.

 

  • Make yourself known. It’s a simple thing many people miss: include your contact details in your resume. Include them in the header or footer of your resume to make sure they appear on every page. Any second spent looking for your email or phone number might just consign you to the reject pile.

 

Another way to make yourself known is slightly contentious – should you include links to your social media? The short answer is only if you’ve spent time building a personal brand on social media discussing topics relating to your job, and to show you’re part of the industry.

 

While it may not be an obvious choice to include your social media accounts, Charles Young, Director of recruitment specialists Citak, says employers will search potential employee social media accounts even if you don’t include them, so, “if you get shortlisted, you may as well anyway.”

 

“Even developers need to show their GitHub account,” explains Charles. “People should show they are passionate about the job they’re applying for as an extension of the social media blueprint”.

 

Before you link, remember to review all your social media channels and make sure you have the appropriate security measures on all your posts and accounts.

  • Make it look good. A resume that’s easy to look at is one that’s easy to read and hard to dismiss, so making sure your resume looks good can only help your job search.

 

It’s easiest to read clear, legible black font (10 to 12 point size, preferably with a serif font) on a white background for high contrast, especially when a harried employer is reading their 40th resume.

 

The big trend for 2016 is infographic resumes, especially for sales/marketing and tech jobs. Plot your career milestones, brands, work results and skills. It’s the perfect way to stand out from the pack and show a little more of your personality. Have a look online for inspiration and take the lead.

 

  • Make it read well. It doesn’t matter how many colours or graphics you use if your resume doesn’t read well. Potential employers will look at your resume on a screen, which will alter their reading behaviour and if they’re pressed for time, make it easy for them by keeping it simple. List what you did, what you achieved and move on to the next job. Get rid of information that won’t hire you (hello, old software programs) and use bullet points and an active voice so employers can scan instead of dig for information in your resume.

 

7 key sections your resume should include

A winning resume is just that. It can win you a job.

With a bit of care and know-how, you can impress every time. The seven signs that you’ve got it just right are:

 

  1. You’ve sold your achievements. Don’t beat around the bush. If you have facts and figures to show your achievements or written feedback, include it in your resume. But be brief and to the point.
    1. “You must highlight key responsibilities and unique selling points to differentiate yourself in your resume, says Pete Noblet, senior regional director at Hays. “Crucially though, make sure you include not just your responsibilities, but your success at achieving them.”

 

  1. The responsibilities relate to the job ad. One size fits all and just right resumes are polar opposites. Your resume should be tailored to each job. Look at the key criteria and make sure you drop those words into your resume.
    1. “The most valuable commodity a jobseeker can have is relevant experience,” says Noblet. “Using key words from the job ad is one way to highlight how your skills and experience match those required in the role.”

 

  1. The language is active, not passive. “I did” rather than “I was part of”. “Managed” rather than “was asked/recruited to manage”. This helps you get noticed.
    1. Active language such as “I increased sales” or “I overhauled the department”, grabs recruiters’ attention. If you want a just right resume or CV then take a deep breath and write actively.

 

  1. You use your skills to give back to society. Whether you’ve done one-off or on-going volunteer work list it on your resume – especially if it uses any of the skills in the key criteria. Explain in a few words what you have done and what you learned from it.
    1. “This does not need to be a very big section on your resume,” says Noblet. “One or two bullet points about volunteer experience speaks to your character.”

 

  1. You are easy to contact. Recruiters and employers are time poor. If you’re easy to contact you’ve got a greater chance of getting that job.
    1. “It is very important to include such basic information as your telephone number, email address and, where applicable, Twitter handle. But make sure you keep these up to date,” says Noblet.

 

  1. Education is included. If you have tertiary qualifications, then list them prominently. Otherwise include your highest school qualifications. People who went to exclusive schools sometimes like to mention this as well, but don’t go overboard.
    1. “You don’t need to go into a lot of detail here,” says Noblet. “Include the basics such as the educational institution you studied through, the course completed, and the year completed.”
    2. It has been reviewed, reviewed, and re-reviewed. Most normal, rounded, human beings aren’t Pulitzer Prize winning writers. Ask friends, family, and peers to review your resume or CV and give honest feedback.
    3. When you think you’re finished take a break and read your resume one more time. It’s much easier to see typos, mistakes and clunky sentences with fresh eyes. If you’re in doubt about anything you’ve written, rewrite it.

 

  1. References: The final tip is that the just right resume has details of two referees, such as former employers. Online recommendations don’t replace the role referees play.

