Are you looking for a job with visa sponsorship for Australia?
Yes? Then you need to pay special attention to how your resume is formatted.
Nadine Myers covers how to format your resume and write your cover letter for job sponsorship for Australia in her membership site SponsoredJobsinAustralia.com. She includes 23 industry specific resume templates with the Serious Job Seeker Membership.
In this post, I’m going to go over one of Nadine’s more general templates and the reason behind why you need to redesign your resume layout this specific way.
Did you know that the Australian Resume and the US Resume are different?
It’s true. Many Americans don’t realise this. Then they wonder why they are not getting any callbacks.
What’s even worse is that many give up when all they needed to do was rearrange the information on their resume.
One main difference is that an Australian resume tends to be longer than the American version.
In the US, shorter is considered better. Not the case in Australia. You should provide ALL relevant details, no matter how many pages your resume ends up being.
This is especially true for when you start sending out your resume to recruiters in Australia because your resume will most likely be entered into the recruiting agency’s database.
Don’t worry, this is a good thing and can help you out in the future if another position comes up that you are qualified for. Provided you didn’t get the first job you applied for of course.
But, even though longer resumes are customary in Australia, it doesn’t mean that every page of your resume is going to be reviewed the first go round. In fact, very few recruiters make it to the second page. This means no callback or entering your resume into their database.
The first page of your resume is the most important page.
A recruiter needs to see your career summary and all of your key skills and qualifications on the first page.
Don’t bundle your key skills and qualifications in with your work experience on the second and third pages.
Here is an example from Nadine’s sponsored jobs membership site of what I’m talking about.
Start your resume with a Career Summary
Your career summary needs to be one well written paragraph that summarizes all your relevant work experience to date and includes your relevant qualifications specific to the position you’re applying for.
From the summary, the recruiter should be able to know what you’re about, what experience you bring with you and why you’re applying for a job with them.
You want to be sure that they know you are applying for that specific position and not just because they offer 457 visa sponsorship.
They could have hundreds of resumes to go through. Sounding needy and desperate for visa sponsorship is a sure way to not get an interview.
Summary of Key Skills
This is a quick, bullet list of your key skills. No, not all your skills, just the key ones that you want to highlight.
We’ll cover adding all your other skills in the next pages but right now we just want the recruiter to be knocked out by how well you fit the bill.
Key skills is also the section where the recruiter, or hiring manager, should find the same skills they listed as necessary in the job description. Yes, to the point of copying and pasting them directly from the job description to your resume.
This section is for skills not personal attributes.
Do not list something like “I am a team player”. Being a team player is not a skill. In fact, stating that you’re a team player really adds no value to your resume. Instead, you should demonstrate HOW you are a team player.
This section is easy but I should point out it is not the same as listing your work experience.
Here you just want to list the year, your title and where you worked.
Again, list key qualifications not every single job you’ve ever had. We’ll get to listing your work experience on page two.
Education and Key Training
Be sure to list any extra training you’ve had during your working career plus your main educational degrees.
Be sure you list your education in Australian terms. I’ve written a post on how you can optimise your resume to be more Australian. I highly recommend you take a look at that post as the Australian educational system is different than the US and if you don’t make the adjustment in your resume the recruiter may assume, incorrectly, that you don’t have the educational background they are looking for.
This is one section that can definitely tip the scales in your favour. How? By becoming a member of your industry’s organisation in Australia.
For example, if you are in web design then consider becoming a member of the Australian Web Industry Association.
Or maybe you’re an engineer. Then become a member of Engineers Australia.
Then be sure to list your memberships under your key affiliations.
The truth is any memberships to industry associations you have back home don’t count for squat in Australia.
Another benefit to joining your industries association in Australia is they often have dedicated job boards and often active LinkedIn groups. This is a great way to start building your Australian network and get a peek into what’s happening in your industry in Australia.
