A resume (also known as a CV or curriculum vitae) is a professional document that presents information about your qualifications, skills and experience.

Resume: What to include?

Before you do anything else, get the structure and basic layout of your resume down. Start now, by using Smart Resume. Once launched, select 'Create New' in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

Create a resume

Your resume is a way of marketing yourself to potential employers. It should:

  • Focus on the most relevant skills and experience for the position
  • Use language economically
  • Be professional and well-presented.
  • Tailoring your resume

    Instead of having a single resume that you use for all job applications, tailor your resume so it speaks to the job you're applying for.

    This will save time for employers and provide them with all the relevant information they need.

    Create a 'master' resume which contains everything. You can update this document with extra experience when you need to and tailor it for each application.

    When tailoring your resume, consider:

    • What to include and what to leave out
    • How you order your skills and experience. For example, is your voluntary work more relevant for a specific role than your paid work? If so, highlight this first
    • How much detail you include about extra-curricular or personal activities
    • How to organise your experience. For example, consider grouping all relevant experience under a heading such as 'Professional Experience'.
  • Resumes for part-time or casual work

    Preparing a resume for part-time work can be tricky if there's no obvious connection with your course, career, or experience.

    Keep it brief and only include relevant information. One page is appropriate for part-time or casual work.

    Include the following:

    • Objective: This should clearly state that you are looking for part-time work. Try to find some point of connection to your study or career interests. For example, if you’re applying for a retail job, you might say that you’re keen to use your interpersonal skills and gain experience in the business sector.
    • Profile or summary: Highlight relevant skills, particularly if you don't have relevant work experience. Talk about how you've acquired your skills through other experiences.
    • Education: It’s important to indicate that you’re studying, but there's no need to include additional detail unless it’s relevant to the part-time or casual role.
  • How to select referees for your resume

    Referees are people who know you well. You can identify referees from past workplaces, university, or through other activities like volunteering or mentoring.

    Employers may contact referees during the hiring process to gather extra information or investigate any concerns they may have.

    It’s essential that you choose referees who can talk confidently about your skills and experience.

    Include your referees at the end of your resume. You can either write ‘Referees available upon request’ or list their names, contact details (phone and email) and your relationship to them (for example, manager or supervisor).

    Prepare your referees

    To help your referees give you the best possible recommendation:

    • Ask your referee for their consent in advance
    • Discuss the types of jobs you’re applying for and provide them with a copy of your resume
    • When you find out you have an interview, forward details of the job to your referees and brief them on what the employer is looking for so they know what sort of questions to expect.

Useful resources

Join the Careers LMS Community to complete the free Building your professional resume module, and take a look at the Mastering the cover letter module too.

Try Smart Resume to get tailored, actionable feedback

Once you’ve created your resume, use our online resume reviewer to get AI-powered insights and recommendations on how to improve your document.

Review your resume