4 Reasons Why Hobbies and Interests are Important in your Resume

Importance of Hobbies and Interest

With the emerging realities and contemporary challenges in the workplace come new standards, norms, and attitudes. Previously, the focus of companies and organisations was solely meeting the bottom-line and having a “whatever it takes” attitude to achieving goals and objectives. Propelled with a financial and output-based motive, these approaches proved to be detrimental to the quality of work conditions for employees. It also created a workplace culture that valued conformity and the ability to take orders unconditionally without any dissent or disagreement. When the priority was to get things done, the culture prioritised uniformity instead of diversity.

Contemporary workplace culture and human resource practice, thankfully, has shifted towards having a more equitable and people-centric slant. The competition to attract, retain, and develop competent personnel remains fierce. Apart from achieving the financial bottom line, more performance indicators have also risen in importance. As such, recruiters are looking at more diverse aspects in their hiring practices to account for applicants’ culture fit, skills development, and exposure to opportunities for professional growth. This has given rise to what industry professionals call social recruiting.

In this new model, the importance of candidates’ personal brand, skills, and unique perspectives are critical. It is important to no longer solely look at numbers or on-paper credentials. Prospective employees are much more well-rounded, dynamic, and interesting than they seem on their documents, and providing an opportunity for employees to highlight other aspects of their personality also give you a quick glance at how they will fit in the culture of your company.

On the other hand, as a candidate, it is essential to take this opportunity to present more information about your personal interests and passions. The reality is that it is more productive for companies to look at personal motivations and aspirations. By presenting your skills and interests outside of the context of work, you are able to provide your future employer with a clearer picture of who you are as an individual. The focus of traditional hiring approaches force the candidate into a role of salesperson, contrived to sell his own strengths and skills and disguising flaws and weaknesses. On the other hand, a more clearly positioned statement of one’s interests and hobbies outside of the workplace can present savvy recruiters with more information on how they could use their candidates interests to their advantage.

At Brisbane Resume, we advocate stating your interests, hobbies, volunteer opportunities, and other extra-curricular activities in your resume. Here’s why:

Skills are transferrable

Outside the workplace, employees may be part of leisure-based groups, community associations, or interest groups. In any of these situations, recruiters gain a perspective into your leadership skills. For positions that require extensive management and leadership abilities, interests outside of work can serve as a fantastic indicator for future success. Your ability to work in a team or without one can also be gauged by your hobbies. For instance, team sports such as soccer or rugby may signal your awareness of the importance of team dynamics. On the other hand, highly individual tasks such as knitting, crochet, or collecting may prove your ability to self-motivate without any direct supervision. Volunteers at organisations and charities may also signal their ability to organise with or without any supervision.       

It shows breadth of knowledge

Regardless of your hobbies, taking up a skill or an interest usually requires work to be put in. Each interest that your recruiter uncovers convey key information about you. For example, if your hobby is to write, you will likely excel at professional communications, research, and publication. Showing your research interests in your resume will also likely communicate to your recruiter the type of work you should be assigned should you get hired. Vocational skills that are applied in hobbies, such as technical skills, working with tools, or working in creative pursuits may also translate to abilities that are essential to completing tasks at work.

Hobbies show discipline and perseverance

Activities outside work reveal other important aspects about your talent. By showing your enthusiasm for your hobbies, your recruiter is aware that you are passionate, dedicated, and self-motivated. This will translate in real-life situations where you are required to complete milestones and deliverables. Moreover, somebody with diverse hobbies outside of work may also provide an excellent case for management, multi-tasking, and prioritisation.

Work-life balance

The ability to take on personal development through skills enhancement, practice, and hobbies is increasingly important in this day and age. More and more employers are aware that workaholics and “robots” seldom grow. Change management, balance, and innovation are key to a more robust and well-rounded personnel pool. One can argue that a person invested in activities beyond work is well-rounded. Persons with hobbies are often sources of information, insight, and perspectives. They are known to take risks, experiment, suggest improvements and have a better and more well-rounded understanding of their world.

As contemporary hiring practices are highlighted, passionate individuals find that they have a prime opportunity to present their personal brand in more compelling ways. It is important, therefore, to consider that recruiters are advancing beyond just matching resumes to job descriptions. They now have the power to champion talent, invest in people that go above and beyond, and fill positions.

How to Prepare for Interviews

Brisbane Resume
Interview Preparation

One of the most daunting aspects of the job search is the dreaded interview round. Interview fear is a natural result of wanting to seek approval and validation from others, especially from your prospective employers. While speaking about themselves may come naturally to some people, others are apprehensive about being asked questions regarding their careers or their previous achievements. Perhaps out of modesty and the discomfort arising from being asked personal questions, the interview has become one of the most intimidating parts of the hiring process.

This does not have to be the case.

Interviews are an important way for the applicant to show that their competencies, achievements, and potentials. You have already made it through the first step, with your resume making it through ATS scanners and your name being shortlisted for an interview. This opportunity to present and further elaborate on one’s profile, employment history, and key skills and expertise is the proverbial foot in the door: if you convince the interviewer that you have what it takes, it boosts your chances of getting through the next step of the final selection process.

