We've come to the end of another year and I have decided to close Republic earlier this year and have a proper holiday.
Thanks to all those fantastic clients who worked with me as we built first class resumes, cover letters and LinkedIn sites.
In the last 12 months, I've helped short list more clients and placed more people in jobs than ever before. In large part, that's due to creating a solid partnership.
I'll have the mobile phone off for December but if it's an emergency, former clients can contact me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I will be back on deck around 7 January 2019. Wishing you and your family a marvellous Christmas and a happy new year.
Why I write resumes and CV's
People ask me, why I like helping people get jobs in Adelaide, Canberra and the NSW South Coast. Why I spend so much time on getting resumes and cover letters on top of the 'must interview pile'. The two testimonials below from Matt and Ashley from Adelaide, answers that question.
“Good Morning Malcolm,
I just wanted to make contact to let you know how useful your help has been over the last few months. As a teacher who had worked at the same site for nearly 20 years, I was definitely out of touch with the current job application processes.
Your support and editorial advice gave me the confidence to have a go at a number of potential career shifts. I have just completed the application process for an ASO4 public service position with DCSI (now called the Department of Human Services) as a Housing Officer.
Your help refining my resume and advice on the nature of cover letters was invaluable. The interview with the recruitment panel went well and I have just been informed that my DCSI clearance has been granted with a proposed start date of 3/9/2018.
You went above and beyond the usual levels of service to help me get into a position where I could apply for positions with confidence. I will refer you to anyone I know who requires similar support. In short, your professional advice has enabled me to shift careers and begin a new chapter of my working life.
Thank you and all the best for the rest of 2018. Matt”
"Dear Mr King, I want to sincerely thank you for your work with both my resume and cover letter. Not only did I believe the work was of high quality and professional, it was conducted in a quick manner with the work targeted for my field. The companies/agencies also liked the work and as a result, every application I made progressed to the next stage. This eventually led to me acquiring a position in a graduate program. I will certainly recommend your services to other people that I know of, Kind regards, Ashlea Wutke"
Sisto, Pellegrini's and Melbourne
I didn't know Sisto Malaspina well. He was killed in Bourke Street last Friday by a mad man.
When I first arrived in Melbourne back in 1988, one of the first places I went was Pellegrini's Cafe in Bourke Street and it was Sisto who served me. I remember because he said as I was a new customer, he'd throw in a cake for free. That was appreciated because I was broke and probably looked like it.
I used to go to Pellegrini's about once a month when I lived in Melbourne (1988-2008). I'd devour their spaghetti bolognaise on a cold winter's night. It was places such as Pellegrini's and Sisto, the Supper Inn, Florentinos, Readings Bookshop and many other bars and clubs, that turned me from a provincial Adelaide boy, to a seasoned Melbournite.
I travel a fair bit between Canberra, Adelaide and the NSW south coast now but whenever I can, I detour to my old haunts in Melbourne. Last year I called in to Pellegrini's to have a granita and there was Sisto, propping up the bar with a coffee, wearing a neckerchief and looking good for a man in his 70s.
He said, "I haven't seen you for a while." We talked for ten minutes about how Melbourne had changed since the 1980s and then I paid him, smiled and said 'salve' as I walked out the door. I didn't know Sisto well but my life is better for knowing him at all.
Using a resume writer to help get you a job
I started out writing resumes for university and TAFE students back in the 1990s. I was a senior lecturer in writing at a university in Melbourne and the students needed help with the ‘sales proposition’.
They’d ask, ‘what are my key skills and capabilities and how do I sell them?’ We’d sit down and map out a response. Every short paragraph had a selling point. Every paragraph was structured to lead the reader to the inescapable conclusion that the applicant MUST be short listed.
In Adelaide, I started writing more manufacturing and service industry resumes. I still do plenty of those and I really enjoy them. I’ve had great success getting people short-listed for jobs and actually getting jobs in a tight employment market.
I have executive professional writing and editing skills and working for the Department of Employment in Canberra helped a great deal.
In the last couple of years I started getting requests from professionals in Canberra and Adelaide to help them target specific jobs advertised on Seek or in the public service.
About one third of my work is spent in partnership with clients who want their resumes and cover letters written for a specific job.
We work together to demonstrate equivalent skills and experience. We dig in to the career history to find gems that attract employers.
People (usually recruiters) ask, ‘Isn’t that cheating?’ No. I help clients articulate and sell their work experience, their training and their personal and professional motivations, when applying for a specific job. Recruiters want to keep their clients happy and so do I.
Getting in to the Australian Public Service
I’ve spend a lot of time in Canberra, working in Federal politics (those were the days) and the Australian Public Service in the Department of Employment (called DEEWR then). I worked in Labour Market Strategy. Below is the scree from the APS jobs portal. If you’re thinking of applying, send me an email and I’ll give you some tips for free.
“The Australian Public Service (APS) is the place to realise your potential. APS employees can fill a wide range of roles, and are provided generous support and remuneration in locations across Australia.
The APS jobs website is your gateway to a challenging and rewarding career in the APS.
APS jobs will help you to discover the many career paths the APS has to offer by linking you to vacancies available in the APS, the Parliamentary Service and many other Australian Government agencies. APSjobs publishes vacancies every weekday in a range of job categories across entry level positions through to senior leadership roles.
Are you an accountant, IT professional, project manager, HR professional or just looking to get into these fields? These careers and many more available within the APS and can provide you with the opportunity to be part of developing, supporting and implementing policies and programs that shape the nation.”
