What is a resume?

A resume forms one of the most important parts of any job application process and is usually a one to four page document (depending on your experience). It outlines a job applicant’s work history, background, education and skills with the goal of gaining an interview.

A resume should be considered as a marketing tool that promotes you, it should convince potential employers that you are an employee they want.

A resume should highlight your employability by establishing:

  • That you meet the requirements of the job and organisation
  • Your education and qualifications
  • Your experience and skills

What goes on a resume?

A typical resume includes information focusing on some or all of the following areas:

  • Contact information
  • Work experience (can include volunteer work)
  • Education
  • Accomplishments/Awards
  • Credentials
  • Skills and attributes
  • Professional memberships
  • Referees
  • Extra information like objective, career highlights and personal interests can be included, but tend to be nonessential these days or dependent on the role

Things to remember when writing your resume:

  • Describe your skills, abilities, and attributes and what you can do for the employer
  • Highlight achievements for each of your previous positions
  • Keep language simple and concise
  • Avoid overloading your resume with information. A cluttered resume is hard to read and can overwhelm the reader. Leave some information out to talk about when you get an interview
  • Only use an email address that looks professional, as this is a marketing document promoting you
  • Keep the resume to 4 pages maximum – but shorter is better
  • You should modify your resume for each job position you apply for, ensuring you emphasise the skills or attributes the job requires.
  • If you have been out of the work force for a period of time due to parenting, caring for others, illness, injury or other, be as truthful as possible and outline what you were doing during that period of time. If you’re unsure of what to include or exclude, seek advice from STEPS Employment Solutions staff


Your Name
Address| Telephone|Email

Opening Statement

Give a brief summary of yourself and of how you are suited for the job you’re applying for. Explain how you can meet the needs of the employer by outlining your relevant skills, attributes and experience. Your statement should be 3 – 4 sentences long.

Key Skills

  • List key skills that you have and that are relevant to the job
  • Include relevant licenses, technical or software skills
  • List between 4 -7 skills


Job title, employer, location
Start date – End date
Briefly summarise your role, duties and key achievements

Outline your employment history from the most recent work you have done to the earliest. Avoid writing out your entire job history by only including work from the last 5 to 10 years. You can also include any volunteer work you have completed.


School name, location, degree (i.e. Bachelor of Science, Senior Certificate)
Date completed

Outline your studies including coursework, training and qualifications. Begin with your highest qualification first. Generally your academic results are not required, only include them if they demonstrate your suitability for the job.


Show potential employers the results you’re able to get by describing your previous achievements and awards you have received. Include any ideas you had or goals you reached that benefited the organisation. List no more than three achievements.

Professional Membership (optional)

Include this information only if it is relevant to your career and indicate how active you are within the organisation.

Interests (optional)

Including this information can be of value if it is relevant to the job, or demonstrates particular skills or attitudes that you can bring to the position or be of future use.


Full name, job title, name of organisation

List 2 or 3 people who can speak on your behalf and give you a positive recommendation. Professional references can be previous employers, supervisors, co-workers or clients.

If you are unable to use professional references you can list personal references, such as volunteer supervisors, coaches, previous teachers, neighbours or friends. Always ask your references to recommend you before you list them on your resume.

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