Luckily, you can prepare for interviews if you have apprehensions about talking about your own achievements. Practice is key, and fortunately, interview questions can be rehearsed ahead of time. The key to flawless interviews is preparation, and here are some tips that you can follow to boost your chances at nailing that interview and impressing your future employers:

Get comfortable around tricky questions

Interviewers ask challenging questions, partly because they want to elicit information, but also, because they want to see you navigate your way out of potentially contentious issues and concerns. Take for example the question, “Why are you leaving your current role?”

The answer to the question may be because of management issues, or concerns with work-life balance, etc. No matter the answer, however, the manner in which you phrase your response will signal your ability to be an objective and fair observer. Answer honestly and explain your response with as much objectivity as possible.  This means eliminating any emotional responses such as answers that are based purely on feelings or sentiments and are not substantiated by facts.

Other questions to prepare for are “What made you apply for this role?”, “Why should we hire you?”, or trick questions like, “Why should we not hire you?” The key is to not lose composure and organise your thoughts carefully.

Before speaking, outline your thoughts using the PREP method: POINT-REASON-EXPLANATION/EXAMPLE/-POINT. Lead with your point and follow with a brief reason or summary as to why you responded a certain way. Then, add examples or further elaborate. After you have explained thoroughly, go back to your previous point.

Similarly, if you are asked to describe your involvement in a project or task, you may use the STAR Method, which is also usually used in responding to selection criteria. In using STAR, you must state a Situation, followed by a Task, then a description of Actions taken, and lastly, the Result.

It’s all in the body language

Acting naturally in a stressful situation may be a tall order, but you can always practice professional communication. Sit in front of a mirror or ask a trusted friend to ask you questions and note your mannerisms. Are you shifting or fidgeting about nervously? Do you appear stiff, standoffish, defensive, or closed off in your body language? Do you use appropriate gestures? Do your facial expressions match the point you are trying to make? Do you convey openness, sincerity, and genuine interest?

Think about your strengths and weaknesses

Prior to the interview, make sure you go over the job description again. Assuming you read the job description and used the roles and responsibilities listed therein to modify and customise your resume and other selection documents, it is important to think about the job description to honestly package yourself for the interviewer. Be honest and upfront about your strengths and weaknesses. Being realistic about your strengths will allow the interviewer to note your selling points as a prospect. However, signalling your intent to work on your weaknesses will be just as notable.

Prepare questions

Another important aspect of the interview is showing genuine interest in the role and in the company. The best person to ask is the interviewer. If you noticed something interesting in the job description, or if you have any questions that were left unanswered by their FAQ page or guide questions (which are usually found in the job packet or in their general hiring page About section), raise these at the end of the interview, when your interviewer invites you to ask questions. Some thought-provoking questions you may ask your employer are:

“How can I be the best person for the job, should I be given the opportunity to work with your team?”
“Does the company have any major projects on at the moment”

“What are the opportunities for advancement and further training?”

Know your salary expectations

Salary packages and other benefits are usually advertised alongside the position (or as part of a range, if applying through SEEK). However, interviewers may still ask you how much you are expecting. One important tip is to provide a range in which you would like your salary to fall instead of offering an exact or set number. Try to keep your range tight instead of giving a wide margin. For example, if you expect to make $75,000 a year, a good range would be anywhere in the $73,000 to $80,000 or anywhere within the $10,000 range. Be mindful of other perks and benefits as well and consider these when you think about your salary expectations.

Having these preparatory steps in your back pocket is essential to equip yourself with the readiness to face the toughest questions. Be confident, be self-assured, and be bold.

For assistance in recruitment-related documents and credentials and for interview preparation, you may get in touch with Brisbane Resume. Our friendly and highly trained consultants will be able to help you through your preparatory stages. Contact us today for a complimentary quote on [email protected] or call us direct to speak to one of our consultants on 1300 174 435.

From Good to GREAT: How to Revamp Your Resume the Brisbane Resume Way

Internet articles and blog posts may make resume writing appear as if it is an intuitive and easy thing to do. However, through our experience in helping customers in their hiring journey, resumes are often taken for granted as the most important tool that you can possess to increase your chances of being hired. Most customers also find the experience frustrating and even discouraging, as there is simply a huge amount of information on the subject. There are also seemingly hundreds of ways that a resume could go wrong.  Human resource professionals and practitioners highlight the importance of writing a compelling resume as it is a window to the applicant’s competencies, skills, and important achievements that will determine their job fit and suitability for certain roles. However, writing a resume, especially if you’re a beginner at this field, may be a daunting exercise.