A resume is usually the first point of contact between you and your next potential employer. It's the first impression you get to make, and with a well-written professional resume, it could be one of many more to come. These tips are from SEEK and they’re pretty good.
Take out the objective. Seeing that you're already applying for the job, it's obvious you want it.
Brief is best. Get rid of the clutter if it's not related to the role you want to pursue now. Give more detail about your current or recent jobs and less about the past.
Cut out unnecessary info. That includes your age, marital status, religion or nationality. All of this information is now illegal for your employer to ask you. As for an address, a suburb and postcode will suffice.
Make it clear and straightforward. Use simple text in one modern, standard font that is easy to read, and that everyone can understand. As everything in your resume is about your experiences, avoid writing in first or third person. Write "responsible for managing a team of 3" in concise bullet points below headlines where necessary.
Avoid using cluttered or complicated layouts with headers, footers, tables or other items that may not look right when viewed on different computers with varying software versions. Make sure you also run a spell check to pick up any errors - a big mistake that is easy to avoid!
Be professional and discreet. You may still be using the same email address that you set up when Hotmail came about in the 90's, but if it's anything that looks unprofessional, it might be worth your while setting up a new one for the purpose of your job applications.
Keep to the employer's submission requirements. You won't get noticed if you don't follow all of the specific requirements in the job description. Often both resumes and cover letters are requested in a certain file format (doc, pdf, docx, rtt).
This story is by William Arruda, which appeared in Forbes Magazine and in June this year (2018). It’s a succinct piece on the importance of the LinkedIn summary. Something I focus on a lot. The summary tells a story in strong verbs of achievement and results. It packs a punch.
“Over the past decade, I have probably read tens of thousands of LinkedIn profiles as part of the work I do to help companies maximize the value of LinkedIn. Your profile is so important to your career success (it is often people’s first impression of you) that you should make more than a cursory attempt to get it right. Just having a profile is not enough.
In fact, an incomplete or unimpressive profile will actually work against you, telling decision makers “stay away” rather than “get to know this person.” To build a compelling profile, four components are especially important to personal branding:
Your LinkedIn Summary is the place where you tell your story. Don’t confuse it with the Experience section. In the Experience section, you share facts about what you do and all your brilliant accomplishments. In your Summary, your accomplishments are just part of the story.
The complete narrative should share your values, passions and strengths, telling people who you are and why they should care.
The first few lines are absolutely critical. They’re the only thing viewers see when they first look at your profile. This means the words need to be so magnetic and enticing that they make the reader click on “show more” to get the whole story.”
The widening gap between profits and wages growth is damaging Australia’s social fabric but that’s not the only source of pain between workers and business, writes Malcolm King, a professional resume writer and social researcher in InDaily.
Mark Twain wrote: “When the rich rob the poor, it’s called business. When the poor fight back, it’s called violence.” The trenchant refusal of employers to pass on profits as wages is doing violence to the Australian and SA economies, while rending the social fabric.
According to the Centre for Future Work, back in 1975, the ‘labour share’ of GDP had climbed to 58 per cent. Now wages, salaries and other payments to workers, including superannuation, have fallen to 47 per cent of GDP.
In the recent reporting season to June, profits hit a record $335.4 billion, up 10.1 per cent on the previous year. Wages and salaries, according to the ABS, rose by just 2.1 per cent. The lion’s share of profit went to shareholders.
The relationship between wages and unemployment has fundamentally changed for the worse. RBA Governor Philip Lowe said recently wage increases of around 2 per cent are now the norm, rather than the 3-4 per cent mark that employees used to get.
People have taken out mortgages in the belief their incomes would grow at around 3 per cent. Many now have no capacity to fund rising interest rates, especially with little savings to fall back on.
Employers’ complaints haven’t changed much since Charles Dickens’ times: taxes are too high, workers have too few skills, there’s too much red tape, etc, etc.
For 40 years, governments of all persuasions have driven down taxes, thrown billions of dollars at the university and the vocational education sectors and initiated a major Productivity Commission report to slash red tape. But still, the complaints come.
The problem isn’t the blockers to economic advancement but business leaders and their whining lobbyists such as the Business Council of Australia, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Industry Group, who live off their members’ fees.
It’s as if the better angels of the business community have left town, replaced by Scrooge with a cloven hoof and a pointy tail. Since when does greed trump a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay?
Wage stagnation creates some ironic knock-on effects. In Adelaide’s retail sector, fierce competition for tight household dollars has forced prices down, thereby killing off any chance of pay rises.
Some of the blame can be attributed to online shopping. Yet nationally, only 5.6 per cent of purchases were made online in May 2018, although this figure is rising.
In the year to December 2017, SA workers received pay rises of an average 1.9 per cent, while consumer prices rose by 2.3 per cent. Wages are lagging prices.
Graduates clear tables and ask: "was my degree worth it?'
Competition for graduate jobs in South Australia is fierce. I work in the labour market as a resume writer and employment specialist. My clients ask, ‘when will our universities start to focus on quality over quantity?’
"No-one would have believed in the early years of the 21st century that young men and women were being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than their own; that as they busied themselves for new careers, university marketing departments regarded them with hungry eyes and drew their plans to enrol them.
The tempest bearing down on universities draws its energy from young people’s dreams of a good job after graduation. But there is a chasm between the dream and the reality.
In their quest for more taxpayer dollars, should publicly funded universities ignore the perilous state of the full-time employment market?
Late last year job advertisement market aggregator, Adzuna, found 22 university graduates were competing for every new graduate position nationally. The competition for graduate jobs was worst in South Australia with 46 recent university graduates fighting for each job.
