The work experience section comprises the bulk of any resume, and in direct relation to its size is its magnitude to every application. Learning how to write work experience in resumes is of utmost importance to applicants who want to stand out and land their dream jobs.
To give you a headstart in the direction of the job you want to have, below is our foolproof and comprehensive guide on how to write work experience in resumes in the most winning and compelling way possible.
While no section of a resume is any less important than the others, the work experience section takes on a particularly crucial role. Resumes in their entirety seek to target job descriptions and requirements, but it is ultimately the work experience section that lands the post. In a nutshell, it is the section that convinces recruiters and hiring managers of one’s suitability for the role.
To increase your chances of scoring your dream job, you need to ensure that you make a winning case in your work experience section. More often than not, recruiters and hiring managers will evaluate the section first before proceeding to assess all other information in your resume. It should be compelling, convincing, and able to meet the expectations of the job.
Having a Standout Resume
For starters, there is no such thing as overstating the importance of a standout resume. It is imperative to any job application and is the bread and butter to your success as a candidate.
In general, ensuring that you have an impressive resume in your arsenal means evaluating the strength of each section. Each part must be convincing not just according to its specific purpose but also alongside the other resume sections. Altogether, these individual sections must form a harmonious bond that will target everything that the job entails.
Adopting a meticulous approach to writing your resume is a big step in the right direction. Doing so enables you to guarantee that each section lives up to its potential and works wonderfully for the resume’s overall impact.
The Impact of the Individual Resume Sections
Each section on your resume serves a unique purpose. It is important to note early on that you should never include each part as mere compliance to what you think hiring managers and recruiters expect to see. A lot of thought and consideration accompanies the making of each section. Be mindful of how each section appeals to potential employers and whether they are in line with their specific purposes. Regardless of whether the goals that underlie each section are substantial or purely aesthetic, the effects of paying close attention to every detail include a top spot in the application pool.
While every individual resume section is undoubtedly essential, there is one, in particular, that plays a pivotal role.
Recommended Reading: How to Write a Resume – A Beginner’s Guide
The Work Experience Section in Resume
Consider the work experience section as the heart and soul of your resume. For most occupations and industries, the work experience section is your main pitch as an applicant, while the rest of the resume serves as complementary selling points.
So what exactly is a work experience section?
In a nutshell, the work experience section is a detailed, chronological, and often a comprehensive list of a candidate’s work or employment history. On resumes with standard formats, the work experience section is next to the resume header, summary or objective statement, and personal or contact information. A noticeable common denominator between standard and contemporary resumes, however, is the sheer size of the work experience section.
Since the work experience section strives to be as informative as possible, it is no surprise that it physically takes up the most space on the entire document. The length of the work experience section alone indicates its importance to any application.
As an applicant, you must learn how to write work experience in resumes clearly and confidently because this will impress recruiters and hiring managers with your credentials and work history.
Recommended Reading: 5 Best Resume Formats in 2020 – Recommended by HR
The Importance of the Work Experience Section in Resume
Before learning how to write your work experience in a resume, you should possess a fundamental grasp of its importance. Accordingly, the significance of this part is predominantly from the perspective of potential employers. For hiring managers or recruiters, the work experience section contains the most compelling information on the suitability of an applicant. It tells them how well a candidate can perform on the job and in the company as a whole. But what exactly makes this section more captivating than the others? The answer lies in the contents of the work experience section.
As a detailed list of one’s work or employment history, the work experience section features performative and measurable information. Its contents are performative in the sense that they highlight previously-held positions and responsibilities. Simultaneously, the work experience section is also measurable as it often includes descriptive statements of work output and accomplishments. All this allows potential employers to determine a candidate’s capabilities. Moreover, it helps them gauge the contributions that an applicant can make to improve the position and the company or business at large.
Writing a Standout Work Experience Section in Resume
With the guiding principles above in mind, the next step is to address how to write your work experience in resumes. As with nearly all other sections, learning how to write about work experience in resumes involves a mix of substantial and aesthetic considerations.
From a purely substantial standpoint, your work experience section should have the following essential components.
Names of Companies
When writing company or business names of current or previous employers, as the case may be, ensure that you write the names completely. Afterward, you can indicate any abbreviations or shorter name variations that the companies or businesses may have.
As supplementary information, be sure to include details of previous employers’ respective locations in your work experience section to give hiring managers and recruiters an idea of their area of operations.
Include the formal titles of your previously-held positions in your work experience section. If you are no longer sure about some details of your work history, refer to copies of employment contracts or job descriptions to ascertain the formal titles of your previously-held positions.
Dates of Tenure
When writing your work experience section, include specific dates of your involvement with all your previous employers. As much as possible, indicate months, days, and years. In the absence of specific dates, write the months and years of tenure at the very least.
Do not forget to write concise descriptions of your responsibilities under each position in your work experience section. You can choose between featuring 1 to 5 of the most compelling points of your job responsibilities or highlighting the ones that meet or target the job description.