Most of our customers do not exactly know how to highlight their own skills and competences. There is certainly a lot of difficulty in trying to sell oneself, perhaps out of modesty, or out of the fear of sounding too self-important. However, there is a perfect balance between coming off as arrogant or too proud and knowing exactly one’s worth in terms of how you could potentially contribute to a highly productive team. Through years of experience, we have determined a key formula to resume writing. Here are some great tips to get you started on your resume-writing journey:

  1. Build a strong Professional Profile

Just like a hook or a selling point in a business pitch, a professional profile is the first thing that your employer will see. It is important to make sure that this statement is filled with relevant detail that will be attractive to an employer. A well-written professional profile will offer your employer a summary of your educational and professional achievements, as well as provide a brief description of you as an overall package. In this section, employers will look at your competencies, behaviours, objectives, and targets in securing your respective role. the professional profile has the most chances of calling your reader to action, and with a strong and impactful statement, the professional profile will assist you with capturing the interest of your reader.

2. Outline your Core Competencies

At Brisbane Resume, we spend a considerable amount of time in perfecting your list of core competencies. We devote a section on core competencies because these are not to be taken for granted. As you progress within your chosen field, your list of competencies grow with every project or special task. Therefore, core competences may include broad categories or areas of skill and expertise to help your employer have a better idea of what else you could contribute to the team.

For instance, anyone who highlights their competencies in administration may appear as someone competent in handling competing priorities in the office such as payroll, personal management, and compliance to standards and regulations. Other areas that are suitable for the section on core competencies within the resume include communication skills, specialised niche areas, interpersonal skills, ability to adjust and transition, and positive behavioural traits and characteristics that will help you thrive in highly complex and challenging environments.

3. Add comprehensive details

One of the most common pitfalls in resume writing is assuming that your employer will know the type of work or daily tasks and responsibilities that go under any role. It is the resume writer’s responsibility to paint a clear picture of what it is that you did in your previous roles so that you are able to present a more detailed summary of your suitability as a prospective employee.

Administrative functions or clerical tasks, for instance, may differ from one company to another. Some companies may limit administrative tasks to routine functions, whilst other companies may include a wider subset of skills and competences to include financial responsibilities, personal management, human resource coordination, and the use of company resources. Furthermore, by outlining your specific skills and responsibilities in your job description, you also stand a good chance at passing the applicant tracking software (ATS) which is an industry standard amongst high-ranking companies and employers in Australia.

4. Highlight your Key Achievements      

Whilst it is important to outline your daily task and responsibilities as well as your typical roles and functions in each job role, it is also important to have a separate section for key achievements. This information details the special projects, awards, recognition, and more concrete changes and contributions that you have added to the team. Key achievements are often backed by numbers, statistics, and distinct outcomes, showing that the success of these projects may not have been possible without your input. They enhance the details of your responsibilities and roles by highlighting the special ways in which you were able to go above and beyond what was expected. This section may also show how you were able to resolve highly challenging issues. More importantly, it presents a more accurate and visual picture of how you are able to put your core competencies into work.

5. List down your references

Lastly, more and more companies and employers request that your reference are included in the resume. Supplying a list of credible references, especially your previous direct reports and superiors may help you in securing your coveted role. Your previous managers and supervisors have the best insights as to how you could perform under different scenarios and when contacted by employers, they will be able to vouch for your statements as outlined in your resume. It is therefore important to approach your references and inform them that someone from your prospective employer may contact them for reference.

In line with current resume practice, applicants can be rest assured that their documents will be treated with utmost confidentiality and regard for data privacy and security. Most companies may have an information disposal system where unsuccessful resumes are destroyed or deleted from the system in a secure manner. However, whilst listing down references is standard practice, it has also been increasingly common to have resume references on a “per request” basis. Should you have misgivings about data security and privacy, you can always let your prospective employer know.

Contact us today to start building a compelling and effective resume.

Demystifying Selection Criteria for Nursing Roles

Registered health practitioners are some of the most trusted and respected professionals in Australia. The importance of a competent and secure health workforce has increased tenfold, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and other emerging infectious and lifestyle diseases and ailments.  According to the Australia Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA), whose role is to protect the public and set standards for professional health practice, 1 out of 16 people employed in Australia is a registered health practitioner.

With the increase in the demand for competent health care, the nursing field has become a fertile ground for employment for those who are passionate about caring for others and providing timely, compassionate, and appropriate services in line with the duty of care. One of the most important bases for hiring is the applicant’s ability to respond to the selection criteria provided within the job description. Selection criteria responses are helpful statements that outline the applicant’s ability to respond to a certain competency requirement or situation. Typically, a job application package may have up to 5 or more selection criteria, which should be addressed within a well-written response statement.

If you are interested in nursing roles, here are some tips that will help you write a strong selection criteria document to get you started in this growing industry:

  1. Use the STAR format

As the selection criteria response is a personal account of how you are able to fit a certain competency, use a strong personal example from your experience that best describes how you are able to meet the criteria. The STAR approach organises information by outlining the Situation, Task, Action and Result, in that order. Take for example the following Selection Criterion and Response, which is typical amongst nursing application requirements:

Ability to communicate and collaborate within a multidisciplinary health care team.