There is a serious disconnection between enrolments and the local job market. According to Commonwealth Department of Education and Training figures, there were 11,895 domestic bachelor degree graduates from the three major South Australian universities in 2016. Including postgraduates, this figure rose to a whopping 19,680 graduates.
Many students do find work two or three years after graduating. Graduate surveys brag about this but, for many, it’s not the type of work they trained for. While universities brag about ‘employability’, that’s not the same as career-targeted employment.
For the last 30 years, universities have packed their faculties with professional and vocational degree programs. When criticised that many of these programs don’t lead to jobs, they say they’re not job factories and that striving for knowledge shouldn’t be connected to crass questions of employment.
For some, a university degree works very well. These graduates secure stable, well-paying jobs. These ‘success stories’ are profiled on university websites and in glossy brochures – especially if the graduates come from poor or migrant backgrounds. But the part does not tell the whole.
For 13 years I worked as a programs director and senior lecturer for a large technical university in Melbourne. I rose through the ranks by writing and launching new industry-based programs. I was responsible for 50 staff and about 1500 students.
I saw graduates and post-graduates in other schools and universities end up on Newstart after being charged HECS or full fees. Many did worthless “Job Active” taxpayer-subsidised training courses.
They wasted their skills and qualifications doing menial jobs that paid so little, they couldn’t afford to leave home or start repaying their HECS debt. Some employers exploited them as long-term, unpaid interns.
A very odd decision from the SA government. Some of the most draconian pay and worker conditions stem from these labour hire organisations. As a resume writer, one in ten of my clients are either locked in to labour hire contracts or else would never go back to labour hire organisations. This story is from ABC Adelaide.
"A decision to scrap laws put in place to punish companies that exploit workers has been labelled as an "attack" on the state's most vulnerable workers by the South Australian Opposition, according to SA ABC News.
State Government plan to repeal SA Labour Hire Licensing Scheme
The scheme included strict penalties for companies that exploit workers
Opposition labels the repeal as an "attack" on vulnerable workers
Attorney-General Vickie Chapman has announced the State Government will seek to repeal the Labour Hire Licensing Scheme which was put in place by the former state government.
This story is from ABC Life. Taking a job can help you get a foot in the door for another job. Plan for tomorrow today. Resume writers understand that people have to put bread on the table but that doesn't mean you have to stay in a job you dislike forever.
At some stage you'll find yourself in a position where you need a job. An opportunity presents itself, but deep down it's not one you really care for. You might not know what you want, but you know it's not… this. So, do you take it?
The answer is rarely straightforward, but Sydney-based career coach Jane Lowder suggests: take the job.
She says if there's no other work available to you at the time and you're not entering a toxic work environment or compromising your health, you'll be better off.
Of course, there's a little more to it than that. Let's look at some of the genuine benefits of a job you don't love and may never even like. Doors won't open if no-one is knocking.
Adelaide breakfast radio host and comedian Amos Gill worked at a call centre before moving on to sell cable TV subscriptions door-to-door (literally knocking on doors).
Now, it's hard to miss his face on trams, billboards and bus stops in the great city of Adelaide.
"I hated [that work], but it taught me a lot," he says.
The official statistics aren’t telling a complete or accurate picture of unemployment and underemployment in Australia. I wrote this story in 2018 for InDaily. As a professional resume writer, I know the real state of the job market in Adelaide, Canberra and across Australia and it is nothing like what is being portrayed in the media or by politicians.
"Let me take you down to the Strawberry Fields estate, as we follow those who deliver the monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS).
The estate is an imaginary place but there’s nothing fictive about high unemployment in working and middle class suburbs across Australia, even though the LFS statistics would tell us otherwise.
This story examines how tight definitions of unemployment and the statistical manipulation of data, drives down the unemployment rate. The media then uncritically reports these figures, allowing the government to spin them to the public, creating an enduring delusion."
As the number of applicants increases, the success of any one applicant decreases. In other words, job applications have become a numbers game. In the hands of applicants, automated software would drastically cut down the time taken to apply for the requisite number of jobs to secure a position.
Automating the process would reduce time spent reading job ads, uploading resumes and signing on to various job sites under the current, woefully inefficient system.
Several programmers have already attempted to create a job application robot. This type of online robot, or "bot", is a programmed piece of software that performs a variety of functions on behalf of the applicant.
Read the full story here: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-13/job-applications-why-you-should-consider-using-a-robot/8701834
All your workplace rights in one place
Have you ever wondered what your workplace rights are?
The ABC have done an exceptionally good job of listing the big ones here:
This is one of the major problems with the resume writing industry. A lack of professionalism, education and copy writing skills. Anyone can call themselves a resume writer. Ask to see their qualifications and a sample of previous work. The story below is a nightmare for the client and the resume writing business. It could have easily been avoided.
The Age: VCAT backs lawyer who spied errors on outsourced resumé for ASIO job
Tom Cowie, 15 August, 2018
A lawyer who paid an online resumé company $600 to write her a job application for Australia's spy agency has successfully sued the business after it misspelt ASIO and used someone else's name to apply.
Jobseeker Susan Cole, aged in her 50s, filed a 136-page complaint with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal against 1300 Resume after missing out on her dream job because of a CV she says was "littered with errors".
Ms Cole hired the company, which specialises in government job applications, in early March to rework her resumé and write a selection criteria response for a position in the graduate lawyer program at the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.
After a series of unsuccessful attempts at landing a job, the Master of Laws graduate said she bought the company's gold-level application package looking for the edge that could get her over the line. "It was a mystery to me," she said. "I didn't know what I was doing wrong."