List Your Work Experience in Detail on Page Two of Your Resume
On page one, you have shown the recruiter that you are the best fit for the job by highlighting all your key qualities. Now you need to get into the real meat and potatoes of your work experience.
Compared to a US resume, this part will seem very long with way too much detail. That’s ok, it’s expected in Australia.
Here’s an example of what you need to include in your work experience.
What You Need to Include in Your Work Experience Section of Your Resume.
One thing you need to be sure to do is address any gaps in your work experience.
If you took time off to raise a family then state that. If you took time off to travel the world, then yes, state that on your resume even though it may seem frivolous. If you took time off to go back to school, then yes, definitely be sure to state that. If you took time off to nurse a sick family member, then yes, add it to your resume.
Leaving gaps between jobs is a big mistake that many people make on their resume and it is definitely something that is noticed by recruiters.
When a recruiter is scanning through your resume, the first thing they will notice is your job title to see if it fits with the position they are looking to fill.
Be sure that the job title matches the job titles used in Australia for your industry.
Using myself as an example, my previous position in the US was a research associate level 3 but the position in Australia that I was applying for was a research assistant level 3.
Doesn’t seem like that much of a difference, does it?
You’re right but, after doing some research on the company I was apply to, I notice that the term “research associate” was for candidates with a Masters of Science whereas I had a Bachelors of Science.
If I had not changed my job title, it would have stood out to the recruiter as a red flag.
I know that seems like a very minor change but the recruiter is only going to be scanning through your resume which means, that at a glance, everything needs to jive.
Company Description and Summary
You’ll notice that there is a company description section in the resume template above. This is very important to include because the recruiter may not be familiar with that company specifically, you need to spell it out in detail for them.
In your company description include:
- Size of the company: global, national, startup or small business.
- Main service or product of the company.
- If you were promoted or had different roles while working there.
- Your direct reports, main projects or company activities that were under your charge.
After the company summary, you have another bullet list to fill out.
Include ALL your responsibilities without getting too wordy. There maybe some overlap with the key skills you listed on the first page but that’s alright. It will be a reminder to the recruiter and is now linked to a specific company you worked for which gives it more context.
If you worked at one place for several years and you were promoted, therefore taking on more responsibilities than consider breaking up the bullet list into sections.
For example, for myself I could do the following. Research assistant level 3 responsibilities all in a separate section followed by research assistant level 2 responsibilities and lastly research assistant level 1 responsibilities.
Or you can break up the bullet list by projects you worked on or in another way that makes sense based on your experience.
After your bullet list of responsibilities, add any achievements and awards you received while employed. Achievements include such things as a special project you took on that helped the company grow or hit a milestone.
The work experience section of your resume will most likely take up pages and pages of your resume. This is normal. Australian resumes are often six or more pages.
To finish off your resume there are two more sections you need to add.
The first is Technical Skills and Personal Attributes.
In the past, I’m sure I have included technical skills on my resume but have never had a special section just for listing out the technicals skills I’ve acquired throughout my working career.
Now, personal attributes took me by surprise and I’m certain that I have never added a separate section to list them, if at all. Nadine mentions in her course that it is a mistake not to include personal attributes as they can often turn into talking points during an interview.
The final section of your resume is for references. I usually state that references are available upon request but there really is no harm in listing your references straight off.
Obviously, you should let your references know that you are applying for a job in Australia as it might look odd getting an international call which brings me to my second point.
Be sure to include the international calling code for your references. It’s a small but nice touch and saves the recruiter the time of looking it up.
Also be sure that the email address is valid and, when you can, use the work email address of the person you are using as a reference, preferably from a company listed in your work history instead of a personal email.
Alright, I think that covers it.
This post is part of a series of posts I’ve written about finding job sponsorship for Australia.
So far, I have covered the research that everyone looking for job sponsorship for Australia needs to do BEFORE applying.
Please, do not start sending out your resume until you have read through those posts.