SITUATION. As registered ER nurse, I am expected to work in a fast-paced and highly stressful environment. My ability to attend to my patients in an effective manner also depends on the level of trust and collaboration that I am able to establish from other members in my multidisciplinary care team. As such, I prioritise effective coordination and communication to ensure that proper hand overs, referrals, and information exchange are carried out at all times.

TASK. During one shift, we had an alert for a multi-vehicle accident on the highway which involved a pile-up of 6 vehicles all carrying multiple passengers. Several ambulances started to stream in, and as the triage nurse in charge, it was imperative that I directed patients to the proper sections of the ER. I worked with other EMS responders and the ER team members to work through our triage protocols in a systematic and time-sensitive manner.

ACTIONS. I redirected incoming patients to the major trauma, minor trauma, resuscitation, and injection areas as appropriate. Those needing immediate medical care were taken to the resuscitation areas, whilst the deceased patients were moved to the morgue. The severely but less critically injured were taken to major trauma-medical areas for treatment or further assessment. The walking injured were directed to minor surgery and primary care treatment areas in the hospital’s outpatient clinic. This whole operation required consistent communication with concerned team members. We practised our standard response protocols in effectively managing of the influx of around 20 patients with varying levels of trauma.

RESULT. As a result of our close coordination and communication, the multidisciplinary care team, under my leadership, was able to minimise casualties and properly assist all affected patients so that they received immediate competent care and medical attention.

2. Refrain from providing sensitive information

In observance with confidentiality and data privacy standards, no private information, especially of patients and healthcare workers must be included. This follows not only legislative and regulatory standards, but also codes of ethics and professionalism. Some responses may include instances with minors or with vulnerable patients who may not be able to consent to having their information divulged. What is important is showing how you are able to satisfy the required competency. Whilst it is important to be as detailed and specific as possible in outlining compelling examples, it should not be at the expense of patients and other co-workers whose information, health status, and identity we should consistently protect and safeguard. 

3. Prioritise a good narrative and flow

As shown in the STAR example above, the situation at hand must be easily understood and therefore, must read well. Organising information so that it flows smoothly is an art, but it does not have to be very challenging. Use transition or ordinal markers such as first, then, subsequently, finally, etc.  Also, Conjunctive adverbs such as however, moreover, therefore, consequently, thus, etc. help effectively transition thoughts and ideas. Use the proper adverb, and you should be able to turn convoluted narrations into a graceful and flowing prose.

4. Proofread!

As with any professional document, your selection criteria, along with the other documents in your application package must reflect the highest standards of grammar, spelling, and writing quality. Go with a proactive and direct writing style whilst also providing as many details as possible. Check for grammatical and spelling errors and be vigilant about run-on sentences. Lastly, for the purpose of ATS optimisation, make sure that your content is formatted to ATS standards.

Contact us today and let us assist you as you prepare your selection criteria. We have special packages and rates for nurses who wish to prepare resume, cover letter, and selection criteria responses that are consistent with industry-standard requirements and competency standards.

Academic Resumes 101

Academic Resume 101

Resumes are used for a variety of purposes, and it is for this reason that there are a number of different formats, types, and standards that deviate from what our normal idea of a resume may be.

Another purpose of a well-written resume, besides helping you secure your desired position for employment, is to help you advance in a specialised academic field. Academic resumes are an important addition to a researcher, instructor, or academic’s toolkit, especially when seeking admission to a postgraduate program, applying for teaching positions, securing funding for research studies, or in highlighting important contributions to a field of research.

            At Brisbane Resume, we do hundreds of academic resumes every year for clients in various fields including scientific research, social science, laboratory sciences, and medical and nursing research. More and more clients are looking to have a competitive edge in their area of work, especially in growing scientific and academic communities. Universities, schools, institutes, and private companies may require a strongly written and comprehensive academic resume where they want to see a list of published works, areas of specialisation, and contributions to knowledge.

            Here are 4 things to remember about building your own academic resume:

  1. Organise information with headers.

Reading through an academic resume may be confusing and overwhelming for some readers as they typically contain more information than a regular resume. Because of the volume of information presented, it is important to be neat and orderly when listing down information ensuring it is written in a manner that will be understood by the reader. Organising information in a systematic manner allows you to highlight your credentials and your achievements without overwhelming your reader with details that are disjointed or messy.

Instead of huge blocks of text, you can break up your credentials into several headers and sections. Consider highlighting educational attainment, publications, trainings, and seminars attended, grants/contracts, licences, certifications, patents, etc. by listing them in dot points under explicit headers or section markers. This will help your reader to know exactly where to find the information they are looking for.

2. Use reverse chronological order for publications and cited works

Another area where academic resumes differ from regular resumes is the length. Whilst most conservative resume formats limit the page count to 2-5 pages, academic resumes are certainly longer and include more detailed information. For some clients, their lists of publications and contributions to academic literature may take 2-3 pages. This may be broken down into books, book chapters, edited journals, published and refereed journals, co-authored works, and even a special section non journal articles published in reputable and high-ranking academic journals.