However, what she ended up receiving did not match her expectations, prompting her to take the company to VCAT.
"To have such a poor quality, I just could not believe it," she said.
In its defence filed to the tribunal, the company described Ms Cole as trying to "make a profit out of her experience".
Before the legal dispute, Ms Cole sent through some documents to help the company write her application, including a previous CV. She asked that her order be completed a day before the ASIO applications closed at the end of March, as she was going away on holiday. She organised to pay the company in instalments.
With the deadline approaching, the company sent the material back in time for Ms Cole to lodge her application online. But as she was running late for her trip, Ms Cole said she did not have time to check their work before uploading it.
When she returned, Ms Cole proofread the documents for the first time and realised that the wrong name, "Danielle Garcia", had been written at the bottom of the resumé.
Another error referred to ASIO as ASIC, which is the acronym for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
She was also unhappy with the formatting of the CV and that the response to the graduate position's selection criteria was 400 words over the limit.
"I have spoken to the ASIO recruitment team and they have confirmed that the system will automatically delete any words after it reaches the maximum," Ms Cole said in an email to the company a week later.
"I am devastated, as I would have liked to progress to the next stage."
Ms Cole was entitled to two job applications under the package she bought, however she did not use the second.
In response, 1300 Resume owner Monique Thompson acknowledged that there had been errors in the documents but said they could have been fixed "in five minutes".
She said that job outcomes were not guaranteed and that Ms Cole had a new professional resumé for future applications but was refusing to use it.
"I feel she is trying to be nasty and make a profit out of her experience which is unethical and wrong," she wrote.
Ms Thompson told The Age that she had worked in the resumé-writing industry for more than 20 years and that her company had many repeat customers and referrals.
"I'm a proud person and I'm really good at what I do and it makes you feel like crap," she said. "Something like this has never happened before."
Ms Cole filed a string of emails, text messages and job application documents to VCAT supporting her claim. She is planning to take the matter to a higher court if the refund is not paid.
"I'm doing this out of principle," she said.
In awarding Ms Cole a partial refund of $450 plus her application fee of $62.70, VCAT member Danica Buljan agreed that 1300 Resumes had failed under Australian consumer law to provide services with "due care and skill".
Ms Buljan wrote in her reasons that Ms Cole had received a corrected CV, "albeit later than she originally requested", and that 1300 Resume was "entitled to some recompense for the services it has provided to her."
Young people to be poorer than their parents
I wrote this story for the Adelaide Advertiser in 2015 on generational inequality. As a resume writer, I get to work with lots of people and this story came from the stories my younger clients told me. It's one of the most serious issues facing Australian society.
“ONE generation rises, another falls. It’s an article of faith that younger generations will inherit a more prosperous economy from their forebears. Young people have watched as generations before them were showered with one-off seniors’ payments, indexed pensions in line with average male earnings, tax exemptions on family homes and superannuation tax breaks, while house prices skyrocketed.
Healthcare per person would climb from $2830 today to $6460 per person in 2055 (in today’s dollars). The Government’s proposal would see a ‘‘moderate surplus’’ of around 0.5 per cent of GDP in 2054-55 and net debt would be paid off by 2031-32.
According to the IGR, the Government is spending $100 million a day more than it collects, and is borrowing to meet the shortfall. The political spin behind the IGR is to get the Senate to pass the economic austerity measures and for older people to remain in employment.
There was very little mention about young people or older Australians in the 50-plus group who can’t get a job due to age prejudice. There are about 175,000 Australians over 50 looking for work through Job Services Australia.
From the mid-1980s to 2011, the Boomers rode the greatest wave in Australia’s economic history. Roughly 5.8 million Australians over 55 now hold 58 per cent of domestic wealth.
Many readers will say, “That’s life’’. Some generations were born at the right time, in the right place. Young people, though, are having trouble finding a job, let alone entering the property market."
Unethical private recruiters are hurting employer brands: Smart Company
This is a story I wrote for Smart Company last year. It made no friends amongst recruiters but their lack of professional practice and ethics means that employers are now creating recruitment departments inside their organisations. They fear that abhorrent practices by some private recruiters are damaging their brands.
I run national online resume writing business and for the last two years, after being deluged by client horror stories of recruiter behaviour, we have been advising clients to go around private recruitment agencies and where possible, apply directly to the company.
"The calculus of despair": how recruiters condemn older workers to unemployment
As a resume writer, I take great care in creating first class resumes and cover letters. I know how good they are because I used to be a recruiter and I have worked at the most senior levels of journalism. It breaks my heart when clients don't get jobs simply because they were over 45 years of age.
Entrenched prejudice in the recruitment industry is piling older workers onto the unemployment queue, many of them permanently, writes Malcolm King.
Think of age prejudice like this. A stylishly dressed young woman tells the men and women over 45 years of age, to get up and move to the back of the bus.
Can South Australia, a state conceived in the 19th century and now shackled to a regressive political orthodoxy and failing economy, survive in the 21st century? Yes, but only if two serious defects are remedied, writes Malcolm King, an Adelaide resume writer.
My InDaily stories in the last two years have sought to answer this question by exposing some of the state’s hidden social and economic dynamics. I’ve unpicked the ABS unemployment methodology and found an economy riddled with underemployment, as thousands of men from the working and middle classes bleed out of the workforce.
The stories looked at how casualisation keeps the working poor, poor; how high commercial rents in a deflationary retail environment kill small business; why aged prejudice – against the young and old – is a knife in the back of our keenest and most experienced job seekers.
