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Resume writing for school leavers

School students looking for part time work, or leavers transitioning into full time work, need to make the most of their resume to be successful in their job hunt.

A resume is a marketing document that sells a product, in this case, the school leaver and so it is important that it includes skills, attributes and strengths as well as previous experience that will appeal to a future employer.

Melbourne based careers expert Warren Frehse has some helpful tips to kick off with.

"A resume should definitely have a full name, address and contact number usually a mobile so that the person can be traced fast and an email address."

Frehse suggests including a personal profile that should detail who the person is and all the best points, qualities and experience that would make them appeal to an employer even without any work experience.

"People under estimate what an employer wants to see. People tend to say 'I haven't done anything' when they have acquired important skills and experience through volunteer work or sporting clubs or profitable hobbies," he said.

"Employers are also interested in the qualities of people. Counting cash at the footie club shows you're trustworthy and honest and would be good experience for retail."

Frehse recommends including a concise list of competencies under a 'Skills' heading.

"Bring up skills such as writing minutes, allocating tasks or correspondence you had to undertake for a club or group."

Beneath an 'Education' title include the dates you started and finished school as well as the names of the schools you attended. Make sure you put down any important exams or subjects you have taken and awards you may have received.

Document your extra curricular activities and hobbies. Whether you were a member of a school team, part of an acting group or in the orchestra it is all evidence of being able to work as part of a team or your creativity, dedication and reliability.

List any work experience including jobs like babysitting or newspaper rounds and any community work, volunteer work or club involvement. With bullet points highlight what the position entailed and what was learned or gained from doing it.

According to Frehse "employers want to see examples of leadership or where you have taken initiative by changing something for example putting all the trophies up at the sports club."

Referees should be the last thing on the resume and should be listed with switchboard numbers rather than mobile numbers. If they are not from another part time job they will be "personal" referees.

"People you know well in the community, someone who can assess your character," advises Frehse.

Finally make sure the resume is no longer than two pages, does not contain a stupid email address that might put off an employer and most importantly there are no spelling mistakes.

By Zsa-Zsa Bowie Wilson, careerone.com.au, May 5 2006.

For more useful tips read the other stories in the Job Hunting Strategy section.

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