Resume Writing: Work Experience Section
If you are going to do a survey to find out what resumes are all about people will likely say it is a document highlighting one’s professional experience. And it is true, the core of every CV, resume or even cover letter is professional experience. Of course there are other things like education, trainings, skills, technical proficiency, languages, etc… But when you sit down to write your resume there is one thing you really think about – it is how you organize the work experience section. You know employers can get along with the fact that you don’t have the skills section or even that you don’t have any information about your education. However, if you leave out your work experience you will find yourself ignored by employers.
How to Write a Work Experience Section?
First and foremost, you have to know that not all of your employments may be interesting for potential employers. No matter how sentimental you get when remembering how your work in the role of a general manager 20 years ago and no matter how good you feel about certain jobs that you had in the past, it is not the reason to put everything onto your resume. The thing is that people reading your resume will unlikely have the same feelings when reviewing your job application documents. Therefore, lesson #1 – be careful when choosing what you include into your resume. List the jobs that you had for past 10-12 years (no need to go beyond that). Concentrate on those employments which are relevant to the applying position. These two recommendations could significantly help you meet employers’ expectations regarding your resume.
Now when you know what jobs you are putting on your resume you have to know how to structure each and every employment. We recommend starting with the name of the company you worked for and its location. This is how the first line should look like. Start the second line with the job title followed by the dates of employment. Under these two lines describe what you accomplished and how you did it. The best way is to list your accomplishments in the form of bullet points. We focus on accomplishments because that’s what will help you stand out against the crowd. Think of something you did for the company that improved its efficiency, earned extra $ for the organization, etc… Routine duties make no impression on employers so you have to find something that would differentiate your from other candidates. Also, make sure your jobs are listed in a reverse chronological order.
Another thing to keep in mind when writing a work experience section – don’t go into long descriptions of what you did. First of all, large portions of text under the job title don’t look very attractive. Secondly, no one has time to read a half-page long description for one job. Stick to 4-6 bullet points/sentences. It is more than enough to list some of the most relevant things about what you did for the company. Lastly, use more keywords and action words. This will help you to get past an applicant tracking software if there is one in the company you are applying for.