I examined how the exodus of young people since the late 1970s compounds a trenchant orthodoxy, as self-interest ossifies along generational lines. This creates serious ‘knock-on’ effects, as ‘third class brains’ in the remnant managerial class try, and repeatedly fail, to tackle complex first world problems.
There have been positives too: Sanjeev Gupta bought the Whyalla Steelworks, saving thousands of jobs. The iron ore price recently bucked the downward trend and copper has been on the rise since October last year. That may be good news for mining jobs in 2019/20.
Elon Musk’s giant lithium-ion battery in the state’s mid-north is up and running. There are plans to build a 150MW solar thermal power plant near Port Augusta and a $450 million wind farm project on the Eyre Peninsula. Energy is vitally important but the real story is jobs.
It was said that every family in England at the end of World War One, had either suffered the loss of a loved one or knew of a family that had. In SA, the hope-deadening hand of unemployment and underemployment touches all working and middle-class families or they know of families where it has.
Consider the claims by the State Government that Project X will create 1000 jobs or Project Y will create 500 jobs. These are called ‘generator numbers’ where full-time, part-time and casual jobs are rolled into one figure over the life of the project and then multiplied by a factor of five or 10. The figures are false.
Last December pollster Roy Morgan, who uses door-to-door surveys, pegged SA’s unemployment rate at 10.9 per cent and underemployment at 9.1 per cent. The ABS, which counts one hour of work per week as employment, had it at 5.9 per cent. The ABS methodology is valid but presents a false picture.
The state’s employment and unemployment problems can be summed up with two statistics from the ABS. From January 1997 to 2007 about 107,200 jobs were created in SA. From January 2007 to 2017, 62,800 jobs were created. Those 45,000 jobs have disappeared as large companies moved interstate, went offshore or closed down.
The government and ALP fellow-travellers deny these numbers and they’re not the only ones. Business reports from Deloitte, NAB, Bank SA and university think tanks all state the local economy is showing ‘green shoots’ and ‘climbing out into the light’.
Yet State Domestic Demand is sliding, 102,000 South Australians a year are queuing for food at Foodbank SA, more than 35,000 people cannot pay their electricity bills last year and white collar retrenchment is on the rise.
There must be disclaimers where there are financial relationships between the reporting organisation and the SA government. There’s no room for appeasers in the war against unemployment and poverty.
I enjoy writing targeted cover letters in partnership with clients. We have a lot of success with them. Every paragraph is a ‘punchy’ selling point, which goes to the heart of the application. Below is some good advice from Youth Central in Victoria. It’s aimed at young people but much of it also applies to older applicants.
A cover letter shouldn't be more than one page. It's only meant to be a summary of the information you put in your resume, so remember to keep things short.
Matching your cover letter to the job
Don’t use the same cover letter for different job applications. Your cover letter needs to show that you know what the job involves and what the organisation is looking for. Be as specific as you can about your skills and qualities and how they match the job or organisation's needs.
Find out who to address it to
Try not to address your letter "To Whom It May Concern" if you can. Finding out who to address your application is worth it.
Find out more about the job
Also try to contact that person so you can ask questions that can help you match your cover letter (and resume) to the job. Questions you could answer include:
Does the job involve working as part of a team?
Who would I be reporting to if I got the job?
Can you tell me more about the kind of people you're looking for?
Is there a position description I can look at?
What you should include in your cover letter
Put your name and contact details at the top of your cover letter. You don't have to give your postal address, but you do need to include your email and phone number. Make sure you'll be able to answer the number you give. Your email address should create a professional impression. Don't use an email address like email@example.com.
The name of the job you're going for
At the start of your cover letter, explain which job you're applying for. You can either do this on a line by itself, eg, Application for Stock Controller position”) or in the opening paragraph.
A list of your relevant skills
Your letter should include a brief summary that matches your skills and experiences to the job description. If you’re answering a job ad, either the ad or the position description may provide a list of skills and experiences that are essential for doing the job. It may also provide a list of “desirable” skills and experience. Address those too.
A summary of why you’re right for the job
After listing your skills and experience you should explain why these mean you’re suited to the job (for example, “The combination of my interest in AFL and my experience with book-keeping makes me ideally suited for this job.”) For examples of how to do this, visit our Sample cover letters page.
I wrote this story for the Sydney Morning Herald. I used to work at RMIT as a senior lecturer in the professional writing programs. I was interested in how far creativity could be pushed in the creation of literature. It doesn't have much to do with resume writing but did you know there are programs out now which can write resume resumes which fool the most seasoned recruiters? The rise of Artificial Intelligence has just begun.
"A hallmark of civilisation has been the drive to create unique stories that explore the human condition. Now robots are learning to write fiction. Is nothing sacred?
No computer has yet written the Great Australian Novel because they have some of the same handicaps that afflict human writers. Writing is hard. Although computers can work unhindered by free will, alcohol or divorce, such advantages are outweighed by a lack of life experience or emotions.
The murky ethics of job applications and selection criteria
Plenty to like in this article in the SMH about people professional writers to write selection criteria. We don’t. We advise and edit selection criteria but we don’t write them. How can someone write an accurate selection criteria for a structural engineer if they're not an engineer? We write in partnership with clients. In doing so, the final product is more accurate and compelling.
SMH: The murky ethics of job applications and selection criteria By Markus Mannheim 1 April 2014
Job applications and their associated dross, such as claims against selection criteria, are mostly awful documents. Many candidates who should know better can't seem to resist filling them with jargon, parroting the management phrases they think impress others.
Yet what makes these documents particularly painful to read is that so many are burnished well beyond the truth, often transparently so. This is especially uncomfortable for Australian readers, who are bred to despise tall poppies and arc up at any whiff of big-noting.