 

Resume Writing – Best Practices

Resume writing is a skill that often needs more mastering than the writer thinks! Whether you’ve got years of experience under your belt or are newly joining the workforce, your chance of landing an interview is much more likely if you have a killer resume to show off your education, skills and experience.

After all, a resume is often the very first point of contact between you and your next potential employer. It’s the first impression you get to make, and with a well-written professional resume, it could be one of many more to come.

If you don’t follow any other tips for writing a resume, follow these…

  • Take out the objective. Seeing that you’re already applying for the job, it should be obvious you want it. You can cover your desire for the role in your cover letter, or if you’re changing industries, it may be useful to include a brief introductory summary in the resume.
  • Brief is best. While you may have aced making milkshakes at the cafe you worked for in high school, it’s time to get rid of that clutter if it’s not related to the role you want to pursue now. Give more space to detail about your current or recent jobs and less about the past. If it doesn’t fit on one to two pages – it’s not worth writing about! Make sure you include specific skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying for, even if that means adjusting your resume for each new application.
  • Take a pass on unnecessary info. That includes your age, marital status, religion or nationality. This might have been the standard in the past, but all of this information is now illegal for your employer to ask you, and there’s no need to include it. For security reasons we suggest that you don’t include your date of birth, and definitely not your bank account details. As for an address, a suburb and postcode will suffice.
  • Make it clear and straightforward. Use simple text in one modern, standard font that is easy to read, and that everyone can understand. As everything in your resume is about your experiences, avoid writing in first or third person. For example, instead of writing “I managed a team of three”, or “Sarah managed a team of three” rather write “responsible for managing a team of 3” in concise bullet points below headlines where necessary.

Avoid using cluttered or complicated layouts with headers, footers, tables or other items that may not look right when viewed on different computers with varying software versions. Make sure you also run a spell check to pick up any errors – a big mistake that is easy to avoid!

 

  • Be professional and discreet. You may still be using the same email address that you set up when Hotmail came about in the 90’s, but if it’s anything that looks unprofessional, it might be worth your while setting up a new one for the purpose of your job applications. Avoid using your current work email address, or phone number for that matter, unless you want to get yourself into trouble!

 

  • Keep to the employer’s submission requirements. Above all, you won’t get noticed if you don’t follow all of the specific requirements that have been instructed in the job description. Often both resumes and cover letters are requested in a certain file format (doc, pdf, docx, rtt). Sometimes advertisements request applications be sent or addressed in a particular way. Adhere to these, and you’ll be one step ahead of any other applicants who didn’t bother to tune into this detail!

 

What employers check about your resume

Recruiters and hiring managers can receive hundreds of resumes when advertising an available position – and among them are usually some doozies of examples of what not to send when trying to put your best foot forward.

Here are five of the top things recruiters wish they could say to applicants whose resumes could really use some polishing.

  • The gaps in your work history make me question what you’re hiding. You may have taken time off work to travel or have a family, but leaving large periods of time unaccounted for can leave recruiters and employers wondering what you were up to.

 

Employers know you could have been out of work for a number of reasons through no fault of your own – such as a company downsizing or restructuring. However hiring managers still like you to be fully transparent about how you’ve been keeping busy and, more importantly, what you have done to remain professionally active and engaged.

 

“In addition to listing previous positions in your work history, include non-work-related activities in which you gained professional skills,” advises Brushfield. “Did you freelance, volunteer or take classes? If so, list them along with your previous positions. Include as much relevant information as you can, such as the dates, location and a short description of the work involved.”

 

“Anticipate questions your potential employer will have about an employment gap. Be proactive and explain them in your cover letter in a clear and concise manner. Try not to sound defensive or apologetic – just address your gap in employment and mention what you did to remain active during the time.”

  • Your profile photo sent the wrong message. Unless a job ad specifically requests the inclusion of a recent photograph, don’t add one to your resume. A profile photo does nothing to demonstrate your skills and proficiencies – and a photo that’s too casual or unprofessional can see your application trashed without a second look.

 

  • Your layout is unprofessional. While you want to stand out from a sea of other applicants, a graphic border or rainbow of colours are not going to get you noticed for the right reasons. Stick with plain black and white, or if you’re applying for a role in a creative industry, use one feature colour sparingly. Choose your fonts wisely and ensure they are clear and easy to read.

Your resume is your first impression – and an unprofessional one could see you discounted from the candidate pool.

 

“Resumes with an over-the-top layout may seem creative, however, depending on the job you are applying for, hiring managers might see this as unprofessional. Properly structured resumes that outline a clear career path will grab the hiring manager’s attention. Remember, employers reviewing your resume don’t spend hours reading it, so it’s best to make it as clear and succinct as possible.”