Ensuring that the proper format is used when listing publications is important. We advise using the type of citation style or reference format that is prevalent in your industry. For instance, medical academic resumes may use the American Medical Association (AMA) format, whilst others in the social sciences and laboratory research may use the APA or MLA formats.  If there are multiple authors including yourself, highlight or bold your name in the citation. For some fields, it may also be beneficial to separate the list of works where your name is placed as the first author

3. Include helpful and specific details

Since length and brevity is not a primary concern in academic resumes, the possibilities in what you can put in your resume are boundless. Though academic resumes typically do not include specific job descriptions for each employment or engagement, it is important to outline your skills and qualifications, showing both versatility and specialisation. Strike a perfect balance between being a specialist and a generalist.

Other information that may be included to support your claims are research accomplishments, specific methodologies and data-gathering methods used for various dissertations, conferences attended, relevant projects, and participation in research groups and team collaborations. More and more academics also find their niche in international research, so it is important to mention country-specific research projects. Moreover, some of our more successful applicants have participated in cutting-edge and cross-/multi-disciplinary research. Your resume should demonstrate the skills and competencies that you have gained throughout your academic career.

4. Focus on specific and specialised research skills

In an increasingly competitive academic environment, having a niche specialisation or a unique field of study are keys to standing out from your peers. For instance, a cross-disciplinary interest in a completely different field may enrich your profile through a combination of conventional and unorthodox research approaches and methodologies. Employers may also appreciate it if you are able to combine offbeat and atypical areas of research or academic interests. More importantly, the current velocity of information and research requires that academics prioritise the focus on multidisciplinary areas. The more that you are able to integrate a variety of research areas and approaches to your scholarship, that more connections you will be able to find in growing fields of research and academic work.

            A professional resume writing service can assist you in making sure that your academic resume is written to an exceptional standard. Brisbane Resume has a wealth of experience in assisting academics, instructors, lecturers, and researchers in creating a robust resume that appeals to prospective employers, university officials, funding sources, and potential partners and collaborators. Contact Brisbane Resume now to inquire about crafting your perfectly written academic resume.

What to include (and not to include) in your resume

Any potential employee looking to expand their horizons in any profession or field needs to apply and put their best foot forward when submitting a resume.

Hiring professionals will advise, a resume the first step to opening a new door or opportunity. A resume is inevitably one’s golden ticket to a world of possibilities, and it is important to be able to craft one that is compelling, effective, and comprehensive.  There are various conventions, styles, and standards in resume writing, but more often than not there are several non-negotiables that must be included in your resume.

Profile Summary

Education, Training and Professional Development

Tickets and Certifications

Technical and Unique Skills (Core competencies)

Work History

Professional Memberships

Achievements and Awards


Up to date Contact Information

The above information is relevant to one’s skills and competencies in response to the requirements of a job listing or notice. It is important to include this information as it offers a glimpse into your professional history,  capabilities, and capacity to utilise these skills and competencies in your prospective job. Including these in your keyword-rich, ATS-optimised resume will absolutely boost your chances at being shortlisted for the role. ATS applications and tools scan through hundreds of resumes to isolate and select those which have more keyword richness and density. Overall the more information you include, the better your chances, which will then boost your ATS score.

More and more companies value seeing other relevant information as this will give more context or frame of reference for the applicant. Additional requisite information may include publications, conferences and seminars attended, software programmes used, and proficiency in languages other than English. It is recommended to include hobbies, interests, and other activities outside of the professional area. An increasing number of employers also value contributions not just in the workplace, but in communities, so including your volunteer and community work, charitable contributions, and other similar details is always important.

On the other hand, there is some information which must be excluded from resumes. Information which may prejudice you from securing the position include nationality, race, religion, marital status, political preferences, number of children, and so on. Australian companies must strictly abide by federal and state practices in equality, fairness and non-discrimination, also know as National Employment Standards.

As a rule of thumb in line with professional resume writing best practices, we must also take into consideration the following;

  1. Cliches or weak adjectives – claims such as “out-of-the-box thinker” or “results-oriented” may be good when substantiated, but must never be presented without any context. For example, quantify results orientation with actual  figures and values such as percentages or points, instead of just saying you have achieved results.
  • Salary Details – some applicants may lose leverage in negotiating for a good starting salary if they unnecessarily expose their previous salary data. This is generally not required to be disclosed in most cases, especially with positions in the private sector.
  • Generic descriptions – it is recommended not to copy content from other templates or samples. Tailor content according to your own role and responsibilities, and add a detailed summary of your personal achievements and contributions.
  • Grammatical and formatting errors – go through your resume with a fine-toothed comb. Obvious grammatical errors and spelling mistakes may detract from your overall impression as a competent and well-trained professional. 

Seek the advice of experienced professionals when crafting your application documents.

Contact us to know more about our services. Let us help you stand out and achieve the best version of yourself through compelling and impactful documents.

