When applying for a job, it can take an employer as quick as 10 seconds to decide yes or no purely based off how a resume looks.
We have seen a lot of resumes, over 1000, all of which are so different. From all of this though, we have seen what to include in your resume for OSHC (and perhaps what to leave out).
LinkedIn: Always recommend this to OSHC educators, jump on LinkedIn. Many of us are not on it and it is a great place to start. It can be used as a digital resume profile as such to help employers verify your experience and who you are professionally. Include your profile link on your resume and help point the employer in the right direction.
Social Media: Linked to the above, be conscious of what you have publicly viewable on social media. There is an option on Facebook to view what others can see when they visit your page. If your page is not private, have a think of what others can see – would it affect you getting a position? You have to remember we work in an industry working with children and employers are looking.
Change: Have you had the same resume for the last 10 years? Perhaps it is time for an update! Give it a fresh new look, start from scratch and write it again with a perspective from now.
Relevance: Is the information relevant within your resume? Keep it relevant to the position. I remember having two separate resumes pending which type of position I was applying for as I did not want all my experience all on one (two different industries). Think of time and whether it is relevant, if you finished high school 10 years ago perhaps it is not relevant to include high school related items (subjects, volunteer items, etc).
Layout: There are some cool templates out there now, and for free. Have a google or check out on Word what is out there. What is making you stand out from the other resumes? This will be really important and don’t go too wild on making it so different that it’s hard to read or follow. Make sure the layout is appropriate to the position you are applying for.
Spelling: This seems obvious but is by far the one we come across the most. Do a spell check before sending your resume off to an employer. Send your resume to a friend or family member to have a look over for some fresh eyes. But please double check the spelling and grammar. Employers see this straight away and it can show a lack of attention to detail (which is often needed in our line of work).
Date order: We recommend listing your most recent experience first and working your way backwards. Often it is your most recent experience that is the relevant experience that an employer will be looking for, so putting that early on in your resume works best.
Effort: Do you submit the exact same resume to each job you apply for? A personal touch can always be seen and is often missing. Employers can tell if you have put in effort applying for the position. Have you tailored the content for the position? Have you tweaked the summary? Have you made sure to include all that is suited to the position applied for?
Cover Letter: Cover letters are a yes or no pending who you talk to if they are still needed or not. I’m always advocating for a cover letter, especially if the content isn’t in the resume. It is a way for you to use the job advertisement criteria and write how you match that specific criteria. It’s an extra chance for you to impress an employer and show that effort again.
What would you want? It helps to think of if you were on the other side and hiring – what would you want to see from an applicant?
Length: I’ve seen amazing resumes that are only one page, so it can be done. Resumes tend to be best between 1-3 pages and avoid going over that. You can have a brief one and then another document ready to go with further information. You can control the length by ensuring to tailor resumes to positions applied for and only including the information needed.
References: If you include references in your resume, ensure the reference is relevant and provide information on who they are (how they know you, position, workplace) and include a current phone number and email address. Do not forget, if you are having your references checked – to let your references know. This should always happen.
Accuracy: This is different to spelling, but check your accuracy. Are your qualifications spelt correctly? Are the qualifications listed properly (course code helps for First Aid and Child Protection) This is the most common area we see with errors. Have you made industry references correctly? Such as have you spelt ACECQA correctly or references NQF /NQS / MTOP in a way that makes sense, this is probably the second most common area we see that’s not accurate. Errors around here will make an employer question your knowledge. Make sure your accurate with your times at positions and when you worked there if listed (also recommend listing), any error here can too make an employer question your integrity.
Keywords: Are you including the industry language in your resume? Some of the ones mentioned above are great to include and should be included, but in the right context. You want to make sure the employer knows you have the knowledge to fulfill the position applied for.
Knowledge: I’ve mentioned a few times how some of the above points might make an employer question your knowledge on OSHC. Help show an employer your knowledge by staying up to date in the industry, including professional development attended and making sure to attend professional development regularly (employers may not want to see you haven’t been to any in 5 years). You don’t have to wait for your employer to send you, there is plenty of free professional development or low cost sessions you can do.
A new job can change your world, so it is important to put in the effort with your application.