 

“One big unprofessional giveaway is an amateur email address, while hotfuzz86@hotmail.com might have sounded good in university, it does distract and comes across as unprofessional in the business world. Consider a more generic email address such as firstname.lastname@gmail.com.”

 

  • Your resume is Too. Damn. Long. If there are 100 other people vying for the job you’ve applied for, submitting a concise, two-page resume – rather than a long-winded four-page resume – is going to help you attract the attention of time-poor employers. Be brief and trim the proverbial fat. Load your most recent work experience with the most information, and scale back the rest to the bare bones of dates, roles, positions and one or two key tasks and achievements.

 

  • Your use of buzzwords made me cringe. If your resume is full of industry jargon and buzzwords that really don’t mean all that much, you’re selling yourself short. You never know who may end up reading over your resume. It could be a PA assigned the task of creating a shortlist or a recruiter unfamiliar with your current industry – and if they can’t decipher the information to get a feel for your skills and what you’ve actually achieved, you’re unlikely to make the cut. Brevity and using plain language is key.

 

 

  • Customise for each application. Final tip is customise each resume and cover letter to its specific audience, and present only relevant, clear and consistent information. “If you are dealing with a professional, traditional or conservative company, tailor your resume to this. If you are about to interview with an innovative start-up, design and present yourself in a way they will relate to and that will be relevant to them.”

 

How to address key selection criteria

How badly do you want that job? If it’s the job for you stop and think hard about the key selection criteria.

The key criteria for a job are usually spelled out in a list of qualities, knowledge and skills needed for the job. Follow our 9 golden rules to ace that key selection criteria:

 

  1. Understand the process. Employers use key criteria to compare applicants on the same measures.
  2. Study the key criteria. Take your time and think about what the employer is really looking for. Break it down into bullet points to answer, says Chris Grant, director of human resources and legal recruitment at Michael Page International.
  3. Do your preparation. The more preparation you do, the better your answers will be, says Grant. Look up the organisation’s annual report if it’s public. Google the company and read news reports about it. Use your network to find out more about the culture. This will help you stand out from the other candidates.
  4. Match criteria. Print out your CV and compare it with the key criteria, says Grant. Can you see matches? It’s perfectly acceptable to give examples from extracurricular activities such as sports or charity work. Consider writing a bespoke CV for the job that highlights the key criteria.
  5. Keep the layout simple. Bullet points and short sentences are best, says Grant. Time poor recruiters are looking for the key points in a few words. Less is more when it comes to job applications.
  6. Give STAR responses. Applicants with relevant and credible examples of the key criteria are more likely to make it to the top of the pile. Grant recommends the “STAR” method for these examples. Explain the “Situation” where the relevant example came from, such as customer service, follow that with the “Task”, which is your role in the example, outline what “Action” you took, and spell out the “Result”.
  7. Substantiate your claims. Rather than say: “I worked in a team”, be specific about what your role was in the team, says Grant.
  8. Choose your words carefully. A recruiter is likely to spend 30 seconds or less scanning your application. If the right words jump out, your application will be worthy of further attention. Where possible use the same words and the language that is used in the key criteria.
  9. Get someone to proofread your responses. A fresh set of eyes is best to ensure that you have answered the questions and used correct spelling and grammar. Ask if that person would employ you based on your replies to the key criteria.

So take your time preparing your answers to the key criteria. All of that homework will pay off when you go for the interview. You’ll be able to kill those interview questions.

 

Transferable skills checklist

We all have transferrable skills and they are incredibly valuable to employers. By identifying and harnessing your transferrable skills they can help you stand out in your job search.

So, what are they? Transferable skills are a core set of skills and abilities that transcend any particular organisation or role. If you’ve got great interpersonal skills, for example, you will prosper whether you’re an intern or a senior executive, a carpenter or a customer service representative.

Transferable skills can be just as valuable as experience and with a bit of brainstorming there’s probably quite a few that you could be highlighting in your resumes, cover letters and online profiles.

To help you identify some of your key selling points, we have developed this list of transferable skills for you to refer to. Read it here or download the checklist to work through in your own time.

