How to Prepare an Australian CV: The Complete Guide

Last Updated, 22 April 2024
Written by <a href="" target="_self">Nicole Wren</a>

Written by Nicole Wren

picture of 3 CVs sprawled out on a table with a magnifying glass

How to Prepare an Australian CV: The Complete Guide

by | Apr 22, 2024 | Writing Advice

If you’re new to Australia and about to start job hunting, understanding the ins and outs of the Australian CV style and format is essential. You probably already know that Australia differs from other countries in terms of CV expectations. In this ultimate guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about creating a winning Australian CV tailored specifically for the unique requirements of the Australian job market.

Is it ‘CV’ or ‘Resume’ in Australia?

A CV, short for Curriculum Vitae, is a detailed document outlining an individual’s educational background, work experience, skills, achievements, and other relevant information. In Australia, the term ‘CV’ is often used interchangeably with the term ‘resume’. In this article, we’ll discuss it in that context. However, there are some industries in Australia where a true ‘CV’ is required, such as academic positions at universities. True ‘CVs’ are expected to be longer and include more detailed information about a candidate’s experience.

Australian CV Style and Length

In Australia, the expected length of your CV may differ depending on your industry and experience level. An early career resume should be 2 pages. An experienced professional may require 2-3 pages. A senior executive may need 3-5 pages. Few employers will expect a CV that is longer than this.

The preferred Australian CV style is usually reverse chronological. This is where you list all your employment experience, starting with your most recent roles. Likewise, you should list all of your qualifications, starting with your most recent.  

Australian CV Format

Your Australian CV should include the following sections, in this order:

Personal Details

Include your name, phone number, email address and LinkedIn profile (if you have one). Include a summary job title e.g., Engineer or Customer Service Professional (make sure these fits with both your career history and the role you are applying for). If you are not yet located in Australia, and/or if all your employment experience is outside of Australia, mentioning your visa status will be important in this section, also. A secured visa will substantially enhance your job prospects.

Profile and Key Skills

You should mention some of your key skills, and what you are seeking in a role. Make sure these are relevant to the role you are applying for. Be careful about including any ‘fluff’ in this section, or generic skills. Australian employers prefer CVs which are concise and ‘to the point’.

Awards and Distinctions

Awards and distinctions can help you stand out amongst the competition. Arrange your awards and distinctions in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent ones. For each award or distinction, provide relevant details such as the name of the award, the organisation or institution presenting the award and the date received. If an award might be unfamiliar to employers outside of a specific industry or context, briefly explain the significance of the award and why it’s relevant to your qualifications or accomplishments.

Education and Qualifications

Detail all your relevant qualifications and education. Include where you obtained the qualifications (e.g. which university) and which year. Leave off qualifications that are irrelevant to the role, or very outdated. You can also list your driving licence and certifications in this section.

Employment Experience and Achievements

Detail your employment history in reverse chronological order. Discuss your achievements or accomplishments especially when they are relevant to the role you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a project management role that requires experience in project management methodologies, highlight achievements relevant to this. You should use bullet points. Try to incorporate some achievements that demonstrate your soft skills, too.  Australian employers place a high value on ‘cultural fit’ within an organisation. Soft skills like communication, teamwork and collaboration will help demonstrate to employers that you will be a good fit for their organisation, even if you may lack certain technical skills.

Volunteer Roles

Include any relevant volunteer roles or community engagement. For example, a finance officer may mention volunteer work as a treasurer of a school committee. Volunteer work can also further emphasise your soft skills, and potential cultural fit within an organisation.


In an Australian CV, you should include two referees. Include their names, positions, organisations, and contact details.

What to Avoid In Your Australian CV

When it comes to Australian CVs, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Use Australian English (not American English as many word processing software systems use as their default). This means using the ‘s’ form instead of the ‘z’ form for many words e.g. organisation, not organization.
  • Don’t include a photo, it’s simply not necessary in an Australian CV, unless you are applying for particular roles such as modelling or presenting where your looks are relevant.
  • Avoid any employment gaps. Explain any times you’ve been out of employment, for example if you’ve been studying, travelling or caring for others, you should (briefly) document this.
  • Each time you apply for a role, you should adjust your Australian CV to suit. This means reflecting the skills, experience and keywords that the job ad is calling for.

Australian CV Writing Services

If you unsure about navigating the nuances of the Australian CV style and format on your own, you may wish to take advantage of the many Australian CV writing services. An effective CV writer will be able to highlight your unique skills and experiences effectively, whilst adhering to the required Australian CV format and style.

CV XYZ Method

The CV XYZ Method is a method that many Australian employers prefer candidates to use to discuss their achievements. It stands for:

X: What was achieved?

Y: How was it measured?

Z: How was it achieved?

CV Keywords and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

When writing your Australian CV, be sure to include relevant Applicant Tracking System (ATS) keywords. Put simply, this means incorporating the keywords used throughout the job ad within your CV.  This will to increase your chances of passing through Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) used by many Australian employers. Check out our in-depth guide to ATS keywords here.

Cover Letter Writing

While a CV is essential, a well-crafted cover letter can also significantly boost your job application. Your cover letter is where you should specifically address the requirements set out in the job ad, as well as explain your motivation for applying for a role.

We hope you’re now equipped with the knowledge and resources needed to craft an impressive Australian CV in the correct Australian format that will catch the attention of employers. We are on hand to assist if you have any further queries. Contact us for a chat!

Nicole Wren

Nicole Wren

Senior Writer

Nicole is the principal resume writer at Resumes to Impress. Nicole loves writing and sharing her knowledge about all things job hunting and career guidance.

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