Employers require job candidates to submit their resume to eradicate unqualified candidates for advertised roles. Smart candidates know that their resumes have to be customized to help the prospective employer determine if they are qualified for the job.
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A well-written work experience column/section in a resume has to quickly highlight a candidate's suitability for the role. A well-written work history on a resume is crucial because it demonstrates that the candidate possesses the necessary qualifications to be an asset to a prospective employer. Additionally, it can offer substantial information concerning the candidate in a concise manner.
Numerous employees view work experience in resumes as perhaps the most integral aspect of a resume. To have a brief overview of a candidate's employment history, the work experience section is the first section read by a prospective employer. Getting an interviewer hinges on the work experience column/section in a resume is very crucial and this is why it has to consist of relevant points which prove that you are indeed the most qualified candidate for the role out of the hundreds applying for it.
To this end, you have to create a work experience section. This section contains all paid and unpaid work. However, it is important to highlight paid work first before delving into any volunteer opportunities you have had.
Before we move on, there are a couple of things essential to your work experience in resumes that have to be included.
It is best if your resume is a page long. It can be two pages if you are applying for an executive role or you have a lot of experience. The reason why your resume should not exceed one page is simply that it has to be concise.
An important aspect of your work experience section is to find the most effective manner to list the contributions you have made to that organization. Be concise and accurate. Highlight the most important information pertaining to the prospective role and work your way down. Ensure your responsibilities are under 10 bullet points, however, this is dependent on how long you retained the role. Try to avoid hyperbole and wordiness. Generally, employ brevity.
📚Further reading: How Long Should a Resume Be? - Ideal Resume Length, Guide & Tips
Now, let's take a look at how to effectively write work experience in a resume.
Irrespective of the resume format being used, your work experience column/section in resume has to be generally ordered in a reverse chronological order. This means that the most recent role is at the top. When your work experience is listed out of order, it can become quite difficult for any HR manager or recruiter to get an overall idea of your experience trajectory.
You should have subheadings for your work experience and they must contain the information below:
There are numerous ways this information can be arranged. Some formats require you to highlight the job role and period first, for instance:
Content Manager, July 2016 - Present
XYZ Corp, New York
For most ATSs, it's best to keep the main heading simple and concise; 'Professional Experience' or 'Work Experience' will suffice. Additionally, using a subheading sequence tends to work most effectively for the majority of systems. Using the job title, company name, job location, beginning and end dates in a MM/YYYY format.
💡Pro tip: There are certain ATSs (applicant tracking systems) automatically parse resume information, transforming it into a digital candidate profile. The moment an applicant tracking system is unable to accurately understand a resume, the application and the candidate can slip through.
You could choose to make the line at the top bold, right-align the dates, or use any other formatting options. Regardless of what you do, it should remain consistent. For instance, if you decide to use a Month YYYY format (June 2000), you should not switch to a YYYY (2020) or MM/YYYY (07/2016) format down the line. This might not seem like anything of importance, however, it can be a warning to recruiters. How you present your work experience on your resume and its quality is important as it tells recruiters some insights about you.
It is important to understand the difference between a CV and a resume. On a resume, It is not necessary to list everything you have done. What you should instead do, is concentrate on the work experience in resume that best suits the role you are applying for. The majority of job applicants tend to write out everything, leaving it to the HR manager to sort throughout. Rather than creating your work experience with the mindset of "here are the things I have done in past roles" you should have the mindset of "I believe I am the most qualified individual for this role due to the following accomplishments and skills”. This is a subtle change but it can make all the difference.
Your job experience on resume should be able to answer what the job description asks of you. This means it is important that you highlight the experience and skills that HR managers will view as most valuable to solving the organization’s issues.
You should analyze the job description to discover the most pertinent resume keywords. It is these keywords or skills that hiring managers and recruiters search for when skimming the resume or entering search terms into the ATS.
You might wonder how to add work experience in a resume. For one, there is nothing wrong with including your daily duties in the work experience section. However, to create a strong job experience resume, you should ensure to add numerous relevant accomplishments. When you effectively list your accomplishments in the correct work experience resume format, you can frame your experience in terms of time or money. These are measurable and quantifiable. Things such as percentages, time-span and dollar amounts can help quantify the accomplishments you have made.
