Young people are always in high demand by employers across all sorts of industries. Your challenge is to stand out from other applicants who are chasing the same job. Luckily for you, we’re here to help. Usually, you’ll need to provide two things. The first is a well-written cover letter. The second is a ‘stand-out’ resume or CV. (By the way, in Australia a resume and a CV mean the same thing).
The basics for a ‘stand-out’ resume
- It starts with your contact details
- It needs to look professional i.e. no spelling mistakes!
- It should be well organised
- It will include details of your most relevant skills
- It shows your enthusiasm for the role
- It draws on aspects of your life to show your skills
- It’s easy to read
You don’t need lots of experience
Employers know you’re unlikely to have heaps of experience as a teenager (and that’s OK). Often they’re looking for enthusiasm. Or a willingness to learn, and an ability to follow instructions. So look at the job description you’re applying for. Find the keywords, and then try and weave these into your resume.
Look at the structure. For example, you might like to break it up into sections, which makes it easier to read. For example:
Create a list of your relevant skills, especially any that relate to the job you’re going for.
Personal attributes are personality traits that can distinguish you from other people. What are your positive attributes?
List any jobs you have held, and describe your duties for each one in bullet points.
List the name of your school. Any certificates or diplomas you may have (or what year you are in school) and any relevant courses.
Awards and achievements
Describe any achievements you have earned, such as winning a school competition. Or any leadership roles you’ve had.
Hobbies and interests
Include hobbies and interests that show skills or experience related to the job.
Tailoring your resume for the job
Creating a resume and applying for that dream job can be daunting. Here’s the good news: You don’t need to update your entire resume with each position you apply for. A full overhaul would take too much time. And would increase the likelihood of introducing a typo or small error. Instead, a few nips and tucks will do.
It all starts with the job description. You want to make your resume a good match for the job. So you need to know the employer’s essential and desirable requirements. Jot down a list of the keywords as you read through the job description. Crosscheck these with your own qualifications, experiences, and strengths.
Employers often read resumes quickly. They don’t always read past the first page. So make sure important details are highlighted in the top of your resume.
Proof and save your tailored resumes
Before sending off your resume, do a final proofread. Look for grammatical mistakes or typos. And once you have done that, do it again, or ask a friend or family member.
Attention to detail is one of the most important qualities that employers look for. Your resume is your first chance to prove yourself.
Who or what is reading your Resume?
You may be surprised to know that human eyes are not always the first to look at your resume. There is software that is used by recruiters and employers. This simplifies the process of receiving job applications and matching people to jobs. ‘Applicant Tracking Systems’ (ATS) look for matches between the key words in the job ad, and the words in your resume. So, if the job is asking for ‘ability to work well in a team’ then the ATS might scan for ‘team, teamwork, team member’.
Knowing about ATS reinforces the value of tailoring your resume. With some little tweaks to words and phrases, you are more likely to be ‘found’ by the ATS. After which a human will read your application!
You should also keep your formatting simple for ATS. So for online applications avoid fancy graphics and crazy fonts.