Write the perfect CV!

The key to writing a great working-holiday CV is to demonstrate a wide range of skills and experience that can be applied to any job in Australia – bar jobs, farm jobs or sales. Sometimes this isn’t easy to do as you may have just finished Uni and have only worked a few jobs. However, even if you have limited work experience, you can find innovative ways to convince the employer that you are the person for the job!

Personal Statement
The aim of your personal statement is to grab the employer’s attention and convince them to read the rest of your CV. It’s a snapshot of who you are and why the employer should hire you. Remember to summarise when you are able to start work and how long you are willing to commit, and include any important or interesting facts about yourself that are relevant to work. Click here for an example

Employment History
Often, your first job in Australia will be different compared to your job back home.Whilst travelling, this is the time to try something new!  However, it is helpful that your employment history is relevant to the position you are applying for, whether it is experience or skills. Be innovative and make it clear that whatever the employer wants, you’re able to fulfil their needs.

For example, if you’re applying for a managerial position but have never previously worked as manager, emphasise that your previous roles involved considerable responsibility and decision-making duties such as delegation, staff management, training, etc.

If you’re applying for a bar job and have no bar experience, focus on previous roles that involved face-to-face communication, customer service and cash-handling.

If you want a farm job and don’t have relevant experience, describe roles where you’ve shown a determined and dedicated attitude, where you’ve ‘got your hands dirty’ and worked non-stop to get the job done. Also, include any hobbies you have that are relevant, such as outdoor sports, hiking, a love of animals etc.

Regardless of your previous roles / employes, these are the attributes the employer needs in their new employee.

Note: When writing an Employment History many people make the mistake of just listing the companies they have worked for,  job titles and dates of employment. This is totally worthless to employers in Australia. Use this section to explain a bit about the company you worked for and the role you filled.

Click here for an example

Education
Back home your education is an important part of your CV, but in Australia experience, skills and the right attitude are what most employers are looking for. Keep your education section short and sweet. Don’t forget to include any courses you have completed in Australia such as RSA, White Card etc. Click here for an example

Skills
Clearly outline any key skills you have used at work that are relevant to the positions you are applying for.  It an opportunity to highlight skills you posses that may not be mentioned in your work experience. Skills that are particularly popular with employers in Australia include: Communication, Sales, Customer Service, Teamwork, Languages, Tractor Driving, RSA / White Card, Computer skills.

Not all skills will be directly required for the role you are applying for. But by demonstrating the broad range of things you do know, you’re giving the impression that you’re a good learner.

Hobbies and Interests
Most job advertisements outline certain personality traits required for the role, so identify what they are and see how your hobbies can relate to the requirements. For example, if you’re applying for a senior position, then the fact that you captained your sports team and ran training sessions will demonstrate your leadership and organisational ability. Click here for an example

References 
Its doubtful that employers in Australia will contact your refences back home before offering you a job. The best thing to write here is “References available upon request”. Click here for an example

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Should I include a photo in my resume? Yes, definitely, especially if you are applying for a face to face/customer interation role. Including a photo in your resume will show the employer that you are pleasant and presentable. (Ensure the photo is respectable – no drunken facebook photos and no bikini shots).
  • How long should my CV be? Two pages is a standard length for your CV, plus a short cover letter. Use bullet point format to list your work experience, avoiding big blocks of text.
  • Should I mention I’m on a working holiday visa? Yes, be up-front and honest with the employer. If it is an issue, there’s no point wasting the employer’s time.
  • What if I only want to work a few weeks? Most employers will want a commitment of 1, 3 or 6 months. Don’t promise to stay longer to get the job if you really dont intend to.

Important:

Many employers will understrand if your written English is not perfect, but there’s no excuse for bad spelling! Use a spell-check and get a few English-speaking friends to proof-read your CV and provide feedback.

Find backpacker jobs in Australia

To search for bar jobs in Australia, visit Travellers At Work. TAW is Australia’s largest job database just for travellers, with thousands of positions available.