Gilding the lily while on a job hunt appears to be no great crime.
Still, it's hard to be objective about ourselves, so big-note we do. Casual work in a mail room morphs into logistics coordination. Updating a spreadsheet? That's database management. An EL1 officer once sat a few metres away from her minister at a meeting - ''demonstrated high-level liaison skills''.
Below is advice more for entry job seekers. It’s very American but there are some good things in it. As a resume writer, I use Glassdoor to investigate workplace culture for applicants who come to us. I’ve edited a few suggestions to make it more Australian.
Emphasise accomplishments, not responsibilities
This requires some creative thought and is SO important. Start making a list of all the responsibilities you had. Then, write next to each of those responsibilities the accomplishments you made in that responsibility. These will be the bullet points you use in your resume.
Managed 10 accounts in excess of $5 million annually and came in under budget by 10 percent.
Not only is the second statement rich with detail, it shows how much the applicant accomplished during their time, rather than just what their generic role was. It packs more punch.
Make it one page - but not if you’ve got great current experience
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to fit every single internship, skill, and little detail into your resume. A pruned down resume gives your big accomplishments and roles a place to shine. Also keep in mind that time is something recruiters don’t have much of.
Tailor it to applicant tracking systems
While you’d like to think your resume is going straight to a pair of human eyes, it is often first seen by an automated computer program that scans your resume for keywords and weeds out unqualified applicants. Add these keywords to your resume to help it glide through applicant tracking systems.
Create more than one resume
In today’s job market, the strength of your job application comes in its uniqueness. When you’re up against applicant tracking systems, and applicants from all over the country, you need to find a way to stand out in every single job you apply for. Set yourself apart from the pack by tailoring your skills, experience, and interests to every single job you apply for.
As hiring managers are reading resumes in an exclusively digital format, adding hyperlinks is catching on. Ensure your use of hyperlinks is appropriate to the situation. Don't over do it.
Tell a story with your resume
A resume is where you weave the story of your career trajectory. Highlight the major milestones that show your progress and learning process. Your goal is to draw the reader in, rather than make them feel like they’re reading a simple chronology.
Leave out your basic computer skills
You’re proficient at Microsoft Word and Google Search? Great, so is the rest of the pool of applicants you’re vying for the job against. Adding these skills to your resume is clear evidence that you’re trying to pad your resume because you don’t have enough skills to fill it in. Instead, there are lots of concrete skills that you can pick up quickly before a job interview instead.
Revise, revise, revise
Earlier in the year, Glassdoor highlighted the resume of Neel Somani, that got him internship offers at Google, the NSA, and more. “As with most people, my resume has undergone countless revisions,” Somani said. “My biggest piece of advice is to get feedback from as many people as you can, especially who have held positions that you’re interested in.”
Tension between the generations is not new. The young overthrow the ideas of their elders and recast them as their own, writes resume writer, Malcolm King.
“Intergenerational tension, based on inequities and access to economic opportunities, is an entirely different and far more serious matter.
We need to start an intergenerational war chest for future generations to fund infrastructure and human capital projects of their choosing. There are about 5.8 million mature age people aged 55 and over in the population. Around 2 million of them are working fulltime (1.3 million) and part time (700,000).
Of the 3.8 million not in the labour force, 2.2 million currently access the aged pension. We can expect another one million boomers to draw on the age or disability pension over the next 20 years.
The so called 'generation Y' and those born after them will be taxed to build infrastructure projects and support the ageing boomers while saving for a home and paying off HECS debt. Where's the fairness in that?”
The untold story: SA's hidden jobless and underemployed
As a professional resume writer working in business services, I know the official unemployment statistics for South Australia hides a bigger problem – massive under employment and people who have dropped out of the workforce. My story which appeared in InDaily in Adelaide, is about them.
The Maori’s navigated vast stretches of the Pacific by memorising star positions and keeping their canoes at specific angles to the waves. We navigate the economy by using statistics.
Last year there were doubts whether the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) employment and unemployment data were reliable estimates of the labour market. While Treasury and the Reserve Bank still use ABS data, they also turned to private sector measures, such as the ANZ Bank’s job ads and the National Australia Bank’s business conditions survey, to gauge the strength of the labour market.
Part of the reason was that back in July 2014, the ABS changed the ‘actively looking for work’ criteria. It dropped two criteria: registering for Centrelink as a job seeker and checking noticeboards for jobs. The two new criteria were: attending a job interview and starting your own business. The ABS thought the two it dropped and the two it added would offset each other —but this hasn’t been tested. What are the effects? We don’t know.
There are more significant problems with the ABS definition of being unemployed. The monthly Labour Force figures are created from a survey of about 26,000 households across Australia. It follows international conventions, created in the 1980s, which defined the unemployed as those people aged 15 years and over who are not employed during the reference week of the survey and “had actively looked for full-time or part-time work at any time in the four weeks up to the end of the reference week and were available for work in the reference week.”
So according to the definition, if you worked one hour per week in Adelaide, you were ‘employed’. If you worked one hour per week for one week during the survey week and were then fired, you were also employed. It’s absurd to suggest that working one hour per week means that an individual is ‘employed’, but in a statistical sense, the definition is accurate. Instead of attacking the problem of unemployment, the problem was defined away.
I’m a resume writer with a background in organisational systems (weird, I know). This story of mine was published in InDaily. About half of my clients are under 30 years of age and many are heading interstate to look for work. I thought that was worth writing about.
From 1976 to 2014 around 18-30,000 South Australians left the state each year. Many were professional couples in their 20s and 30s and university graduates.