Talking up your achievements

      Recruiters and employers receive dozens, if not hundreds of resumes on a daily basis. This puts any prospective employee in a position where they must be able to present their accomplishments and achievements to stand out against other applicants. Naturally employers will want to hire the best prospects and practices in the human resource industry has become more and more specific and targeted in zeroing in on exactly the right candidate for a particular position.
      Coupled with advancements in ATS technology, companies and recruiters can now enter a pre-defined set of search criteria and shortlisting requirements from hundreds of applicants within a split-second. Not only do you now have to beat others in the game and be at the top of the shortlist in terms of achievements and skills, you must also be able to present information in your resume in such a way as to be shortlisted.
      In a highly competitive job market, every applicant must do their best to stand out. There are a variety of differentiation techniques that one may adopt in order to be a cut above the rest, and to offer more value through the resume. It is important to note that resumes are the only basis for your value to prospective employers. As such, a resume must not only present information in a coherent and detailed manner, but it must also do so with impact and uniqueness in mind. Essentially you need to present what makes you stand out and why you are the best person for the role.
One way to strategically place yourself above other applicants is by including your key achievements. Often placed under a brief description of your roles in a chronological, functional or combination resume, key achievements present more specific examples of how you are able to go above and beyond the regular expectations or duties of a role. 
Other reasons for including key achievements in your resume are:  
They create more impact
Employers are interested to know more about how you are able to take your skills and apply them into the work context to influence positive results. By avoiding general, motherhood statements, you are able to present a clearer and more specific picture of how you will bring similar commendable results to your prospective roles.
They differentiate you from other applicants 
Picture this: you and a peer are applying for the same role. Judging by face value, your educational attainment, training, courses attended, and level of seniority may be exactly identical, but you can set yourself apart from other applicants by specifying how you were able to bring about measurable outcomes in your team. You must show that you were a valuable part of the process, leading to outstanding results, or where you have implemented new processes to streamline business operations. You must also show that you were indispensable, that the team may not have been able to achieve the said outcomes without your help or intervention. This is what gives you more power and leverage to emphasise your personal contributions to any team.
They present measurable information 
The numbers don’t lie. If you include trends, figures, and concrete examples of how your support and contributions to the team resulted in positive outcomes for the company, you will have more chances of attracting strong interest from prospective employers. Go back to your key performance indicators and ratings, your appraisals and chart your progress in terms of actual performance scores. Specify actual outcomes against expected values or projections.  Always mention any commendations, awards or a recognition for your invaluable contributions.
They offer transferability in other positions  
Often, generic information may be hard to contextualise or translate into actual deliverables. Sure, you can state that you have excellent communication skills, but employers may want to see exactly how you were able to adapt these skills in a difficult context or within a particularly challenging situation. Recruiters respond well to definitive statements instead of baseless claims or theoretical statements. It is hard to deny your capability to influence impactful outcomes if you have done it before. Thus, this makes you easier to place in departments where similar circumstances are to be expected.
There is definitely a delicate art of phrasing and expressing one’s achievements in a way that presents your skills and competencies. With the right construction and formats, you should be able to present what makes you unique and different, whilst also beating ATS scanners in the process. 
Allow us to assist you in this process by getting in touch today! 
We can advise on the right package that will be compatible to your every application or desired position.

Resume Templates

One of the most daunting parts of the application process is settling for a resume format or template that works. The wide spectrum of resume writing advice available online makes this even more confusing, as everyone seems to be saying something different about what makes a good resume.

To put it in simplest terms, a resume must outline your skills, work history, abilities and competencies in a straightforward and organised manner. Resumes are definitely not created equal – there are standout resumes that truly speak volumes about the applicant, while there are resume layout templates that may be visually striking but speak nothing substantial at all in terms of relevant information. The moral of the story is to create a resume that is designed well to be highly legible, captivating whilst still informative.

An introduction to Australian resumes

Our expert team has done the work for you and have surveyed the resources available online. It is quite common for advice on best practice to be geared towards an American audience, which leaves very little room for key information on how to succeed in the Australian job market .  American style resumes, or more commonly referred to as curricula vitae (or CVs) are different from Australian resumes in that American CVs value brevity. Most American companies call for an exhaustive one-page CV that attempts to whittle down the prospective employee’s profile into highly targeted value statements, lists of skills and competencies, and very short descriptions of previous roles performed. These are also based around where one may have worked, rather than what one did in the role.

Australian resumes, on the other hand, offer more leeway to explain in much more detail how an applicant was able to fulfill various roles throughout their history. It leaves an applicant with more room to expand on key duties, competencies, achievements, skills, personal attributes, and more importantly, an objective statement that signals a strong intent to apply for the role. There are a variety of resume styles suited for the Australian market, and we have a list of templates to choose from.

ATS Scanners

Another important thing to consider when planning your resume-building is the use of artificial intelligence in the recruitment process. Often, companies employ the use of applicant tracking software that aid in filtering hundreds or even thousands of applications received following a job posting in their recruitment channels. ATS scanners rely on algorithms or complex computer codes to read through application documents to pick out the most suitable applicant based on keyword richness and density. 

