How to Describe Your Work Experience on Your Resume (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated June 21, 2022 | Published February 4, 2020

Updated June 21, 2022

Published February 4, 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When you apply for jobs, your past work experience can be an asset to show potential employers on your resume. It's important to take the time to outline and reevaluate your experience so it might appeal to these employers and increase your chances of being called in for an interview. In this article, we review the importance of describing your work experience on your resume, tips to help you showcase your relevant experience and how to use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method to list your accomplishments.

Related: Interview Question: "Tell Me About Your Work Experience" (With Example Answers)

Why it's important to describe your work experience on a resume

Using the right language to describe your most relevant work experience can make you stand out from other candidates for the roles you apply to. The way you display your experience on your resume can put you on the shortlist of desired candidates from the outset. Employers also want to ensure that you can articulate your work history, explain why it makes you the right fit for the job and show how you can meet their expectations if they hire you.

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Tips to describe your work experience on your resume

Showcasing your work experience and education puts you in a position to be hired for a job or move on to the next round of the interview process. However, be sure to keep these tips in mind when describing your work history:

  1. Research the company you're applying for.

  2. Read and understand the job description.

  3. Connect your experiences to the company.

  4. Write strong action verbs.

1. Research the company you're applying for

Researching the company provides you more information to communicate your experience effectively. Based on the information you find on the company's website, you can find a lot about the organization's core values.

Core values can help you shape your personal and professional goals that align with the career path you want to take. Therefore, you must list your experiences based on the position you want to work in, so you draw attention to your core values before you proceed to interview with the employer.

2. Review and understand the job description

The job description serves as a better resource for you to tailor your experience to this question. You want to directly address that you can perform the responsibilities listed in the job description, along with performing ancillary tasks when necessary. Companies may note a disclaimer about the description not being a comprehensive overview of the position, so be proactive in listing your experience that showcases the results you achieved for previous employers.

3. Connect your experiences to the company

Make connections about how your previous experiences and the knowledge you obtained can help you complete tasks solicited by your prospective employer. Be sure to list your knowledge of processes performed at each position as well as the skills you fine-tuned from completing those processes. For example, you learned workflow processes from overseeing a project management system, or you know the inner workings of a sales cycle after working with a particular lead generation software.

4. Write strong action verbs

Strong action verbs highlight what you have done to achieve your goals with previous employers. The use of strong action verbs also allows you to sell yourself in a way that shows you're capable of independently addressing challenges you've encountered and why those experiences can be transferable to your future employer.

A few examples of strong action verbs include:

  • Established

  • Achieved

  • Exceeded

  • Spearheaded

  • Assembled

  • Finalized

  • Produced

  • Instituted

Read more: How to Write a Resume Employers Will Notice

How to use the STAR method to describe your work experience on your resume

The STAR method can help you write out key accomplishments on your resume regardless of the scenarios you face in the workplace. They start by introducing the conflict and end when you conclude with a result of your actions that leads to a certain outcome. Follow the steps below to use the STAR method on your resume:

  1. Understand the four elements of the STAR formula.

  2. List examples that apply to each element.

  3. Combine these elements to determine if they address your experience.

1. Understand the four elements of the STAR formula

Here is a breakdown of each step of the STAR formula:

Situation

This step gives you a canvas to set the story around a challenge you faced. However, you'll need to include other elements of the STAR formula to have a clear and concise overview of your experience. Employers want to know the toughest challenge you've encountered in the face of adversity.

Task

Note what your role was in this challenge. Remember, you should keep this part short so you can put more emphasis on the result of the project you worked on.

Action

Detail how you overcame this challenge by making it clear if it was a team effort or an individual endeavor. Highlight what actions you took to cause the desired result.

Result

List metrics associated with your success and provide examples about what you did to affect the outcome.

2. List examples that apply to each element

Let's review a workplace scenario where we can use all these elements:

Situation

In my previous role as a project coordinator, I was responsible for ensuring on-time deliverables for all clients, so they're satisfied with the delivery and the quality of the organization's products.

Task

As the leader of the front-line staff, it was my responsibility to keep track and meet deadlines every week until we got a new project manager on board. I also had to be the liaison between multiple departments to ensure the completion of work that's due to the client.

Action

I set up and led team meetings with our project team to streamline workflow, improve team collaboration and troubleshoot additional issues when needed.

Result

Within two months, the company's project output increased by 20 percent and profit rose by 30 percent.

3. Combine these elements to determine if they address your experience

Combine these elements to make a full story based on your experience in conflict resolution. You'll need to go back and check an older version of your resume to see if this experience is the best to showcase to the interviewer. Let's review the full example shown above and options of how you can list it on your resume:

  • Spearheaded the elimination of project and profit deficits at Generation Marketing

  • Oversaw project management processes, employee training and client results

  • Responsible for a 20 percent increase in on-time deliverables and a 30 percent increase in profit within two months

Example job descriptions

The example shown above is one of many ways to describe your experience on your resume. You must be succinct with your responses to attract employers' attention to the value you can bring to their organization. Here are a few more examples of ways you can accentuate your experience on your resume in different roles:

Example 1: Administrative assistant

Ryan's Logistics

Administrative Assistant | December 2017—June 2019

  • Coordinated meetings and travel schedules for managers and executive staff members

  • Trained three interns on organizational and filing processes, saving $2,000 on administrative expenses

  • Worked with various departments to properly relay confidential information

  • Compiled performance reports for all interns and entry-level staff members

Example 2: Marketing manager

Marty's Marketing

Marketing Manager | October 2016—May 2018

  • Created a brand campaign for a Fortune 500 client that yielded a 20 percent increase in revenue and $500,000 in sales growth

  • Scouted and hired 20 additional staff members to the marketing department while keeping employee retainment rates above 80 percent during the duration of employment

  • Featured in three national media outlets for exemplary work in marketing top brands

  • Worked with the product marketing department to analyze our target audiences and develop future campaigns

Example 3: Sales Representative

JT's Tech House

Sales Representative | January 2019—Present

  • Exceeded the sales targets set for the 2019 fiscal year and increased the company's client base by 50 percent

  • Featured as the company's top sales representative in September, October and November 2019

  • Compiled competitive analyses for prospect calls and quoted prices on company products

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