It’s a rite of passage to leave home in search of new challenges, or to escape unemployment. But how has this ongoing exodus of young people effected the state’s artistic and political culture? What happens to innovation and organisational capability?
Expatriates are partly to blame for some of Adelaide’s economic misfortunes. Through no fault of their own, they took with them 40 years of earning and spending power. Billions of dollars left the state by train, plane and automobile.
South Australia could have tolerated the flight of human capital for three or four years but not 40. It has fundamentally changed the socio-economic make-up of the state.
From 1976-1996, the bulk of people who replaced the expatriates were unskilled or semi-skilled migrants. While the urban Vietnamese who fled the communists were a boon to the economy, in general terms, migrants didn’t have the capacity to generate capital – at least not for some years. The last 15-20 years has seen a rise in skilled migrants. Many stayed in SA although over the last few years more have moved interstate.
This is a destiny issue for the state. Back in 2000 the University of Adelaide’s Bringing Them Back Home report summed up the dilemma. “The proportion of persons with degree and diploma qualifications in the migration stream leaving South Australia is considerably higher than the proportions in the South Australian population. In terms of migrant income, more persons with relatively high income leave the State than arrive.”
Fifteen years later, nothing has changed. Youth flight and the ageing of the population has become a self-fulfilling downward spiral. As the local economy contracts, more young people leave and take with them solutions to counter the spiral.
I rarely promote other resume writers, especially Americans but this is a stand out. The best article on resume writing I've read.
How to Get Your Resume Noticed by Employers
1. Keep it simple. Boring works when it comes to most resumes. A simple format is easier for the ATS to screen and easier for recruiters to read. Save the fancy formatting for your portfolio if you’re in a design field. Review these resume formatting guidelines to get started.
2. Use a basic font. The best font to use is a simple font such as Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri. Be sure to use a font size that’s readable – 10 to 12 points works best. Use bold and italics to highlight job titles and employers.
3. Use bullets. Less is more when it comes to words on a resume. Use brief action-oriented sentences that describe your role at each employer. Here’s a list of the top words to include (and to leave off) your resume.
4. Make sure you meet the qualifications. Qualifications for being considered are usually listed at the bottom of the job ad. Make sure you have at least the minimum required qualifications to be considered. Otherwise, you’re wasting everyone’s time, your own included. Review these tips for decoding a job ad.
5. Customize your resume. Don’t send the same generic resume in for every job. Take the time to customize it by including the qualifications and skills the company is looking for (see below) so the employer knows you have the right stuff. As well as writing your resume to match the job, take a few minutes to update your job descriptions so they make the best impression.
6. Focus on your accomplishments. The employer wants to know what you accomplished, not just what you did. Focus your resume on what you achieved in each job, not your job responsibilities. Review these tips for including accomplishments on a resume.
7. Include your most relevant skills. The screening system that employers use matches your resume to a designated set of qualifications. Include keywords on your resume that match the job-specific skills the employer is seeking. You can find the skills and attributes the employer is looking for in the job posting.
8. Add a Skills Section. Adding a skills section to your resume is another good way to show that you’re qualified. Here’s what to include plus examples.
9. Make sure your resume matches the job posting. The closer a match your resume is to the job qualifications, the better your chance of getting selected for an interview. Make a list of the qualifications the employer wants, and then be sure to include as many as possible in your resume. Review these tips for matching your qualifications to a job description for an easy way to make a match.
10. Getting hired is a numbers game. Employers like to see quantifiable achievements on resumes. Include numbers wherever possible and use numbers not words when you’re listing them. For example, write 30% not thirty percent. Here’s how to include numbers on your resume.
11. Get rid of old jobs. You don’t need to include all your work experience on your resume. If you have a lengthy work history the last 10 – 15 years is plenty. You may be required to list them all on job applications, but your resume is a synopsis of your employment history, not your life story.
12. Get rid of non-essential information. Your resume is professional, not personal. You should not include information about your personal life, family or hobbies or anything else not related to work.
13. Add information. If your resume is light on paid full-time work experience that qualifies you for the job, it’s fine to add internships, part-time jobs, and volunteer experience.
14. Move the Education section to the bottom. Focus on your work experience (typically in reverse chronological order) then put your education and other information at the bottom of your resume. You don’t need to include high school or your GPA if it’s been a while since you graduated. Here’s when to take your GPA off your resume.
15. Add a headline or profile. A brief eye-catching headline or profile is a great way to grab the reader’s attention. Be sure that it focuses on what you can offer the employer, not on what you want from a job. Here’s information on including a profile instead of an objective on a resume.
16. Match your resume to LinkedIn. It’s a good idea to include the URL of your LinkedIn profile on your resume. It’s even better if you personalize your LinkedIn URL, so it includes your name. Do take the time to make sure your resume matches your LinkedIn profile because employers will check.
17. Check for typos. Resume errors matter, and don’t think a spelling or grammatical error won’t get picked up. Unfortunately, the mistake will jump right off the page and get noticed. Grammarly is a terrific tool for making sure that your resume and cover letters are perfect.
18. Give it a recognizable name. Don’t call your resume “resume” – take a second or two to personalize the file name to FirstLastNameResume.doc – that way it’s clearly recognizable as your resume to recruiters and hiring managers.
19. Save it as a PDF. If you save your resume as a PDF, you won’t have to worry about funky formatting or the recruiter seeing a garbled mess. Unless the employer requires a different format, send a PDF so readers can view your resume exactly as you want it to look. Here are 11 free tools you can use to convert your resume to a PDF file.