 Organisational skills

  • Time management: Managing your own time to get the job done is a timeless skill valued particularly within fast-paced organisations. Make sure you highlight examples of your time management skills in your resume or cover letter.
  • Research and analytics: You can apply analytical skills in whatever field you’re in. If you can research, analyse, report on your findings and make recommendations, you’ll go a long way to becoming invaluable in your current role and hot property on the job market.
  • Administration and clerical: Are you the person who gets all the forms filled in on time, files reports, and is a clerical genius? Attention to detail on deadlines as well as being able to administer are hugely important transferrable skills.
  • Financial management: Can you develop and manage a budget, keep financial records, fundraise, or project manage? If so, you have sought-after abilities that transcend multiple industries including marketing and communications as well as sales and construction.
  • Sales and marketing skills: Being able to market and sell a product or service is invaluable across all sectors and industries. If you’re someone with a proven ability to influence behavior, you should be calling it out during your search for a role.
  • Creative thinking: Do you have a track record of generating new ideas at your organisation or in your volunteer roles? List them.
  • Planning skills: Can you plan projects and events, or change manage? These skills transcend all organisations.

Communication skills

  • Listening: If ever there was a skill useful in almost every organisation and role it’s listening. That’s not just hearing what someone’s saying to you, but stopping and thinking about what they say before replying. Think about how you can weave this into your resume or cover letter using examples.
  • Writing: All industries need people who can write reports, blogs, sales materials articles and much more. Don’t confuse this with the creative writing you might have done at school. Business writing is much more to the point. If you lack confidence with this, you might want to think about taking a course
  • Face-to-face: Can you facilitate meetings, interview, persuade, negotiate, speak in public and/or express ideas? And can you counsel, coach or mentor? If so, plenty of workplaces need you.

People skills

  • Interpersonal skills. Some people just can’t work with anyone else. At the other end of the scale there are people that everyone wants to work with because of their interpersonal skills – the ability to communicate or interact with other people. Here’s some examples of interpersonal skills. Pick out two or three of these skills that relate to you and promote them in your resume and cover letter using examples:
    • Compassion
    • Co-operation
    • Enthusiasm
    • Empathy
    • Flexibility
    • Integrity
    • Loyalty
    • Motivation
    • Negotiation
    • Optimism
    • Persistence
    • Professionalism
    • Resourcefulness
    • Responsibility
    • Teamwork

Leadership

  • Prioritisation and delegation: Can you step back from the coalface and prioritise what needs to be done first? Can you say “no”? Can you determine when a job simply isn’t necessary and wastes time? These are all key elements of leadership.
  • Critical thinking and problem solving: Organisations have problems. Someone who can step above those problems, analyse and solve them is invaluable to any organisation. Highlight this sought-after skill with examples.

While this may not be an exhaustive list of all transferable skills, hopefully you have been able to identify some new selling points that you can use to help you stand out in your job search. When building your transferable skills into your resumes, cover letters and online profiles, a great technique is to add them under a “relatable skills” heading, or weave them into the narrative. Most importantly be sure to always accompany any transferable skills with relevant examples.

 

How to summarise your experience in your resume

Whether you’re new to the workforce or have decades of experience under your belt, writing your resume to reflect your level of experience is a skill that needs frequent consideration.

While there are many advisable resume-writing tips that will help you get ahead (listing your most recent experience first is just one of them), there is no one-size-fits-all approach for your entire career.

Use this guide to learn what to include or exclude in your resume depending on your years’ of experience.

2 years’ experience. With two years in the workforce, it’s likely you’re considered a junior in most fields of work. If you’ve only had one or two jobs in that time, “consider including high school achievements, society or club participation, or certificate training to demonstrate you are an enthusiastic and driven member of the community,” says Joanne Besser, Director of recruitment consultancy Career Threads. Your resume should focus on your achievements such as helping to improve the rostering system at the café you worked at, or the participation rate at an event you organised at TAFE or university.

5 years’ experience. Five years of experience is a significant period of time to master a set of skills, providing you’ve either remained in the same field of work during that time or developed a robust set of transferable skills. Similar to junior professionals, you may only have worked in a couple of roles, so you could bulk up your resume by including volunteer experience to help round out your general work experience and to demonstrate you have gained and developed the skills required for the job you’re applying for.

10 to 15 years’ experience. When you’ve had ten to 15 years of work experience, it’s likely you feel confident in your skillset and abilities, and have a lot to show for your service to your industry. This is when summarising multiple roles, companies and responsibilities into a concise resume can become a challenge. Aim to keep your resume to two pages, and leave out any early roles in your career that may have no relevance to the job you’re hoping to land now. You may decide to only summarise your last three roles and simply list previous employers, highlighting key achievements to demonstrate the development of your knowledge and skillset.

20 to 30 plus years’ experience. According to Besser, senior professionals with 30 or more years of experience in Australia and New Zealand are more likely to have 4-page-long resumes in comparison to their American counterparts who are encouraged to condense their experience into two pages. But Besser says, “four pages for senior professionals is a reasonable amount to really communicate their wealth of knowledge.” She advises however to only highlight key achievements under each role to make it easier for recruiters and employers to digest. You may also want to highlight programs or groups you have been involved in such as mentoring to a junior colleague or advice to a charity board. These types of experience help demonstrate application of your skillset within the wider community.

