Writing a résumé or curriculum vitae (CV)
Tips for tertiary students with neurodivergent conditions
Your résumé is your opportunity to highlight to an employer the skills, knowledge and experience you have to offer.
Below are some tips for what to include in your résumé, how to present it, and examples of employability skills that employers look for.
Employability skills and strengths
- Before you start, think about your individual strengths, skills and abilities. Irrespective of whether you are comfortable in sharing your neurodivergent condition, consider what unique strengths your neurodivergence gives you in the workplace. Watch this video of neurodivergent HSBC employees sharing their experiences and unique skills for some ideas.
Here are some of the core employability skills that employers look for. Consider which ones apply to you:
- Problem solver
- Strategic thinker
- Lateral thinker (thinks outside of the box)
- Highly committed to work
- Attention to detail
- Visual thinker
- Analytical skills
- Aptitude for numbers
- Don’t forget transferable skills. It is easy to forget about the skills we develop from work, education, sports, hobbies and our lives at home. Revisit the skills list and highlight the ones you can demonstrate using your broader experience.
What information should I include in my résumé?
- Make sure your email address and phone number are correct and positioned at the top of your résumé.
- Avoid pictures and personal information such as date of birth and marital status. Many large organisations use applicant tracking systems (ATS) as part of their recruitment These systems check for keywords (employability skills) and often do not cope with pictures. Avoid graphics unless applying for a role in the design or creative industries.
- List experiences (work/extracurricular/club membership) in reverse chronological order. Start with the most recent experience. If you have experiences that are more relevant to the job you are applying for, consider having a section called “Relevant Experience” followed by an “Other Experience” section. All experiences should include the date (month and year).
- Include your qualifications and training. Name your course of study and year of study. Many employers are willing to employ you if you are towards the end of your degree, so you do not have to wait until you have finished. List study you have done through workshops or online courses as these demonstrate a commitment to ongoing learning.
- Provide examples of your skills, responsibilities and achievements. In addition to the list, include some statements about what you did. Here is an example:
As a mentor to other students, I demonstrated highly developed listening and problem-solving skills as well as leadership abilities.
- List two referees at the end of your résumé. Include name, job title, company and contact details. These can be contacts from jobs, volunteer work or hobbies, or from your tutors and/or lecturers. Remember to ask people whether they are happy to act as a referee and to let them know if you apply for a job.
- Make your résumé a living document and tailor it to each job. Update it every time you have a new work experience, develop a new skill or strength, or engage in new volunteering activities.
How to present and layout your résumé
- Length and layout. Aim to keep your résumé to a maximum of one to two pages in length. Avoid lots of empty space and use headings.
- Use a font such as Calibri or Arial and keep the font size at 11 or 12pt.
- Look-up résumé templates. Find ready-to-go templates on MS Word, or from your university careers centre.
- Visit your university careers centre website for more advice on applying for jobs.
The Neurodiversity Hub provides programs and materials to support students with neurodivergent conditions in developing life skills and becoming work ready.
The above content is available for download as a Word and/or PDF document.