Writing an Australian CV: Format, Tips & Guide

Writing an Australian CV: Format, Tips & Guide

There are plenty of compelling reasons to move to Australia. The weather is great, the lifestyle is relaxed and the salaries are, on average, higher than the UK (1). If you’re considering moving to Australia for work, you’ll need to know how to write an Australian CV. In this article, we discuss the similarities and differences between CVs in the UK and Australia, and provide CV tips to help you secure your dream Australian job.

Australian vs. UK CVs

Like in the UK, the words ‘resume’ and ‘CV’ are interchangeable in Australia. While in the USA and Canada, the two words refer to different documents, in Australia ‘resume’ and ‘CV’ both mean the same thing.

The Australian CV follows much the same format and structure as a UK CV, with the same key sections and a similar layout. However, the main difference between CVs for Australia and the UK is length. While a UK CV tends to be a short, concise career summary of no more than two pages, an Australian CV can run to three or four pages, depending on your experience. If you’re a less experience candidate, a two-page CV might suffice, but for more experienced, senior positions, employers may expect you to submit a more detailed document.

Like the UK CV, it’s best to limit personal information on your CV for Australia. While some other countries expect you to add your age, gender, nationality and even your marital status, in Australia it’s illegal for employers to ask for this information. The only exception to this might be if the role has an age restriction or a similar requirement based on demographic information. In Australia, CVs don’t typically include personal photos either, unless your appearance is a consideration for the position, such as modelling or acting roles.

Australian CV layout and specifics

Australian CVs typically follow the traditional, reverse-chronological format used in the UK and other countries. This means your work history is the most prominent and important element of the CV. Sections like education and skills usually come below work experience in the document order.

If you have plenty of work experience in the role or sector you’re applying to work in, aim for a CV length of three to four pages of A4. This gives you plenty of space to detail your relevant work experience and if necessary, expand upon your key skills. If you’re less experienced in your chosen field, a CV length of two pages is acceptable. It’s less common to produce a very short one-page CV, as is the norm in some countries.

Your Australian CV should include the following sections:

  • CV header with contact information
  • CV summary
  • Work experience
  • Education
  • Skills

You could also include the optional sections below. Check the job description to see if the employer requires any of these details:

  • Certifications
  • Languages
  • Hobbies and interests
  • Volunteer work
  • References

Expert tip:

Have your CV reviewed by a native Australian to check you’ve followed the correct customs and meet the expectations of local employers. They can also help to make sure you use correct local spellings and terminology, and that your application doesn’t contain any glaring errors or omissions that could harm your chances of securing your dream Australian job.

Essential components of an Australian CV

Take a look at what to include in each section of your CV below:

CV header

Include your first and last name, your address, your email address and your phone number, as well as a CV headline. If you have a LinkedIn profile, portfolio or website, you can add this as well. Avoid adding unnecessary personal information, and don’t include a photo, unless the role requires it.

CV summary

Write a short paragraph outlining your key skills, experience, achievements and career ambitions. Your CV summary should provide a good introduction to what makes you the ideal candidate for the role, as well as referencing any unique qualities and skills that make you stand out.

Work experience

List your relevant work experience in reverse-chronological order, starting with your current or most recent role. Include your job title, the name of your employer, its location and the dates you worked there. For each entry, add a series of bullet points explaining your responsibilities and achievements in the role. Address the impact you made, and reference how you developed and used any key skills or tasks listed in the job description.

Education

List your highest and most recent qualifications in reverse-chronological order. Add the name and level of the award, the institution, its location and your dates of study or graduation. You can also add bullet points outlining any awards you won, areas of expertise or societies you were a member of.

Skills

List any skills that are relevant to the role, cross-referencing them against the job description to make sure you show your suitability for the role. You can either add hard/technical skills in one list and soft/transferable skills in another, or combine them into a single list. For soft skills, add some detail around how you’ve used them to make an impact in the workplace.

"Australian CVs typically follow the traditional, reverse-chronological format used in the UK and other countries. This means your work history is the most prominent and important element of the CV." 

Additional sections for an Australia CV

These optional sections can help your CV make a stronger impression with Australian employers. Check the job advert for an indication of what to include, and add any details that help you prove you’re suitable for the role. Optional sections include:

Certifications: add any professional certifications or training you’ve undertaken, if they’re relevant to the role. These can help show you’ve dedicated yourself to professional development.

Languages: although a second language probably won’t be necessary for most Australian jobs, some international companies might favour bilingual or multilingual candidates.

Hobbies and interests: if you’re light on relevant work experience, but have a hobby or pastime that uses one of the skills listed in the job description, it can be helpful to include them in your CV.

Volunteer work: as with hobbies, volunteer work can sometimes help you prove your skills beyond your paid work experience. Only include this if the volunteer role helps you to demonstrate skills or tasks relevant to the role.

References: some employers might ask you to include references on your CV, so always check the job advert. If they do require it, add up to three references who can comment on your previous experience, work ethic and reliability as an employee. Always check with your referees in advance, and add their name, job details and contact information (telephone number and email address).

Quick tips for a winning Australian CV

Follow these tips to make sure your Australian CV matches the local customs, and makes a positive impression with employers:

  • Use Australian English: Australian English is very similar to UK English. However, if you’re using a word processor, set the language to ‘Australian English’ to check if you’ve missed any local spellings.
  • Tailor your CV: read the job description and tailor your CV to make sure it showcases the skills and experience required for the role.
  • Keep your CV updated: revisit your CV regularly and update it with any recent experiences or skills you’ve learned.
  • Aim for three to four pages: CVs for Australia tend to be longer than UK CVs. Aim for three to four pages, with detailed summaries of your relevant jobs and skills.
  • Use a reverse-chronological format: adopt a traditional CV format, placing the emphasis on your work experience. If you don’t have much work experience, try a functional or skills-based CV format.
  • Don’t include too much personal information: avoid adding personal information such as your age, gender or nationality.
  • Don’t add a photo: don’t include a personal photo, unless the role specifically requires one.
  • Check if references are required: check the job description to see if the employer requires you to submit references with your application. Otherwise, employers will ask for these when they need them.
  • Use a professional CV template: enhance the visual appeal of your CV using online tools and resources. Make a CV with CVwizard that catches the eye with clean, professional designs and layouts.

Key takeaways for a perfect Australian CV

For a successful Australian CV, follow the same rules and format as a UK CV, but add more detail for a longer document. Australian employers tend to expect a CV longer than one page of A4, and the more experience you have, the more detail they’ll expect to see. Create your CV in CVwizard to help it stand out from the competition. Craft an eye-catching design with our CV templates, and learn more about what to include with our library of CV articles. Sign up today and follow the simple steps to get started with your perfect Australian CV.

Sources:

(1) WorldData.info: Average income around the world

Share via:

Make an impression with your CV

Create and download a professional CV quickly and easily.

Create CV