Australian style resumes benefit when being scanned through ATS because of their level of detail. The space and bandwidth dedicated to skills and competencies alone sets Australian-format multiple-page resumes apart from other styles, as they simply give the ATS more data to read. This puts you at an advantage over more sparse resumes that do not contain any industry specific language or keywords.

ATS are ingenious tools in simplifying the hiring processes for companies and organisations that receive an overwhelming number of applications from prospective employees. Since these tools are programmed to select applications based on keyword density or keyword richness, they are less than capable of picking out implied competencies. In other words, one must directly include the skills needed to be able to respond to the keywords programmed in the ATS. Once employers run a certain set of keywords in their search, resumes that have more content, more detail, and more nuance definitely have a clear edge. 

How to beat the ATS 

ATS scanners may evoke futuristic images of robots and computers replacing humans at the HR Department, but this is far from the truth. ATS complement contemporary hiring practices in that it allows human resource personnel to whittle down a large applicant pool into a good number of really outstanding documents. 

The challenge for applicants now is to present resumes that are compliant to ATS standards. In its core, keyword density and richness is very easy to achieve. Having the latitude to explain one’s key achievements and specific job responsibilities already puts you in the upper 30% of resumes and applications that make it through the initial ATS selection process.

We can advise you on the finer points of Australian best practices in the hiring process. Our services are especially useful for those who are new in the Australian job market, or are transferring from other countries. We can also help you with cover letters and other documents to help put your best foot forward in your application process.

Contact us today to speak to one of our consultants!

Best Foot Forward: Impactful Cover Letters

Picture this: you are welcomed into a beautiful foyer or a sitting room and you are immediately captivated by the cleanliness, attention to detail and other functional elements in the room. Often, waiting rooms like these reflect the cleanliness and orderliness of the rest of the building. They are a glimpse into what to expect, and they definitely make a striking impression. In many ways, a cover letter should give employers the same experience.

A well-written, organised and detailed cover letter gives prospective employers a good idea of what to expect. Cover letters, quite literally, serve as a preview for a resume or application document, and in line with best practice one should always include one as a courtesy or even just as an expression of interest in the role.

Types of cover letters

Cover letters are best written or modified to target specific points in a job description or a position vacancy. While a speculative cover letter is a good place to start, one must always tailor them to respond to the specific requirements in a notice. This shows your attention to detail and your strong interest in proving to the employer that you are a perfect fit for the role.

A cover letter usually accompanies a resume and is regarded as an vital part of an application package submitted to a prospective employer. Additional to sending a well laid-out resume, sending a cover letter signals extra attention and finesse. It should follow the structure and format of a business letter, and must contain key parts: an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.

Following this structure ensures you are able to grab the hiring manager’s attention, that you are able to provide a good first impression with a summary of your accomplishments, and more importantly, that you are able to express a strong desire in being selected for the role. By including a conclusion, often a call to action, such as asking the hiring manager to contact you for inquiries or by proactively asking to be invited for an interview, you are able to end your letter with a strong statement, sending a convincing message that you are deserving of an invite.

One-page cover letters differ from selection criteria or custom response cover letters in that they summarise and package information in a more compact narrative. Cover letters document one’s work history, professional skills and objectives in applying for a job.

Cover letters also direct the resume and the application package to a specific contact or office in the department, making sure that your resume gets to the right place for the selection process.

That being said, some organisations and companies may require applicants to outline specific experiences that respond to the key selection criteria of the role. This is where Selection criteria documentscome in to play. They may also take the form of cover letters, but they are a much more complex and structured format.

STAR responses;

             One best-practice strategy one must comply with is outlining skills and capabilities through STAR responses. Also known as SAO, these invaluable narratives relate to the key selection criteria detailed in the job notice or posting.  Selection criteria responses in the STAR format are so-called because it follows a highly organised pattern of presenting the Situation, Task, Action, or Result/Outcome for each skill.

             Selection criteria cover letters with the STAR format are highly detailed and are focused on highlighting the applicant’s instrumental role in leading the task or the project to its completion. Often, it includes specific figures, steps, and illustrations of how the applicant is able to demonstrate a skill. Apart from setting the context of the narrative, one must include the specific task or project undertaken so as to emphasise one’s role in the project. It must be presented in such a way that without the applicant’s integral part, the project would not have been successful. This strategic way of highlighting contributions show that you are an indispensable part of the team. 

             Furthermore, by presenting a clear picture of key action steps and specific processes undertaken, an applicant is able to contextualise how transferrable skills can be used in a variety of challenging situations.  Finally, by presenting the resolution or outcome of the task at hand, an applicant completes the STAR outline and rounds up the discussion on how they were able to utilise their skills and resources to get the job done. All of these are in the hope of convincing the employer that an applicant is able to utilise their skills to abide by the company’s objectives and desired outcomes and it a perfect fit for the new position.

