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Work Experience on a Resume

work experience on a resume

Are you wondering how to create a resume that will appeal to recruiters?

Creating the perfect resume is a skill that can take time and practice to perfect. While there are several sections you need to include, perhaps the most important of these is the work experience section.

Adding your work experience to your resume is much more than simply listing your previous jobs. You need to convey to recruiters that you are the perfect person for the job you are applying for.

So, let’s take a good look at the ideal way to represent your work experience on a resume.

Why is Work Experience on a Resume Important?

A well-written work experience section demonstrates to your potential employer that you have the necessary qualifications. When crafted skillfully, you can include a lot of important information in a very limited space. It demonstrates your ability to select the most important information and present it in the right way.

Remember, you need to stand out…

In most cases, there will be several people applying for an advertised position. Several of the applicants may have very similar skills and work experience. The person who is able to present the information in the best way is likely to be given an interview.

What exactly should be included?

Your work experience section should contain information about your professional history, such as job titles, employers, employment dates, responsibilities, skills learned, and accomplishments. It can include full-time positions, part-time jobs, temporary roles, internships, and even volunteer work.

This is likely to be the first section that employers read to quickly discover if you have the required skills.

What Employers Look for in The Experience Section?

In most cases, employers only have a minute or so to review each resume that they receive. Therefore, they need to be able to determine as quickly as possible whether or not you are the right candidate for the job. If they do not find the information they need in the work experience section, they are likely to stop reading.

How to Write Work Experience on a Resume?

It is important to include detailed information that is relevant to the job you are applying for. Therefore, you should tweak your resume to some extent each time you apply for a different position. You can use the following step-by-step guide to help you work out the types of information to include.

Companies You Worked For

Write the official names of the companies you have worked for in full. Start with your current or most recent job, followed by the one before that, and so on. It is best to include at least your last three employers in this section.

What if you have too much info?

If you have been working for a few decades, you may have worked for several companies. In this case, it is best to exclude companies you worked for more than ten years ago. This will give you space to highlight work experience that is directly related to the job you are applying for.

Locations of The Companies

It is not necessary to write the address of each company you have worked for in full. However, you should write the city, state, and country if you have worked abroad.

the work experience on a resume

Employment Dates

It is sufficient to write the month and year you started and stopped working for each company. In some cases, you may have gaps of a few months in between various roles. In this case, you may simply want to list the years.

Job Titles

Give your specific job titles to help avoid confusion. Avoid using acronyms to refer to your previous positions. The employer should be able to get an idea of your earlier roles from the titles alone.

Responsibilities and Impact

Describe your primary responsibilities as well as the skills you demonstrated as concisely as possible. When possible, include keywords that connect to the job description of the position you are applying for. When revealing the impact, your work had on your team and the company as a whole, try to use precise figures.


If you have earned promotions in your previous positions, make sure you highlight them. These promotions indicate to employers that you are a valuable employee whose work is recognized and rewarded. Promotions demonstrate that you go the extra mile and are driven to learn and grow at work.

Awards and Recognitions

Adding awards and recognition to your work experience demonstrates that you can excel in your field of work. This is also a good way to pad out the work experience section if you do not have a lot of experience. If the awards are significant, they demonstrate an ability to work hard and excel.

Formatting The Work Experience Section

The way that you structure and format your work experience section is just as important as what you include. Make sure that your resume is easy to read and that the key points stand out. Here are three examples of ways to format the work experience section of your resume.

Chronological Format

If you decide to follow a chronological format, you will start listing your work history with your most recent job. This is the most common format and features your current job at the very top. It shows how you worked your way up to that point and is ideal if you have consistent work experience.

Functional Format

This format categorizes your skills and achievements according to the requirements of the job that you are applying for. If choosing this format, you only need to include the names of your previous employers and the employment durations.

The pros of this?

This format focuses on your skills and achievements rather than the positions that you have held. It is ideal if you have recently graduated from college or have gaps in your employment history.

Combination Format

This is the most flexible of the formats, as it allows you to utilize parts of both formats. If you adopt the combination format, you will lead with a summary of your professional experience. You will then follow this with a list of your achievements and skills.

Who should choose this format?

The combination format is ideal for people who have extensive work experience and desirable skills. This is the perfect format to choose if you are applying for an executive-level or management position. It ensures that your valuable strengths will not go unnoticed by employers.

Choosing an Organized Template

It is essential that your resume is as clear and easy to read as possible. If recruiters have to struggle to read your resume, it is likely to go straight on the reject pile. Choose a specific format and then stick to it, using bolding, tabbing, horizontal lines, and tables to add clarity.

Address The Employer’s Needs

Listing your responsibilities and skills is a necessary part of creating your work experience section. However, it is also essential to stand out from the crowd by highlighting the benefits your previous tasks give your future employer. You can do this by incorporating keywords taken from the original job description that coincide with your work experience.

