Your resume brings together your past experience and provides a key to understanding how it has shaped your current professional outlook. That’s why it is so important that you present a well-written resume. Without it, your application package is likely to fall flat because your positive skills and experience shine through in a well-written resume, and a poorly-written one obscures them.
To get the most out of your resume, you need to know how to mention your experience effectively, and how to weave it throughout the resume, tying it in to every section. That way, it is easy to see how your work experience connects to your skill set. That, in turn, helps hiring managers understand why you would be a great fit for the role. Check out these tips and sample resume to learn more about how to present your experience when you write.
How To Mention Experience in a Resume
Your work experience makes up the bulk of the information in your resume, because it informs and underpins most if not all of the information in other sections. Even if your skills came from education instead of on-the-job training, your hands-on experience is what gives those skills heft and dimension. That’s why you need to make sure you understand how to mention experience in a resume on every level, so you can use your experience to tie together your other traits and skills.
1. Build experience into your summary statement
Your summary should provide a concise look at your best achievements, and there are some ways to take advantage of its structure to say precise and influential things about your past experience. Once you have established those items as points of interest, the reader will be looking for the chance to learn more about them.
There are a couple of ways to do this. First, make sure you use a tactical adjective to characterize your level of experience in the field. If you have five or more years of professional development on this career track, you may want to use words like “seasoned.”
On the other hand, if you have a lot of skills and you are closer to the beginning of your career, you may want to go for “trained and ready” as a descriptor. Include other details, such as your number of years in the industry, as an indicator, too. You can see this in play in the example below.
You also want to fold information about your experiences into the summary to make sure readers understand how you developed over those years. Include two or three of your strongest skills and then an accomplishment that ties those skills to your time spent honing your abilities in a particular area of interest to your prospective employer.
2. Build experience references into your skills section
Many of the skills in your skills section come from specific training and professional development choices you have made, but you can still easily tie in your experiences to show how they seasoned your training. In fact, if you really want to learn how to mention experience in a resume, your resume’s skills section should show the seasoning you claim to have in the summary statement. Otherwise, it doesn’t quite back up your claims.
Show your experience by including soft skills and traits you have to cultivate on the job in the list. Things like your leadership and supervisory skills, negotiation skills, and verbal communication skills related to instruction or feedback are all products of the way you apply your lived experience to your other training, so talk about them clearly, and use key words and phrases from the job description to show why they are relevant to the position.
3. Make the most out of the work experience
This is the area most relevant and most directly shapeable for the presentation of your experience, because each line item should describe something you actually did or delivered. Prioritize the information so that the most relevant and noteworthy accomplishments are up front. The key here is to maintain a balance between showing well-rounded experiences and showing the most relevant ones. Make sure each job has at least one mention of regular duties.
In addition to describing the day-to-day work you needed to do in the role, it’s also important to talk about your most noteworthy achievements. Include one or two examples of specific achievements that really show your work going above and beyond expectations. Include specific metrics that demonstrate the size of your big win in terms of its benefit to the company, too.
Last but not least, make sure your work experience shows a career progression. Order it in reverse chronological order, and select the jobs you include to demonstrate that progression by including skills and tasks that develop the narrative of your experience clearly.
4. Experience in the education section
The education section often looks like the most difficult to work experience into, but if your professional track includes specific accreditations and professional development outside of formal education, you may also include it here. That means you should include relevant certifications and specialty accreditations. If you work in trades that require seniority to become certified, like plumbers and electricians do, then you will definitely want to include your up-to-date certifications here, too.
5. Tying everything together
Make sure to demonstrate your skills with examples in your work experience section, and use the same language for key terms in each section to make those relationships more visible. That will help you look like a more complete candidate. To really sharpen the resume, repeat this process to make sure your accreditations and academic honors show similarly in your performance, and make sure the accomplishments from your summary show up in your work experience, too.
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Senior university instructor with graduate-level teaching experience in Criminology and General Sociology. Research and publication history grounded in the effects of economic background on upward mobility and generational criminal behavior. Skilled verbal communicator with the ability to break down and define complex terms of art in everyday language.
• Excellent spoken and written communication skills
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Senior Instructor (2015-2017)
Junior Instructor (2013-2015)
Oaklawn University, Chicago, IL
• Led sections of graduate and undergraduate criminology and sociology courses, including both general education courses and core degree requirements
• Developed mentorship relationships with students progressing through the criminal justice major, advising them about strategic use of their elective classes
• Documented all student performance issues, including grades and behavioral concerns
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• Presented at regional and national conferences on subject matter expertise while mentoring students through the professional conference process
Part-Time Instructor (2010-2013)
Columbia College, Chicago, IL
• Taught sections of sociology to satisfy the general education requirements of all students at the college
• Documented student progress through the course and behavioral concerns to the registrar and department head
• Presented at regional and national conferences on topics related to course subjects
• Delivered extra information about careers in sociology to students interested in the major
• Served on the faculty senate as a representative of the adjunct faculty
Roosevelt College, Chicago, IL
• Discussed student priorities and career goals, providing resources to students in the sociology program about local opportunities
• Counseled students thinking about adding a major or minor in the various uses and practical applications of coursework in sociology and criminal justice
• Documented student progress through degree programs to the registrar
• Worked with instructors to maximize the student experience
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Doctorate in Criminal Justice, 2010
Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI