Resume 101

It's important to get your resume right - so what should you be including?

26 Apr 2017

A resume or CV is a brief summary (try not to go over two pages where possible) that contains details about yourself, your educations and qualifications, your experience and other relevant information.

More often than not it is one of the most important parts of any job application and selection process so it is important to get it right. It basically introduces you to your potential employer, and is further supported by things like your cover letter, responses to selection criteria and (fingers crossed) the interview itself.

So what information do you need to include?

Personal and Contact Details

Make sure that your potential employer can get in contact with you (and please, PLEASE double check that your phone numbers and email are correct or you may never hear from them).

You should include your:

  • full name
  • address or location
  • phone number/s (mobile is a must, landlines are a bonus – and don’t include your current work phone unless the application is for a position within your current organisation)
  • email address (again not your current work one but it must be professional)
  • Extras to add if relevant/applicable to the position and company could include:
  • a link to your LinkedIn profile (especially if you know the organisation is particularly digitally minded – have a snoop around their website and look for a page about their executive or board members, chances are if they link to their LinkedIn profiles it is a good idea to include your own (after first making sure it is up-to-date))
  • links to your online or digital portfolios (looking at all you creatives and designers right now)

For standard resumes and applications you are under no obligation to provide your:

  • gender
  • religion
  • race
  • height or weight
  • martial status and/or dependents
  • health details
  • your date or place of birth or age
  • a photo (unless requested)

Education and Qualifications

List all of your education and qualifications from the most recent to the oldest. Include university, VET and/or school courses, and include any additional training courses completed or relevant qualifications. Don’t forget to highlights subjects, units or awards completed/received during these studies that are relevant to the particular job you’re applying for.

Work Experience

List all of your work experience (paid and volunteer as relevant) from the most recent to the oldest. Include the employer or business name, how long you were there, your position there, the key duties/responsibilities you undertook and/or key results/outcomes, projects and any special achievements, and try not to leave long unexplained times gaps in your work history.

A common question is whether you should list your work experience or education and qualifications first. If you Google it, you’ll find millions of results listing the pros and cons for both ways so make sure you take some time to consider it. A hot tip is to consider which section you have more strengths in. If you’re just starting out you may have a stronger education section (especially if you’ve just finished a course) but if you’ve been in the industry awhile or have previous experience it may be the opposite.

Additional Skills

This is the section where you include things like first aid qualifications, software and computer proficiency levels and additional languages. Don’t stress if you don’t have much or anything here, it’s not always essential.


A referee is a person who can comment accurately on your knowledge, skills and experience in relation to the selection criteria for the job you are applying for. Make sure you always ask their permission first before listing them as a referee and give them a heads up when you submit an application so they can be prepared for any calls or questions (hint: it’s not a bad idea to provide them with a copy of or link to the job description and criteria as well).

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