Set Yourself Apart From Other Applicants

Try to think about elements of your work experience that make you special. These could be unique character traits, abilities, honors, and awards. This will help to land you an interview when it comes down to the crunch between several candidates.

the work experience on resume

Keep it Brief

Ensure that your bullet points are concise and easy to read. It is essential to only include information that the employer will find relevant.

Open With Your Most Compelling Points

Your resume is the time to put your best foot forward and show recruiters what you have to offer. It is essential to create a strong introduction that will make the recruiter want to keep reading. In the same way, the conclusion to your resume should also be as strong as possible.

Check for Grammatical and Spelling Errors

If your resume is riddled with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, it is likely to go straight on the reject pile. It is essential to take the time to proofread and edit your resume carefully. A flawless resume will help to convey your attention to detail.

Listing Your Work History by Experience Level

The types of work experience that you include will ultimately be dictated by the job you are applying for. However, the way that you list your relevant information will depend on the amount of experience you have. Here are some key ways for applicants at each level to document their work experience.

Senior-level Candidates

If you’re applying for a similar position in a similar industry, you should include your work experience in reverse chronological order. Limit your work experience to your most recent ten to fifteen years. If you have rich and extensive experience in the field you are applying for a job in, recruiters will be interested.

Different Industry?

If your extensive work experience relates to another industry, it is best to adopt a functional resume format. This will highlight your impressive skills and attributes without necessarily revealing that they apply to another field.

Mid-level Positions

If you’re applying for a mid-level position, focus on previous roles that connect to the one you are applying for. Depending on your specific skills and prior experience, you may wish to include freelancing work and internships. This will allow you to prominently display the required expertise and skills you gained while working in different capacities.

Entry-level Candidates

If you are an entry-level candidate, you are unlikely to have extensive professional work experience. In this case, it is a good idea to list all of the relevant paid work you have done in the past. This can include temporary employment, freelance jobs, independent projects, and internships.

No Work Experience

Everyone has to start somewhere, and not having work experience does not mean you cannot shine on your resume. In this case, you can include all types of relevant paid and unpaid work, including volunteering. When listing this type of work experience, make sure you tie the skills used and learned to those in the job description.

Additional Tips

If you are still struggling to work out what to write in the work experience section of your resume, it’s an excellent idea to make notes on your key skills. Review the description of the job you are applying for once again and underline the key points. Here are a few more tips that will guide you toward writing the work experience section.

Most importantly…

Describe your primary responsibilities in concise statements that are led by strong verbs. Focus on your most desirable skills and strengths that are important to your field.

work experience on resume

Try to incorporate industry-specific keywords throughout your work descriptions. This indicates to potential employers how you will fit into their job position and company.

Variation is good…

Make sure that you vary your action words. The last thing you want is for all of your job descriptions to sound the same. This will imply that you are not learning new things or progressing on your career path.

Use the present tense for activities that are ongoing. Any activities that you no longer take part in should be written in the past tense.

Include relevant figures…

Rather than simply listing your accomplishments and responsibilities, try to quantify them. It is not enough to merely state that you increased monthly sales for the company or trained new employees. Give the percentage that you increased sales by and the number of employees you trained.

Don’t overcompensate…

There is no need to go into too many details about the organizations you worked for. If the employer requires clarification, they are likely to mention it during the interview stage. Instead, you should describe your role in the organization and your specific responsibilities.

Final tip…

It is best to limit your work experience history to three or four roles. If you are unsure which functions to include, read the job description one more time. Choose the three or four roles that are most connected to the job you are applying for.

Interviewing Soon?

It’s an excellent approach to familiarize yourself with common interview questions related to the type of job you’re applying for. Want a hostess position? Read these common Hostess Interview Questions! Are you applying to be Head Cook? Then read these common Cook Interview Questions you will be asked in 2023.

Well-known company chain applications…

We’ve also got common interview questions of the leading chains in the US, like Dollar General Interview Questions, Del Taco Interview Questions, Levi Strauss Interview Questions, Walgreens Customer Service Associate Interview Questions, Disney Store Interview Questions, and much more! Or simply type your potential employer in our search box to check what we’ve got for you!

We’ve even got entire job application processes for many of these companies, like Safeway Jobs Application, the complete Staples Application, and the KFC Application process.

Back to today’s topic…

Final Thoughts

Your work experience section on your resume can make or break your chance of getting your dream job. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that you get this section just right. This is the area to really demonstrate your ability and the benefit you will bring to your next job.

After reading your work experience section, the potential employer should be impressed by your skills. Therefore, it’s essential to make sure that this section is as solid and compelling as possible. Tailor this section to the specific job you are applying for and take the time to edit and polish it.

Good luck with your job application!

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About Eugene Casey

Eugene works in a busy employment agency in Chicago and has nearly 20 years of experience in finding clients the perfect job. His philosophy is simple, the right match for the right position is nearly always a win-win for both the employee and the company.

When he isn't working or writing for us, he enjoys cooking and exploring the United States, one state at a time.

He lives with his wife Lisa and their two German Shepherds, Wilber and Gus.

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