Top recruiter shares resume tips
The Sector > Jobs News > Top recruiter shares tips on how to make your ECEC resume stand out

Top recruiter shares tips on how to make your ECEC resume stand out

by Freya Lucas

June 09, 2023

In a competitive job market it’s important to take steps to make sure you stand out from the crowd. For some hints and tips about creating a stellar resume we connected with education professional of nearly 20 years, Barbi Clendining, Co-Founder of Firefly HR, a recruiter who specialises in early childhood education and outside school hours care. 


“We’ve seen a lot of resumes, over 7,000,” she began, “and all of them are so different.”


Exposure to so many different resumes has given her great insight about what to include in an early childhood education and care (ECEC) resume, and what to leave out. 


Personal statement / personal educational philosophy 


“This can be a simple sentence, paragraph, mindmap (for the creatives perhaps) or a diagram,” she said, “but in essence, it’s sharing your why – why do you do what you do? What do you want to get out of your work life?”


For many in the education and care space, it is something revolving around children – whether that’s being a positive role model, fostering connectedness, creating lasting positive change, instiling some form of education or perspective, or wanting to transform the wellbeing of others. 


“I always recommend this area and at the start of a resume – it is to catch the employer in with your why and to keep reading more about you,” Barbi said. 



“I always recommend this to educators and other professionals. Jump on LinkedIn! Many of us are not on it and it is a great place to start. It can be used as a digital resume profile to help employers verify your experience and who you are professionally.”


Barbi recommends including your LinkedIn profile link in your resume, to guide your would-be employer in the right direction. 


“LinkedIn is also a great way to network with other educators, recruiters and service leaders and keep up with trends in the profession and changes,” she added.

Social media


Being conscious of your social media footprint is a good idea at any time, but especially when seeking a new role. 


“There is an option on Facebook to view what others can see when they visit your page. If your page is not private, have a think of what others can see – would it affect you getting a position?”


Change it up

Have you had the same resume for the last 10 years? Perhaps it is time for an update! 


“Give it a fresh new look, start from scratch and write it again with a more current and relevant perspective instead of just adding your most recent position,” Barbi said. 


“How can you show your personality and personal philosophy through your resume? Maybe you will include some pops of colour, a photo of yourself or a philosophy statement (as stated in the first point).”


Check for relevance 


Your front counter role at McDonalds when you were 15 years old may have been where your work story began, but is that relevant for the role you’re seeking today? 


Barbi’s advice is to ensure your resume is relevant to the position you are applying for. 


“I remember having two separate resumes depending which type of position I was applying for,” she shared “as I did not want all my experience all in one document.”




“There are some cool (and free!) templates out there. Have a google or check out some of the templates on Word,” Barbi recommends. 


“What is making you stand out from the other resumes? It is really important to showcase you, your personality and your philosophy. Don’t make it complicated, keep it simple and of course relevant to the position applied for.”


Spelling and grammar 


It may seem obvious, but one of the biggest errors spotted in resumes which cross the Firefly HR desk is issues with spelling and grammar. 


“Do a spell check before sending your resume off to an employer. Send your resume to a friend or family member to have a look over for some fresh eyes, do what you need to do, but please, double check the spelling and grammar you’re putting forward,” Barbi said. 


“Employers see this straight away and it can show a lack of attention to detail which is often needed in our line of work.”


Logical order 


Listing your most recent experience, or your current role first, and working your way backwards is the best way to go, Barbi explained. 


“Often it is your most recent experience that is the relevant experience that an employer will be looking for, so putting that early on in your resume works best,” she said. 


Tailor your resume to suit the role

Do you submit the exact same resume to each job you apply for? 


“A personal touch can always be seen and is often missing,” Barbi said. 


“Employers can tell if you have put in effort applying for the position. Have you tailored the content for the position? Have you tweaked the summary? Have you made sure to include all that is suited to the position applied for? You could include reference to the specific company, perhaps comment on the company’s philosophy and how it aligns with yours.”


Cover letter 


Most positions will still request a cover letter along with your resume, and this can be a way to show how you’re the best person to fill the specific criteria outlined in the job advertisement.

“It’s an extra chance for you to impress an employer and show that effort again,” Barbi said.


“What would you want? It helps to think of if you were on the other side and hiring – what would you want to see from an applicant?”


Think about the length

“I’ve seen amazing resumes that are only one page, so it can be done,” Barbi said. 


“Resumes tend to be best between one to three pages so avoid going over that. You can have a brief one and then another document ready to submit with further information if needed. You can control the length by ensuring you tailor resumes to positions applied for and only including the information needed.”



If you include references in your resume, ensure the reference is relevant and provide information on who they are (how they know you, position, workplace) and include a current phone number and email address. 


“Don’t forget to let your references know prior to including them. This is a must,” Barbi warned. 


Be accurate 


Another common set of errors the Firefly HR team sees in resumes are the small but important mistakes when referring to specific ECEC elements. 

For example, spelling ACECQA wrong, referencing the National Quality Frameworks (not Framework, as it should be), or using the wrong job title for roles which you have held.

“This is another area where we commonly see errors and many employers will question your knowledge when they see this,” Barbi said. 


Keywords and knowledge


When submitting your resume, make sure you’re mirroring best practice in the language of the ECEC sector. The ECA document How to talk about early childhood education and care outlines some important considerations such as avoiding the word ‘kids’ (choose children), ‘industry’ (choose sector or profession), and ‘childcare worker’ (chose educator, or early childhood teacher.) 

Showing that you’re invested in your own professional development can also highlight your value as a candidate, Barbi said. 


She recommends including professional development sessions you have attended, and other ways in which you keep up with what’s happening in the ECEC sector.



Barbi’s final tip is to be sure to include information about any training you have done which is specific to safeguarding children. 


As we work in a profession that deals with some of our most vulnerable citizens, what have you included in your resume that shows your dedication and understanding of this area and knowledge of the Child Safe Standards/National Principles?” she asked. 


Also include relevant certifications such as First Aid, Certificate III or Diploma, and any other certifications of note. 


Want to catch up with Barbi in person? For those of you in Sydney, on Monday 19 June from 11am – 1pm, Firefly HR have organised a free OSHC Educator Open Day in collaboration with South Turramurra OOSH where you can catch her and network with other educators and professionals.


Visit Firefly HR’s website for more information

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