Here’s How to Write Your Resume Work Experience Section
By Melissa Ricker
Your resume is your personal marketing tool. Until you get in for an interview, that piece of paper is all you have to show what type of employee you could be. An employer is most interested in your capabilities and work experience when they are considering hiring you for an open position. Often they will skip right over everything else and jump to your work experience section. This portion of your resume will outline your employment history and key responsibilities you have held in the past. Your work experience section will effectively make or break your shot at scoring an interview. Because of this, the work experience section of your resume is the most important piece.
Information to Include in Your Work Experience Section
Your resume work experience section should include several pieces of information. Each of these pieces are essential.
- Names of organizations – Include the full name of the organization in which you worked. Include departments or subcategories only if it adds value.
- Position/Title – List the full title you held at each position.
- Employment Period – List the month and year you began the position and the month and year you left the position. Employers are interested in the duration of each job you list in your employment history.
- Brief Description of your job duties. List major responsibilities in bullets under each position. Only include relevant information.
Tips for Writing your Employment History
Be Relevant: Your resume is your marketing tool. You are selling yourself so your employment history should effectively market you. Tailor your work experience section to the position you are applying for. Ensure that every point you write is relevant to the specific job. No matter what your employment history is, remember that you always learn skills at a job. Even if you do not have a lot of work experience under your belt, you can effectively market what you did learn.
For example, waiting tables at a local restaurant taught you the following:
- Professionally handle conflict while maintaining customer satisfaction
- Work efficiently in a team environment
- Perform competently in a fast paced setting
Be Honest: It can be tempting to stretch the truth on your work experience section of your resume. After all, most recruiters will not verify every detail. However, hiring managers will ask detailed questions on the content from your resume, and some do verify the information you list. If you cannot answer their questions or you are caught in a lie, you will certainly lose out on the job opportunity.
Quantify Results: Include measurable results of your work. If you increased the client base at your previous job, list it and put numbers to it. Numbers make a much stronger impact than words. Instead of saying you significantly increased client base, try putting some actual numbers to it. “Tripled client base from 1,000 to 3,000 from 2015 to 2016.”
Formatting your Resume Work Experience Section
The formatting of your employment history may not seem like a big deal, but it is critical. Employers and recruiters skim resumes. The information you want them to see needs to jump right out at them and set you apart from other potential candidates. While the words will be crucial, the formatting also helps with this. Here are a few tips to successfully format your work experience section of your resume.
- Use columns to conserve space. Consider putting the company name in the left-hand column, location in the middle, and employment dates in the right-hand column.
- Do not use full sentences. Real estate is limited. Full sentences are not needed and actually distract recruiters.
- Use strong action words to reflect your impact. While you should not use a thesaurus for every word, make sure your job description has strong action verbs.
The work experience section of your resume is the most important piece of the puzzle for hiring managers and recruiters. Put thought into this section, and update it for each position you apply for to give yourself the best chance at landing an interview.
Melissa Ricker is an Engineering Manager and Writer who covers career topics for JobHero.
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