Your education at high school or university is probably over now and the dreaded wait now begins for final results. Holidays are about to commence (if they haven’t already) and they are well deserved. So what is next for you? Some are lucky and know exactly where they are going and what they intend to do. Perhaps apprenticeships have been arranged and applications to university forwarded. But not everyone has those choices. If looking for a job is one of your options (and clearly it will be whether it be now or later) then there are number of things you need to have in place and be aware of.

The most important thing you must have before commencing your job search is a resume. A prospective employer will decide from this document whether to meet with you or not. So there are a some do’s and dont’s to remember when developing your resume.

Your name and contact details (mobile phone number and email address) must be clearly shown at the top of the resume. I am aware that some recruitment companies ask you to leave your contact details out. How can they (recruitment companies) or an employer contact you if they don’t know how? I suspect this is to avoid a potential employer contacting you direct if you are going through an agency – thereby the employer tries to avoid paying a search fee to the agency.

Your email address should be a professional address such as your name and the service provider eg billwilson@yahoo.com.au. Don’t forget this document is selling you! First impressions are important. Its not just about how we look and behave when we meed someone. With the advent of technology our manners, values and education all come through the way we word a resume.

Keep the layout simple and avoid going into great detail about each of your roles. If you have not worked before and this is your first resume, concentrate on your sporting and/or scholastic achievements.

For those of us who have been in the workforce for a while, start off with an overview of your career. A list of your competencies, plus your strengths and the benefits you can bring to a future employer must be stated in a short paragraph. Be factual in what you say. Using words that sound “fluffy” will possibly mean your resume may not be considered. For example to state “I am a hard worker and know that I will do my best for the organisation” doesn’t actually say anything about what you will and can do for the organisation. Clearly state what it is you can do and include your education levels – list them out, where you went and the level/s achieved plus any professional memberships eg CPA, JP.

Your employment history must be accurate. Some organisations now utilise full time search companies to confirm your work history and qualifications. Show the name of the company, with a brief description of the organisation. Describe your positions within each organisation – stating the time you were there, the position you held and a list of key responsibilities. Don’t make this long winded – point form is much easier to read and will give your prospective employer a good idea of your capabilities. At the end of each role, list your achievements, ie awards for outstanding customer service, sales person of the year, etc.

Do not put the names and contact details of your referees at the bottom of your resume. Due to the privacy legislation, potential employers and/or recruitment agents must obtain your permission to speak to your referees, however by having their details at the bottom of your resume does give the person reading your resume the opportunity to contact them. State on your resume “Referees will be advised upon request”.

Remember – keep it precise and short. Employers to not have a lot of time to read pages upon pages of a resume – 2 to 3 pages is ideal.

Forward your resume with a brief letter referencing the role you are applying for, why you believe you would be suitable for the position and outline your ability to meet with them and potential start dates. Don’t forget first impressions. Have the letter and resume typed – make it look professional.

Statistically people change career direction at least 3 times in their life. Think about what it is you want right now, where it is going to take you and always look at a role where you can continue to grow from an educational level as well as personally. Our working environment has changed dramatically. Unemployment is at its lowest and companies are always looking for people with the right attitude – remember if possible and work for a company that continues to offer training and internal growth opportunities, a company that offers employees opportunities. There are a lot of them around, and it is now possible to select the right role for you, not just any role that is offered. Good luck with your job search. Christine Watson

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