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How to Describe Work Experience on a Resume: Practical Tips & Examples

When reviewing job applications, recruiters and hiring managers spend most of their time looking for relevant skills and experiences in the resume work experience section.


Considering this, it's no surprise that the work history is a core element of any resume.


So, to create a successful resume that impresses employers and leads to interviews, this section of your resume needs to be nothing short of perfect.


To help you write an impeccable work experience section, in this guide, we'll cover:

In short, we'll share all the information you need to write a work history section that sets you apart from other candidates.


Ready? Let's dive into it.




 


What should be included in the work experience section?


The main purpose of the work experience section is pretty straightforward - it's a place on a resume where you list your employment history.


The work experience section should, at a minimum, include:

  • job title

  • company name

  • job's start and end date (preferably both month and year)

  • descriptions of your responsibilities and achievements

It should look like this:



In addition to a basic description of your role, duties, and skills, go ahead and include any notable accomplishments or contributions to that company.


The more impressive your work experience sounds, the better chances are that you'll be invited to an interview.



 


How to list work experience on a resume?


Listing work experience in reverse-chronological order is the most common -- and preferred way of organizing work history on a resume.


This approach may seem counterintuitive at first. However, this is how the experience is typically presented on resumes.


Think about it from the reader's perspective.


When employers receive hundreds of job applications to review, they want to scan them quickly, focusing first on the most important information showing whether a candidate meets the job requirements.


They usually look for this proof in the work experience section among recent experiences. So, they expect to see this information at the beginning of a resume rather than at its end.


So, when listing experience on your resume, start with your current or most recent job first.


Follow it with your previous job(s) going back to the beginning of your career.


Depending on the resume format (coming soon), there may be other ways the work chronology can be presented. However, reverse-chronological order works best in 99% of cases.



 


How to format the experience section?


The work experience section should be formatted in a way that makes it easy to scan quickly.


The best way to do it is to list your responsibilities and achievements in bullet points.


Bulleted lists allow you to include all the necessary information in an organized and compact way, making it easier to include all of your experience in a limited amount of space without appearing wordy.


Bulleted lists allow you to include all the necessary information in a compact way, making it easier to include all of your experience in a limited amount of space without appearing wordy.

Since bulleted job descriptions are easier to comprehend and quicker to scan than lengthy sentences and dense paragraphs, they also make this section easier for a potential employer to read.



 


How to Write Powerful Resume Bullet Points?


Since they entail essential information about your experience, bullet points are the heart of a resume.


When reading through job applications, employers focus their attention on the bulleted lists of responsibilities and accomplishments, which provide most of the content and context for your resume.


This content (i.e. the resume bullets) will distinguish an average resume from a competitive one, determining the outcome of a job application.


As such, writing strong bullet points is key to a resume's success.


Writing strong bullet points is key to a resume's success.

The first step to writing more effective bullet points is recognizing that resume job descriptions can and should be more than just a list of the tasks and responsibilities you managed in a particular role.


Instead, they should be accomplishment-focused statements.


Here are a few effective strategies to make your bullet points -- and your resume stand out:

Let's dig deeper into each of these suggestions.


 


Quantify your work and achievements where possible.


Instead of merely describing your tasks and responsibilities, focus on your results and accomplishments.


In a resume, numbers give weight and credence.


Even if it’s just a rough estimate, a number turns a claim into a fact and pops off the page. So, quantify your work and achievements where possible.


Did you save time or reduced costs by improving processes? Did you manage multiple projects or big teams? Did you contribute to an increase in sales or customer satisfaction?


Think about measures of success in your job and see how you can incorporate them into your resume.



WRONG: increased customer satisfaction


RIGHT: increased customer satisfaction by 21% through bespoke advice