The components above are what hiring managers and recruiters expect to see in any work experience section. At a minimum, keeping to these components should work well for applications to most positions. That said, there are some other components you can choose to include in your work experience section.
Writing about your positive contributions to previous employers is a fantastic way to show hiring managers and recruiters that you will be an invaluable addition to their company or business. For this section, try to strike a balance between qualitative and quantitative information. Try to include percentages or other numerical data to support your descriptive claims.
Honors, Awards, or Recognition
Impress potential employers with any honors, awards, or recognition that you may have from previous positions. Incorporating this section will increase your desirability to hiring managers and recruiters. If you have a long list of honors, awards, or recognition under your belt, try to highlight the most relevant one according to the job description. While this is undoubtedly a wonderful feature to highlight, remember that you would not want to overcrowd your credentials.
Ultimately, the choice of what to include in your work experience section depends on your preferences and the information that you want to highlight. You can keep to the essentials if you wish, but you can also use a hybrid of the two kinds of components. Whichever direction you plan to take for your work experience section, be sure that its contents target the job description. To illustrate, see any of our examples below on how to write about work experience in resumes.
Formatting a Work Experience Section in Resume
Now that you have a solid foundation for the substance of your work experience section, you also need to learn how to optimize its appeal by using an impactful format. Formatting your work experience section well comes hand in hand with writing its contents. Without a strong format, your work experience section may not be as appealing to hiring managers and recruiters. As such, we have compiled the following tips for formatting a standout work experience section.
Arrange the Details Chronologically
When formatting your work experience section, always utilize a chronological order starting with your most recent position or the one that you currently have. It is essential to distinguish between how to write current work experience in resumes and how to write previous work experience in resumes.
- Current Work Experience in Resumes
Most experienced employees who apply to other positions still have ongoing employment with their current companies. As such, when writing about your current work experience, format the details as you would with your previous work information. The distinction, however, lies in the dates of tenure. Where previous work experience involves fixed date ranges, the dates on your current work experience should be open-ended. Check out the examples below on how to write current work experience in resumes.
- Previous Work Experience in Resumes
Details about previous work experience comprise the majority of most work experience sections. As mentioned above, list these details chronologically, starting from the most recent to the earliest posts. As a guide, see our examples below on how to write previous work experience in resumes.
The Standard Order of the Components
Standard work experience sections start with the names of companies with their respective company addresses. Next up are job titles and dates of tenures. Below the two are the descriptions of responsibilities under each position. At your option, you can then follow with details on company contributions and honors, awards, or recognition. Depending on what you consider to be most impactful, you can choose to vary the arrangement of the last three components.
Play With Typographical Emphasis
To further the strength of your work experience section, use the different forms of typographical emphasis – bold, italic, underline, at your disposal. Not only will this highlight what you want hiring managers and recruiters to notice first, but it will also make your work experience section visually striking and easy to read through. Use the options mindfully to avoid a single monotonous note when formatting.
Utilizing these tips is a foolproof option for newbie applicants like fresh graduates. When you feel more comfortable with experimenting, you can use a hybrid of all the different components and formatting options. Again, the decisions you make when creating your work experience section should be in line with the job description and requirements.
Some Great Examples of Work Experience Sections in Resumes
The following are some examples to illustrate how you can incorporate the points above to your advantage.
Nurse Work Experience Example
OAK CITY GENERAL HOSPITAL | Oak City, East State
August 7, 2029 – Present
- Monitors the health of patients in various wards
- Administers the necessary nursing treatments and required medication
PARKTOWN COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER | Parktown, East State
May 23, 2027 – August 7, 2029
- Monitored the health of patients
- Assisted resident doctors with various medical treatments and procedures for patients
AXIS CONTRACTORS | Business District, EastState
January 3, 2027 – May 23, 2027
- Performed basic medical procedures and treatments
- Referred serious medical cases to hospitals
- Monitored the health of referred patients
Retail Sales Manager Work Experience Example
LA VERDE DEPARTMENT STORE | Central City, Delora
RETAIL SALES MANAGER
October 5, 2030 – June 25, 2033
- Developed monthly strategic sales plans
- Monitored the performance of sales associates
- Headed the recruitment and training program for incoming sales associates
APPLEBAUM’S GENERAL MERCHANDISE | Acacia City, Delora
September 18, 2029 – October 5, 2030
- Managed the sales team that garnered the Monthly Applebaum Group of Companies Top-Performing Sales Team Award 7 months in a row from March 2030 to September 2030
- Developed strategic monthly sales plans and targets
March 15, 2026 – September 18, 2029
- Helped increase sales team performance by 42% in 2028 and 37% in 2027
- Performed various sales floor duties
- Built rapport with customers and clients
- Coordinated various sales transactions
Polishing a Work Experience Section in Resume
Use the impressive tips and examples above to make a strong case in your work experience section. As you finalize your output, remember to be truthful, accurate, and precise with what you choose to include or omit. Putting in the effort to ensure that you have a winning work experience section only means that your dream job is well within reach.