20. Add a cover letter. A cover letter, even if it’s not required, is the best way to highlight the specific qualifications you have for the job. You can use your cover letter to focus on the experience that best suits you for the job. Here’s how to write a cover letter for a resume.
21. Use a connection. Getting your resume into the hands of the right person can help you get an interview. Your goal is to get your resume read and knowing someone who can help that happen will make a big difference in the outcome of your application. Referrals are the number one source of new hires, and here’s how to get one.
I’d just written my 2000 resume and an increasing number of young people had contacted me about getting out of Adelaide. They wanted work in Sydney and Melbourne. This story which was published in Opinion Online in 2016. It is aimed at the adventurous young people.
It took me more than 25 years after the great Sturt player Tony 'Doc' Clarkson pulled me bawling in the world, to realise that if I was going to be a writer and journalist, then I'd have to leave Adelaide. It's a familiar story in South Australia.
I headed to Melbourne and overseas and returned more than 20 years later to help my wife look after her ageing parents. I found Adelaide a fearful and parochial city, completely at odds with a modern city of the Commonwealth. This story is for Adelaide's young people.
Your questions about the future were mine 30 years ago. I was a labourer and forklift driver in the early 1980s. Since leaving Adelaide, I have worked as a journalist, academic and employment adviser in Melbourne and Canberra.
Should you stay in Adelaide or go? Working or studying interstate or overseas isn't for everybody. You leave your friends and family but in doing so, you get new skills and capabilities that others can only dream of.
This makes you 'dangerous' because when you return – if you return – you've acquired national or international standards, making you more qualified than those doing the hiring. Adelaide will need your experience in the years to come and here is why.
The following statistics are 'spin free'. The Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) under utilisation of labour rate adds the number of unemployed and the under employed people.
In SA, that's about 17.9 per cent (trend) or 156,000 people of the 815,000 people in the state's labour force. This figure is rising. The number of hidden unemployed – those who have given up looking for work - is around 30,000 people, mostly males. This is an economic disaster unparalleled in the state's history.
For 30 years Liberal and Labor governments in SA did nothing to educate the public on why and how the economy needed to change. Every government lie, every contorted truth, is being visited upon a confused and increasingly angry citizenry, who have found a flimsy shelter in parochialism.
This story was written when a resume writing client came to Republic Resumes and complained about how she had been ripped off by her employer. It first appeared earlier this year in InDaily, where I am a contributing writer.
Extraordinary evidence is emerging from the banking royal commission, confirming what many already know, that some banks and financial institutions have gone to great lengths to rip off their customers.
There are also growing reports that some small businesses are stealing the wages of young employees and migrants and paying them less than ten dollars an hour. This breakdown in trust is unparalleled in Australian economic history. Youth wage theft and corporate greed differs only in scale.
Young workers comprise 16 per cent of the workforce but account for 25 per cent (27,000) of requests for help from the Fair Work Ombudsman. In 2016, just under half of the litigations involved young people. If Fair Work was properly resourced, prosecutions would double.
While many South Australian businesses pay their workers fairly and legally, during the past 20 years some employers, including in the trades, hospitality and agricultural industries, have ‘redistributed’ young workers’ pay into their own pockets.
Contrary to what employer groups say, most wage thefts are committed with forethought and by design.
In February this year, the SA Employment Tribunal awarded six Adelaide electrical tradesmen $55,145 in back pay and superannuation, after it found their employers had underpaid them. It fined the company $120,000.
Another local business was fined $73,425. It had underpaid seven employees for a decade. A recent Senate inquiry heard that some 7-Eleven franchises had forced recent migrant workers to pay back wages, even though there were no over payments.
Desperate young people are using labour hire companies to find work. They receive text messages the day before they are required to work, sometimes for just one shift. They can’t bargain for better conditions or gain security of employment to get a car or home loan.
I started Republic Resumes up many years ago. Back then, I saw people face-to-face. Now I work fully online as a resume and cover letter writer, focusing on the Adelaide and Canberra job markets. This story originally appeared in Opinion Online but was also rewritten for other media.
Around 700,000 Australians are in a formal teleworking arrangement with their employer. Many are women, sole traders and Boomers.
The benefits of teleworking to South Australian and ACT employers and employees are not in dispute. A 2013 Melbourne University study found that teleworkers got more done and had less distractions than office workers. Companies with teleworkers experienced lower staff turnover.
Even so, in Adelaide there's an enduring assumption that being present equals commitment. This may be true for staff who need supervision or those working in line manufacturing or 'on the tools' – but commitment and attendance are two different things.
Some businesses frown on teleworking, stating that personal collaboration is more conducive to creating 'magical moments' – those serendipitous meetings of staff who solve problems standing around the water cooler. This is an HR fantasy.
Geographically distant online teams are the norm for many corporations in Europe and the US and they will be here too.
The great bonus for self-directed staff working from home is focus. This is what the best employers want – the ability of staff to draw upon their deepest capabilities to solve complex problems and produce high order work.
Another benefit is traffic reduction. More than 200,000 vehicles enter and leave Adelaide every day. A recent Australian Infrastructure Audit said that without new investment in infrastructure, "car travel times are expected to increase by at least 20 per cent in the most congested corridors".
The RAA predicted that drivers on the most congested routes might spend up to an extra 50 hours a year in their cars. What a colossal waste of petrol, money and time. If one in 10 Adelaide workers teleworked two or three days a week, traffic speed would increase dramatically and traffic snarls would vanish.
Instead of the state and federal governments spending billions of dollars on SA roads over the next 20 years, that money could be spent on long-term job creation. We'll need it as the state drifts in to mass unemployment.