Australia provides an attractive lifestyle, with competitive salaries and relatively low taxes. While living expenses are high, you get the benefit of generally excellent weather and a relaxed pace of life. If you’re considering applying for jobs in Australia, it can pay to understand what employers expect you to include in your CV. In this article, we provide a guide to writing your Australian CV, to give you the best chance of success in your job search down under.
Australian CV Format and Length
While in the US, ‘CV’ and ‘resume’ are different types of document, Australia mirrors the British tradition, where the two terms are interchangeable. There are no discernible differences between a CV and resume in Australia.
One of the key differences between a CV in Australia and the UK or US, is the length. Employers expect applicants to submit detailed CVs that can run to three, four or even five pages. Submitting a one-page CV for an Australian job is unlikely to yield success.
Australian employers typically like to see a detailed outline of your work history, education and skills. The traditional, or reverse-chronological CV format is probably the most suitable for Australian applications, as it allows you to focus primarily on including a detailed wok history.
Essential Components of an Australian CV
A typical reverse-chronological CV for Australian job applications might include the sections below. When writing your CV, make sure you follow this structure and remember to include plenty of detail.
In your header, add your name, address or location and your email address and phone number. You may want to include a link to a portfolio or LinkedIn profile if you have one. Avoid adding any personal demographic information such as your age or gender, as this can introduce unintended biases to the recruitment process. In Australia, it’s not necessary to include a photo unless the job advert asks for one.
It’s advisable to include a career profile or objective at the start of your CV, though this isn’t mandatory. Write two to three sentences introducing yourself and explaining your career goals and objectives. This will help employers to understand why you’re applying for the position, and your ambitions for the future.
In a traditional CV, arguably the most important section is your work experience. For an Australian resume, present your employment history in reverse-chronological order, starting your current or most recent role. For each role, add your job title, the company name, its location and the dates you worked there. For each job, add a bullet list of your duties and achievements, relating each point to the job description to show why you’re a suitable candidate.
After your work experience, list your educational achievements in reverse-chronological order. For professional roles or more senior positions, you probably only need to mention further education qualifications, such as degrees or diplomas. Add the name of the course, the award, the institution and your dates of study or graduation. You may also want to briefly mention any distinctions, awards or society memberships for each entry.
Next, list your skills to give the employer an idea of what specific abilities and qualities you can bring to the role. Stick to relevant skills only, consulting the job description to get an idea of what the employer is looking for. Include any hard skills specific to the role and any soft skills or personality traits that make you a strong employee.
One section Australian employers appreciate is volunteer work. Mention any volunteering that shows your key skills or has helped you develop relevant experience. Including volunteer work also gives you the chance to mention your passions and gives the hiring manager an impression of your priorities.
In Australia, some employers might expect you to provide references on your CV. Check the job advert to see if you need to include their contact details. Otherwise, a simple note saying ‘references are available upon request’ will suffice. Either way, when applying for jobs in Australia, it’s a good idea to have your referees organised before you send your application.
Customising Your CV for the Australian Job Market
A generic resume isn’t likely to pass muster in the competitive Australian jobs market. Taking steps to customise your CV can make all the difference when you’re part of a crowded field of applicants. Take a look at these tips for customising your CV to make an impression with Australian employers:
- Tailor your CV for every role: Spend some time tailoring your resume for the specific role you’re applying for. Use language that reflects the job description so employers can see you have the necessary skills and experience.
- Use a clear layout: The layout of your CV can have a significant impact on your chances of success. Pick a layout that’s clean and professional, with subtle use of formatting and colour to make your document stand out. Jobseeker’s CV templates can help you to create a great-looking, easy-to-read CV, while our cover letter templates can help do the same for your cover letter.
- Include a tagline: Adding a tagline in your CV header can set the tone for your CV. You may wish to keep this minimal and simply mention your job title or profession. You could also include an adjective to describe the type of employee you are. For example, ‘Software developer’ could become ‘Innovative software developer’.
- Make your CV ATS-friendly: ATS stands for ‘applicant tracking system’. Some companies and recruiters use this software to scan and sort CVs. Only CVs that make it through the scanning process are then reviewed by the hiring manager or recruitment team. Make sure your CV uses a clear structure, professional language and simple formatting to pass any initial ATS stage.
- Quantify your achievements: Australian CVs are longer documents than you might submit for roles in other countries. As such, you have ample space to explain your responsibilities for each job you’ve had. Make sure you quantify your achievements by offering figures or evidence that demonstrates your impact.
Australian CVs and resumes are similar to those in the UK, US and other western countries, though employers are happy to receive longer documents than in many other countries. Aim to make your CV between three and five pages long and include plenty of detail about your work history and achievements.
Showcasing Emotional Intelligence and Soft Skills
While it’s important to list your hard skills on your CV, Australian employers may also wish to see you demonstrate your soft skills. Hiring managers tend to look for signs of emotional intelligence, as these traits can help you settle into a role and get along better with your colleagues.
There are various ways you can show emotional intelligence on your CV. You could emphasise emotional intelligence in your employment section by highlighting achievements and career highlights in leadership, teamwork, collaboration and communication. Conversely, a work experience section that’s too boastful or exaggerates your achievements could reveal a lack of self-awareness and emotional intelligence. You could also display your emotional intelligence by listing your soft skills, or via your volunteer work section.
“One section Australian employers appreciate is volunteer work. Mention any volunteering that shows your key skills or has helped you develop relevant experience.”
Additional Do’s and Don’ts/Tips
Here are some additional tips to help you perfect your CV for the Australian jobs market:
- Keep your CV updated: Make sure your CV is current and there are no unexplained gaps in employment. Review your CV thoroughly before every application to make sure it’s current and appropriate for the position.
- Use professional language: Use simple, professional language and avoid using too much industry jargon. Above all, your CV should be easy to read and encourage the employer to follow up with you.
- Don’t skimp on detail: Australian CVs tend to be longer than their UK equivalents. Don’t be shy with details, and aim for a CV length of at least three pages.
- Check your spelling and grammar: Proofread your CV and run it through a spellchecker. Any errors in spelling and grammar can really undermine your credibility.
- Don’t include a photo: As a general rule, employers don’t expect you to include a photo in your CV. Check the job advert to see if the employer wants a photo, and if they don’t mention it, don’t include one.
- Write a strong cover letter: Your cover letter supports your CV and offers you the chance to express your enthusiasm for the role. It also gives you the chance to expand upon your experience and skills
- Understand the Australian jobs market: Take some time to research the local jobs market and particularly to understand how your industry works in Australia.
- Mention your visa status: If you’re applying for Australian jobs from abroad, employers may want to know your visa status. If you’ve secured a visa already, this could make a difference in the employer’s hiring decision. You could include your visa status in an ‘additional information’ section.
Australian CVs share many similarities with CVs from the UK, US or any other western country. There are, however, some key variations in the structure and content of the document. Paying attention to these can make the difference between employers considering you for a role or not. Don’t be afraid to submit a detailed CV running to multiple pages and try to set your references up in advance so you can include them if necessary.
A well-designed CV can catch the eye of employers and make a big difference in your chances of success. Jobseeker has a wealth of CV examples and cover letter examples to inspire you, as well as templates to help you build your ideal CV. Sign up today to create your winning CV for Australian job applications.