How to write a CV when studying and working in Australia

As an international student, you are entitled to work up to 40 hours per fortnight to support yourself. This means that you'll probably need to apply for jobs by sending in a CV or résumé.

CVor résumé?

In Australia, either is understood andacceptable, however résumé may be slightly more common. Confusingly, theaccents above the letters (é) are often omitted and, despite then being acompletely different word, still means the same thing. The context in which itis used will help you distinguish the two, but you can use CV to avoid anymisunderstandings.

Whatnot to include

Your age, your marital status, the numberof children you have, and your religion can all be left off your CV. If youhave a disability, you don't have to disclose this either. Australia'sdiscrimination laws make it illegal for an employer to refuse to offer youemployment based on your disability. Find out more at the AustralianHuman Rights Commission.

Whatabout LinkedIn?

In some areas, LinkedIn is the all-powerfulrecruiting machine, while many other industries and businesses don't goanywhere near it. If you already have an account, ensure that it is up-to-datewith your latest experience, but there's no need to start a new account formost roles. That time is better spend ensuring your CV is well-written.

Anda cover letter?

Depending on the job in question, a coverletter may or may not be required. Often, when applying via an online form,there is no requirement for a cover letter to be included. If the advertisementexplicitly states the need for one, remember three key things:

  1. Write a new letter for each role for which you apply
  2. Make it personal and relatable
  3. Keep it simple and readable

Key considerations

  • Tell the truth
  • Proofread (or have someone proofread for you)
  • Keep it clear and simple
  • Aim for two pages maximum

A breakdown of a standard CV or résumé


Street address | Phone number | Email address


Your objective is a brief summary of how your skills and knowledge will benefit the company that employs you. Basically, if you are a book, what would your back cover say?


What are the most important skills you possess that you are bringing to the particular job you're applying for? Remember, your CV or résumé should be updated for every application. Carefully read the job advertisement, or find a job description, and relate your skills and knowledge the key requirements listed.


This is where you detail the roles you've had in the past and your achievements in each. Don't be shy, but don't lie. Claiming to possess a larger skill set than you do, might lead to embarrassment in an interview, however you want to make sure you highlight your abilities and the value you can provide.List the company name, your position and the dates you held the role. If it was part-time or casual, then make this clear, but if you were a full-time employee then you don't need to specify.


You probably don't need to include your high school education if you left 10 years ago or have completed qualifications since. Include any certificates, professional development courses, or licences. This section is for showcasing the courses you've studied, but also to exhibit your desire to continue learning and building on your skills.


You will need to provide official documentation of your right to work and live in Australia, but it is a good thing to mention in your CV. You can also specify the days and hours you are available to work.


If you have them already lined up, then include your references. If you don't, leave this section out entirely. A reference check is one of the last steps in the recruitment process and you will often be asked to supply them separately.

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