How to Write Your Résumé Work Experience Section

The résumé work experience section is important because it enables you to showcase what you’ve accomplished in previous jobs. According to Peter Economy, “On average, every corporate job opening attracts 250 resumes. But only 4 to 6 of these people will be called for an interview, and only 1 of those will be offered a job.”

Resume Work Experience

Image from “Recruiting and Hiring Stats HR Pros Must Know in 2017,” Uptowork

In my article “10 Things to Never Include in Your Résumé,” I’ve addressed general concerns about creating résumés. So if you want to prove to potential employers that you’re worth considering and (hopefully) worth hiring, you’ll need a great résumé work experience section.

1. Be honest in your résumé work experience

When writing your work experience, be honest. One stat reports, “5% of applicants are dishonest when describing their previous roles or the time they spent in a job.” Lying is definitely not a good way to start out a potential new job.

2. Include relevant experience

By including relevant experience to the job you’re applying that means you’re going to have to exclude some things, as well. Natalie Servert suggests excluding the following:

  • Any job you held more than 15 years ago. (Add to a “Previous Experience” section.)
  • That server job you had in high school after years of being a successful professional.
  • Other brief filler gigs you had that don’t match the job on offer or any non-paid work
resume work experience

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3. Be accurate and concise

Your résumé should be one page. That’s it! In order to include the most important information, you’ll need to be accurate and concise. The article “How to Write Your Resume Work Experience Section” states, “Start with the most important points and work down. Keep it under 12 bullets, depending on how long you held the position.” Using brevity will enable the hiring manager to determine whether or not you’ll be a good fit for the company.

4. Use better job titles

The title of your job stands out to hiring managers. For recent high school or college graduates, Charley Mendoza gives this example: “Frame previous babysitting jobs where you took care of kids from different families in your neighborhood as a child care management business. You can write Child Care Manager as your job title, and then write about your achievements in providing educational and recreational activities.” Of course, use better job titles without exaggerating what you actually did in the position.

5. Include specifics

Include specifics and details in your résumé work experience section. The Purdue Online Writing Lab suggests including:

  • Names of the companies you worked for
  • City and state for each company
  • Titles/positions you held
  • Your employment dates for each job
  • Duties you performed.

Details such as these gives hiring managers an idea of your previous work experience. You can also include promotions in the bullet points below each job listed.

resume work experience

Photo by on Unsplash

6. Use an active voice

You don’t want your one-page résumé to be dull. The article “3 Dos & Don’ts for Your Work Experience Section” suggests, “Don’t Do This: Use a passive voice that makes your history sound mundane.” Instead, you’re going to want strong, active verbs to create an active voice. According to one survey, the top 15 words in your work experience section should include ones like the following:

  1. Achieved
  2. Improved
  3. Trained/Mentored
  4. Managed
  5. Created
  6. Resolved
  7. Volunteered
  8. Influenced
  9. Increased/Decreased
  10. Ideas
  11. Negotiated
  12. Launched
  13. Revenue/Profits
  14. Under budget
  15. Won

And the words should you avoid?

  1. Best of Breed
  2. Go-getter
  3. Think outside of the box
  4. Synergy
  5. Go-to person
  6. Thought Leadership
  7. Value add
  8. Results-driven
  9. Team player
  10. Bottom-line
  11. Hard worker
  12. Strategic thinker
  13. Dynamic
  14. Self-motivated
  15. Detail-oriented

It’s okay if you have the qualities listed in the no-no list; however, these words may seem cliché to potential employers. Hiring managers want to see results of what you accomplished in previous jobs. Show them with the words you select.

Ready to create the perfect résumé? Email me at today to get a quote.

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