Here are a few work experience in resume samples with accomplishments:
Recruiters and hiring managers alike are extremely curious concerning your career path. Most recruiters look to see the pattern or logic in your progression from one job to another. Generally, if the hiring manager is not the individual responsible for sorting through applications, that individual in charge has to create a narrative which effectively sells a worthy applicant to the hiring manager. What this means is that you have to create a work experience section on your resume that effectively tells a story.
Ideally, one's professional trajectory has to show things such as a narrowed professional focus on or an increase in responsibilities. When creating your resume work history, you have to bear in mind that anyone reading it should be able to guess why you switched jobs. This, however, does not mean you should write things such as "My supervisor made my work life unbearable and that is why I needed a change”. What it does mean is that you need to highlight the benefits and growth opportunities of every new job.
📚Further reading: Career Changer Resume: Writing Guide & Template
You should maximize the impact your resume work experience can make by beginning your sentences using action words. Doing so enables you to appear as a results-oriented individual. It shows that you can get things done. A great tip you should imbibe is eradicating as many instances of "was" from the resume.
For instance, rather than writing "was responsible for creating new safety protocols" you could instead write "Developed and implemented improved safety protocols". This change of voice enables you to look like a candidate that is more capable and confident.
Your sentences should be concise. Recruiters and hiring managers often skim through resumes, which can cause them to miss important information buried in long paragraphs or sentences. Bullet points should be used as they can help increase readability as seen in the example above.
It can be difficult to create a work experience section or a resume with no job experience. While you might believe that recruiters and hiring managers are interested in seeing 2 pages worth of information, this is a perfect time to apply the “less is more” philosophy. Follow the steps below to create a befitting resume and work experience section when you lack job experience. It is important to follow the work experience format in resume.
The most pertinent qualifications on a resume for students with no experience can highlight is the education section. Certifications, diplomas and degrees are exactly what prospective employers want to see. Ensure that this is highlighted in your resume. It is not necessary to place too much emphasis on the school, but focus more on the degree, relevant coursework you've done, and academic activities you've taken part in.
Your internship experience is important in lieu of full-time paid working experience when creating a first-time resume with no experience. Typically, graduates are to have undergone some form of an internship. Highlighting your internship can show any prospective employee that you have real-world experience in the field. It can help place you above a similarly educated candidate, who doesn't have any internship experience.
When you are a student without work experience, it can be quite confusing to know what you need to add in the work experience section of your resume. To this end, you can concentrate on adding relevant hard and soft skills you have gained from school, extracurricular activities, and volunteer work. These skills can provide you with experience which can impress employers. To do this, you need to mine your academic achievements and life experiences to show any hiring manager that you can be an asset to their organization, regardless of the fact that you do not have any formal work experience.
When highlighting your volunteer work on resume, you should treat it as your paid work experience. This means if you happen to have an extensive catalog of volunteering experience, only the most relevant and recent ones should be added. When you write in your volunteer work, it is best that you identify the role you played as a volunteer. For example, if you held a leadership or management position as a Project Leader, you should write "Volunteer Project Leader".
If your volunteering experience on resume happens to be unrelated to the prospective job, you can choose to incorporate it under a different category such as "Volunteer Work" or "Community Service". The majority of organizations tend to look favorably on employees that positively contribute to their community. It not only reflects positively on the organization but also provides employees with an opportunity to network on behalf of the company.
Volunteer Fundraiser｜Community Service Organization
New York, April 2018 - April 2020
Business Analyst at XYZ Corp
New York, June 2017 - Present
XYZ Accounting Firm．Cleveland, OH
Auditing Accountant．May 2015 - May 2020
Mechanical Engineer, Engineering CO
Atlanta, GA, Nov 2018 - Present
Lead Graphic Designer｜ABC Design Firm｜Los Angeles, CA
April 2015 - June 2019
ABC HIGH SCHOOL, Atlanta, GA
High School Teacher (August 2015 - May 2019)
Data Scientist, AG Data Inc.
Dallas Texas｜December 2015 - Present
Marketing Specialist｜SMarketing Company
New York．December 2016 - May 2018
Administrative Assistant, Feb 2018 - Present
ORG Company, Detroit (MI)
OneZeros Comp (NY)．December 2018 - May 2020
Entry Level Software Engineer
--- Originally written by Adam ---