How to write a resume

An employer will generally spend around 20-30 seconds initially reviewing each resume, so it critical that you get it right.  Present your information in a clear, concise and persuasive way. Resume formats and layouts vary considerably.  A range of options are provided for you. The order of these key elements may vary but your resume should include each of the following:

Contact Details

  1. Name (make it stand out)
  2. Address
  3. Telephone contact numbers
  4. E-mail

Personal Statement

It is good to have a clear bold paragraph that grabs the reader and makes them want to find out more. It should be positive and serious but show you are well prepared and a good fit for the job. It should help you stand out from the crowd and convince an employer you want the role.

This may also be titled ‘Personal Profile’, ‘Cabability Statement’, ‘Career Objective’, etc.  Choose whichever heading is most suitable.  It may also be combined under one heading with your Career Overview. It is important that it relates to the job ad.

Career Overview

A career overview or snapshot is a summary of your core skills, experience and competencies, usually for people who have been working in a profession for many years. It outlines in a snapshot, what you have to offer. 

It might also be titled ‘Profile’, ‘Summary of Skills & Experience’, ‘Career Summary’, etc.  It may also be combined under one heading with your Personal Statement.


Provide details of your education with most recent first.

  • Include your academic and professional qualifications.
  • The full name of the course you studied.
  • The full name of the institution your studied with.
  • What skills you learned from the course.
  • Your achievement – results in the course if the achievements good.

Employment History

List the most recent employment first and work through your employment history job by job.  For each:

  • List the period of employment.
  • Name the company that you worked for.
  • Include the title of your position.
  • Describe your achievements and responsibilities. Use brief bullet points and use quantifiable measures.  This allows the reader to scan and match your experience to the role easily.
  • If you have a long employment history, just include those jobs in your history that are relevant to the job you are apply for. 

Skills and strengths

List out your skills in different areas: Computer literacy.  List software that you are proficient in. Written and communication skills – give brief detail.
Foreign languages and level of fluency.
Key ‘soft’ skills or competencies with some brief examples (eg people management, business development, project management etc).
Awards received. 

Membership of professional associations or relevant bodies.
Accreditations attained by relevant professional organisations.


Include things you like to do, particularly if they are employment-related. It is not a ‘must’ in the resume.  The resume can give your reader a more rounded picture and something more personal may distinguish you.


This section should be placed at the end of the resume. It is not necessary to list referees on your resume. You should state that referees are available on request. A referee is someone you worked for or with who knows the quality of your work.

If it is your first job, this might be someone who is a teacher or mentor. Gain permission from the referees before you include them in your resume and be sure to choose people who you are confident will provide positive feedback on you. Make sure they are easy to contact if they are included and provide their contact details.