Other things to consider

             It is important to note that a cover letter must complement the resume. Contrary to belief, it is good practice to echo (not completely repeat) the contents of one’s resume in cover letters. Similar to the analogy of the sitting room, or a dazzling appetiser to start off a meal, cover letters must intrigue and spark curiosity, encouraging the employer to go to the next page and go through your body of work and experiences. Once you are able to stop an employer in their tracks, only then you have truly mastered the art of capturing attention and drawing curiosity to your competencies, skills, experiences, and objective statements.

             Our Team are glad to assist you in completing a compelling, flawless and striking resume and cover letter package that will wow a prospective employer. Our years of experience and expertise is backed by our insights into hiring practices and requirements. We have worked with thousands of application packages and have advised successful applicants in securing that coveted, highly competitive position. 

Contact us today to begin building your outstanding cover letter and application documents!

Keywords That Get You Hired

Picture the old days of “pounding the pavement”, searching the neighbourhood for job prospects and opportunities: an applicant prints several dozen copies of the same resume and hands them out to any office or workplace that has a “HIRING” sign displayed out in the front. They may get hired on the spot, or they may be told to expect a call. This may have worked, before computers and artificial intelligence became popular tools for employers, but this has definitely gone out of fashion now. For most career prospects, especially in large workplaces and popular companies that receive hundreds, if not thousands of applications daily, digital tools are definitely here to stay. 

A lot has changed with the way resumes are being written and more importantly, read, and the process of hiring and submitting documents has become more technologically advanced with the use of Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) technology. ATS are important capabilities that any employer can utilise, as they help whittle down the applicant pool until they are able to find the most suitable candidates for the job. But how does it work, and how do you use ATS technology to your advantage? 

ATS basics 

As you may have learned, ATS is an essential component of the hiring manager’s toolbox: It is a programmable software that detects keywords or strings of keywords in any resume. Think of this in similar terms as search engines. Search engines like Google are equipped with components that trawl websites for keywords that are embedded in a copy. This makes it easy for search engines to pull up websites that have the corresponding keywords. For instance, when you type in “Chartered Accountant” on the Google search bar, the websites that are most optimised to display this search keyword will be the ones that are highly prominent and visible at first glance. 

ATS scanners work in a similar way. The scanners can be pre-programmed to search for specific keywords, and in the context of looking for talents from a pool of submitted applications, it can pinpoint with accuracy the resumes that stand out because of their keyword richness, density and compatibility with the search criteria. 

With the rising popularity of ATS scanners being used in the job market, having a bland, general resume may not be as effective, and there is definitely a need to custom-write and tailor resumes for each job. This seems like an awful lot of work, but it is important to take the time to study each job description and respond to the search criteria. 

How ATS scanners filter out applicants 

Although there are dozens of ATS scanners available for all types of applications, from small companies to very large multinational organisations, the principle of keyword optimisation remains consistent. Suppose a hiring manager wants to hire an administrative assistant. Some of the more common competencies required of an applicant to this role may include strong verbal communication skills, computer skills, customer service abilities, secretarial and reception duties, and the ability to answer phones and other communications. 

All of these skills can be used by employers as search keywords, alongside other qualities, say, “time management”, “prioritisation”, “accuracy”, and “composure”. The ATS picks out the resumes with the greatest number of keyword hits from their preferred categories, and sets them aside as part of the shortlist.  

Employers can decide on what keywords will be searched for different criteria, but the most important objective in writing ATS-optimised resume writing is to try to reflect most search criteria in your summary, job experiences, and core competencies sections. 
It could also be a simple as wanting to find all candidates with ‘Business Administration’ as part of their education. They can set the ATS to search this too!

How to spot keywords

ATS optimisation may sound daunting at first, but with a basic knowledge of how ATS scanners are programmed, plus a bit of creativity and ingenuity, having an ATS optimised resume may be accessible to most people. All it takes is the ability to look at job descriptions or announcements and seek out the keywords that may be used to filter applicants. Often, job descriptions will feature a section that lists down what type of skills, experience, and qualifications they are looking for.  

Your tell-tale clues can be in sections with the header “About You” or “What we are looking for.” Some keywords may also be embedded in the copy; all you need to do is read and research currently advertised roles. Furthermore, you may also focus on the selection criteria. It is essential to add both the Essential and Desired criteria in your application if these search keywords apply to you. 

ATS optimisation and landing your dream job 

The most important thing in ATS optimisation is to have a keyword-rich resume that reflects an honest and accurate picture of your skills. It is counter-productive to “pad” or “fluff” one’s resume with keywords or search strings that does not correspond to your actual experiences or possessed skills. Remember that you may get past through the ATS scanners, but at the end of the hiring process, you will still need to talk to an actual person who is likely to be highly trained in coaxing an honest and precise picture of your skills and capabilities through an interview. 

You can learn more about ATS optimisation and the right keywords to use by getting in touch with our expert resume writers. We have helped thousands of applicants land their dream roles through our extensive experience and insights on resume keyword richness, selection criteria response, and packaging your skills to achieve the best results.

Contact us today to find out more or discuss the services we offer!