You’ve probably seen lots of websites offering stock-standard resume advice, but it’s not enough to simply have consistent formatting and have included all the expected sections. Some experts say you should have a career objective, that you should highlight your key skills, and identify a few achievements. This is all great advice, but it doesn’t speak to particular industries – and it’s a different story for each of them.
In our highly competitive global marketplace, where more of us are getting degrees than ever before, you need to make sure you stand out from your fellow alumni. Graduates can’t simply cast a standard resume off and wait for a bite.
A sure way to get your first gig is to make sure you understand the needs of your industry and tailor your resume carefully. Do this and recruiters won’t just take a second look – they’ll think you’re answering their prayers.
We’ve consulted with recruiters and industry heavyweights to give you some clear direction. Don’t stress if your resume is a bit light in the experience department – recruiters aren’t expecting new graduates to have already done everything straight out of the classroom, but they do want to see that you have transferable skills and understand the world you’re trying to get into.
Most importantly, don’t lose heart too quickly. New research published by Graduate Careers Australia (GCA) has shown that employment rates for bachelor degree graduates improve notably in the first few years after graduation.
Now that you’re prepared for the task, find your industry below to set yourself on the path to getting noticed. You can also see our sample resumes and cover letters to get you started, and don’t forget that your university careers advisor is also there to help.
Click on your industry below to see specific tips for your resume.
If you’re looking to get into the creative industries then you will need to look a little deeper than SEEK. These boutique industries are looking for graduates who are connected with what’s going on in their scene and they often advertise in niche publications and on industry-specific websites. They also expect to be able to find your work online.
Accountants are involved at all levels of business. Today’s employers not only want to know that you can come up with the numbers, they want to know that you’re able to communicate what they mean. As Gavin Houchell, managing director of Ambition Finance, says:
‘Employers no longer want “number crunchers”, they are looking for a “CEO-in-waiting” and they’ll pay more to get what they want.’
For engineering graduates it’s all about showing how you can apply your knowledge to real situations. Melissa Johnson from Ergon Energy gives this advice:
‘You don’t need to get distinctions in every subject. We are looking for team players, people who can deal with conflict, and can adjust quickly to new environments. We are also looking for good communicators. It is important to be able to communicate with non-technical people.’
Over the next five years the health and social services industry is expected to provide more jobs than any other industry, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to put your best foot forward.
IT is competitive and you need to do your time working face-to-face. As Daniel Buckley from Hays IT Recruitment says:
‘Don’t try and get into contracting without some real experience behind you first … Graduate positions provide a lot of experience in terms of understanding “company etiquette”, how to work in a business, and how to get along with people, which you won’t necessarily get through academic experience.’
For anyone with a law degree, intelligence is pretty much a given. But when it comes to getting a position after graduation, it’s emotional intelligence that firms are looking for. Brendan Bateman, partner at Clayton Utz, is clear on this:
‘Law is an evolving discipline so it does not pay to be obsessed by detail … What we’re looking for are people who can think for themselves and who can exercise commonsense and judgment … Being obsessed with saying “I am a lawyer” does not usually translate into being able to work successfully in a business environment.’
At this time of change there are far more communications graduates than jobs, so you need to be on your game if you’re going to get a start – and that involves writing more than just your resume. The good news is that there are more ways to get your writing out there than ever before, so what are you waiting for?
Science is an exacting discipline, but giving a step-by-step account of your projects in scientific detail is not going to give the recruiter what they are looking for. They need to know about your ability to innovate, problem-solve and communicate, not the details of your experiments.