Regardless of which stage of your career you’re in, it’s important to remember that it’s not how long you’ve been in the workforce but what skills you can bring to the role. Make this clear in your resume, and you’ll be better positioned to secure your next great role.

 

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is usually the first point of contact a candidate has with a prospective employer for a job application. It is usually sent accompanying a resume or CV as a way of introduction. A well-written cover letter should summarise and condense the most recent and relevant points in your resume and how your skills and experience relate to the role you are applying for. It should also illustrate your written communication skills.

What to include in your cover letter

  • Personal details. Begin with your personal details, including your full name, phone number and email address.
  • Opening your cover letter. Open your cover letter with a brief introduction of yourself and your purpose for writing. If responding to a job advertisement, include any references such as the position title or job number, or state how you found the job ad. If you’re “cold contacting” an organisation of interest, mention the type of job you’d be hoping to land there.
  • Highlight your skills, experience and qualifications. If they are aligned with the role, mention your career goals. Always tailor your cover letter to only include the attributes that would be beneficial to the role you’re applying for. Use real life examples to discuss a couple of your most recent and relevant roles and achievements, and how these experiences would offer value to the role you’re applying for. Demonstrate that you have understood the job description and researched the company in this section.
  • Additional selling points: Discuss any other selling points such as volunteer work, positive personality traits or strengths that would be relevant to the role. These may include your interpersonal skills, ability to take initiative or technological savvy.
  • Closing your cover letter: Conclude the cover letter by referring to your resume or any other attachment. Express your desire for an interview, or for cold contact cover letters, mention when you plan on making a follow up call. Close the letter with a positive note of appreciation for the employer’s time.

What to exclude in your cover letter

 

  • Salary expectations or previous salaries earned. This information should be included in your SEEK profile
  • Generic content that isn’t relevant to the particular role
  • Any cliché phrases that will make your cover letter blend in with others

 

How long should a cover letter be?

  • A cover letter should be no more than one page. In this case, less is best.

 

Format and style of a cover letter

  • Match the font and type size to your resume’s style
  • Write in an enthusiastic and polite tone of voice, and inject your personality into it
  • Ensure all your spelling and grammar is 100% correct
  • Include paragraphs and spacing to enable optimal legibility

Australian Cover Letter : Good and Bad Practises

 

How to tailor your cover letter to the job

Cover letters are your first chance to get noticed. Make sure yours is tailored to the exact job on offer.

Plenty of recruiters and employers still do read cover letters, says Andrew Morris, director at Robert Half. But tailor it for the 21st century so that your cover letter gets noticed.

 

The purpose of a cover letter is to get a recruiter or employer to look at your resume. But keep it simple. Less is more, especially in the era of email applications. Employers are looking for key words at this stage to see if it’s worth reading your resume. You might even want to bold the important words.

 

  1. Remember every cover letter is important. It’s too easy in the world we live to apply for dozens of jobs through SEEK, says Noblet. Make sure, however, that every single cover letter is individualised for the job in question. If your cover letter nails it you’re going to stand out to an employer. The process of tailoring your cover letter also makes you think about the job and if it is really the right role for you.

 

  1. Concentrate on two or three key words from the job advertisement. Make sure you match your capabilities against each word in a separate bullet point. Be succinct and give relevant examples, says Noblet. If, for example, the advertisement mentions SEO skills you could highlight this with a bullet point. Weave a variety of key SEO skills into that point such as your technical optimisation skills, social media marketing skills, link building expertise, your understanding of information architecture, and content marketing skills. But keep it brief. You just want to grab the reader’s attention for now.

 

  1. Explain why you’re interested in the job. Explain in a sentence why you want this particular job. “Pique the reader’s interest” says Noblet. Explain very specifically what it is that makes this the job for you. It may, for example, be that it will use your fabulous problem solving skills. Or it allows you to use both your creative and research skills. Tie it back to how your skills will benefit the organisation.

 

  1. Summarise with your unique selling point (USP). What’s different about you? asks Noblet. Explain why you’re the best fit for this particular role and how your USP fits. Make sure you understand what the organisation wants. If your standard USP concentrates on handling big projects single-handedly, but the job involves brainstorming with a team you might want to change the wording slightly. Or if the organisation is looking for innovators, tailor your USP in the cover letter to your innovation credentials. Every part of your cover letter needs to be tailored to the job advert.

 

Source: www.seek.com.au sources has been used for this guide

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