There are several parts to a successful application package in many industries. Depending on what you do, you may need to include not only a cover letter and resume, but also work samples or some kind of portfolio of progress alongside other materials relevant to your candidacy. No matter what hiring managers want to see, though, it all revolves around the resume because that is the key to understanding the other parts of the application package.
A well-written resume makes your case and provides a guide to interviewing you by giving employers interesting facts about your career to ask after. However, a poorly written resume can sink your hopes even when the rest of your application looks great. That’s why it’s important to use every resource at your disposal to learn how to write work experience in a resume, including these tips and this sample.
How To Write Work Experience in a Resume
When you present your work experience in a resume, you have a number of goals to accomplish at once. That means the section of your resume dedicated to relating the experience needs to be well-polished. Doing so makes sure it communicates in every way you need it to communicate, tying together your skills and education while painting a clear image of your professional attitude and aptitudes.
1. Don’t be afraid to brainstorm
While your resume will wind up being disciplined in the end, you need to form a lot of ideas so you can sort through the best ones. Start by casually listing to yourself the major duties you have performed at each job you intend to include. Then, take some time to list out your three or four biggest accomplishments in each role, along with any specific quantifiable benefits your tenure provided to your employer.
2. Assess the needs of the position
You are likely to have a number of duties and accomplishments for each job, and you only really need about five to eight in the end for your resume. That means you will need to make substantial decisions about which sections of your experience to leave out. To succeed, you need to understand what traits and experiences prospective employers value most. Then you can select the most relevant accomplishments and duties to draw attention to them.
3. Rank your accomplishments
Ranking your accomplishments according to their relevance to a prospective employer allows you to present the information about each job in a way that shows hiring managers what they most want to see. This also means varying up the kinds of achievements and duties you run with as your first item under each job, giving your resume some variety to its flow of information.
4. Hone your words
This step consists of several smaller steps that come together to shape the way you talk about each item on your list. Some of the things you need to do as you put your resume together will involve specific language use. Other tactics are more about how you bring together points of information across the resume.
To start with, you want every line item in your work experience to start with an active verb in the present tense. You can see this at play in the example resume below. Choosing active and specific words means providing a clear visual of yourself in action when the hiring manager reviews your resume. It also means you add variety to your word choice throughout the resume, and specific word choices also help you provide more information in fewer words.
After you have rewritten each item to fit this format, work on making the language as active and direct as possible. Include details such as how much money your ideas saved the company, how many employees you supervised in various capacities, and other relevant metrics, too. Metrics provide very specific information about your performance in a relatively small space. That makes it easier to identify exactly what you offer employers.
5. Tie your work experience to your skills and summary
You want to avoid repeating information unnecessarily on your resume, but you also want to make sure you connect every part of your experience to provide hiring managers with a great overview of your abilities. That means making sure you use key phrases from your skills section in the relevant work experience entries. It also means making sure you have provided details about the accomplishments you mention in your summary, because readers look for those details to understand more about you.
6. Keep your work experience relevant
It’s not just your individual accomplishments that you need to rank. Once you have done what you can do to identify your most relevant accomplishments and positions, eliminate any jobs from your resume that do not relate to the one you seek. Your work experience is not meant to be comprehensive, after all; it’s just meant to demonstrate your relevant accomplishments.
Another part of keeping your resume relevant involves making sure you order the jobs that you do include in reverse chronological order. This shows readers your most recent accomplishments first, and those are the ones employers consider relevant to the position at hand if your other choices about writing work experience have followed this guide.
7. Proofread, proofread, proofread
It might seem like a small thing after all the work you put in to craft your message, but proofreading needs to be a priority if you understand how to write work experience in a resume. It shows you are consistent and diligent, and that is vital to your success. Sloppy looking resumes send the message that you are likely to rush your work and to avoid thoroughly checking it for errors. Even if your experience and skills look perfect, this can end your prospects with a hiring manager. You may know how to write work experience in a resume better than your competition, but if your work is full of mistakes, it can still cost you the job.
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Veteran copy writer specializing in financial and investment topics. Experience includes writing for major insurance carriers, investment houses, and small business lending operations to create individualized brand voices. Achievements also include experience mentoring and recruiting a team of five junior writers to work exclusively on liaising with new clients and understanding their needs.
• Proficient with AP, APA, MLA, and Chicago editorial styles
• Excellent layout and graphic design skills
• Proficient at explaining complex financial topics in everyday language investors can use to make decisions quickly
• Knowledgeable about financial and insurance topics for individuals and businesses
• Experienced with hands-on investment portfolio management
• Strong verbal communication skills, especially process feedback skills
• Well-developed role modeling and leadership skills
Brand Establishment Specialist (2015-Present)
Senior Copy Writer (2012-2015)
TDM Content and Document Services, Columbus, OH
• Provide clients with highly specific and brand-relevant content in an individualized voice built around the needs of their customers
• Deliver consistently high-quality work throughout the life of an account to provide a continuity of brand development
• Built systems for identifying trending topics of interest for each client to keep new topics relevant to customer needs
• Trained and recruited a team of five brand development specialists to work with new clients
• Service accounts with a total revenue value of $750,000 per year
Junior Copy Writer (2010-2012)
Social Outlook Solutions, Chagrin Falls, OH
• Provided clients with specific and well-researched content built around topics relevant to their client bases
• Delivered high-quality work on time to ensure client blogs and web page updates happen on time every time
• Cross-trained with other junior copywriters to decrease dependence on editorial intervention on every new project
• Served on a team of three servicing accounts worth $500,000 per year
• Specialized in insurance and financial topics
Landing Page Copy Writer (2009-2010)
BTB Media Solutions, Cleveland, OH
• Delivered high-quality landing page content for a variety of local small business clients
• Provided easy to understand general advice about a variety of insurance-related topics
• Worked with editors to provide specific and relevant copy for each client
• Cross-trained with new writers to maintain high standards across the company
• Coordinated workflow with editors and other writers to ensure coverage for every client
Bachelor of Arts in English, 2008
The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH