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.

CV or résumé?

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

What not to include

Your age, your marital status, the number of children you have, and your religion can all be left off your CV. If you have a disability, you don't have to disclose this either. Australia's discrimination laws make it illegal for an employer to refuse to offer you employment based on your disability. Find out more at the Australian Human Rights Commission.

What about LinkedIn?

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

And a cover letter?

Depending on the job in question, a cover letter 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 advertisement explicitly 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

VERONIKA ZBOŘILOVÁ

Street address | Phone number | Email address

OBJECTIVE

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?

SKILLS & ABILITIES

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.

EXPERIENCE

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.

EDUCATION

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.

AVAILABILITY

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.

REFEREES

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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