A well-written work experience section is a crucial element on your resume because it shows that you have the necessary qualifications to be an asset to your potential employer. It also provides substantial information in a limited space. In this article, we’ll show you how to list work experience on a resume to make a strong impression on your prospective employer.
What is a resume work experience section?
The work experience section of your resume should contain information about your professional history including previous titles, employers, dates of tenure, responsibilities, skills learned and accomplishments. Depending on your background, you can include full-time positions, part-time jobs, temporary roles, internships and even volunteer work if you do not have extensive paid work experience.
Related: Writing a Resume With No Experience
1. Name and contact information
2. Summary or objective
3. Professional history
a. Company name
b. Dates of tenure
c. Description of role and achievement
6. Optional (Awards & Achievements, Hobbies & Interests)
Why is work experience on a resume important?
Many employers regard the description of work experience as the most important part of a resume. To get a quick idea of your employment history, your prospective employer will most likely read the work experience section first. As such, this section could be key in moving you forward in the hiring process.
The work experience section in your resume shows the hiring manager whether you have the necessary experience and skills to succeed in the role you are applying for. This section also includes information about your achievements, which can distinguish you from other applicants and make you more likely to get an interview.
How to write work experience in a resume
Follow this guide to learn how to write work experience on your resume.
1. Include detailed and relevant information
The work experience section of your resume should contain specific information about your employment history, including:
Companies you worked for
Provide the full, official names of the companies for which you’ve worked starting with your most recent followed by the next most recent, and so on. To keep the section relevant, exclude employment experiences older than 10 years. In general, you should at least include your last three employers. Do include the amount of work experience required in the job posting, if applicable.
Locations of the companies
Include down the cities and states where your previous employers are located. It is not necessary to provide their full physical address.
Use the standard month-year format (ex. Jan 2014–Nov 2019) to list when you started and stopped working for each company. If you have short gaps in your work history, you may want to list only the years of employment, or if you have long gaps, you may decide to provide a brief explanation as to why.
You should be specific about your job titles in the companies you worked for. For example, stating that you were a social media marketing manager is preferable to just writing “Marketing Manager.” Also, avoid using acronyms to refer to your positions.
Responsibilities and impact
Concisely describe your main responsibilities and the skills you demonstrated in your previous jobs, such as project management, strategic planning or team building. Pair your responsibility with a key impact, using numbers to measure your success. For example, instead of writing, “Responsible for taking inventory and ordering office supplies,” an office administrator should write, “Developed new inventory process, reducing quarterly supply costs by 15%.”
Listing any promotions you may have earned in previous positions will show your potential employer that you performed well in your past jobs, which could make you a more appealing candidate.
Awards and recognitions
You can include your awards and recognitions in the job experience section, or have a separate section for them. These accomplishments show that you can excel in your field of work.
If you do not have extensive professional experience, you can include other experience that shows your skills and commitment to completing tasks professionally. This can include paid jobs that might not seem directly relevant such as retail or food industry jobs you held in high school or college, internships or even volunteer work. Prioritize experiences that are relevant to the job for which you’re applying.
If you have at least two years of professional experience, you should remove less relevant jobs.
2. Format the resume work experience section
Here are three effective ways to structure the job experience section of your resume:
In a chronological resume, you will list your work history with your most recent job at the top. This is the most widely used format because it shows clearly how you progressed through your career. This method works best if you have at least a few years of consistent employment experience.
With the functional resume format, you’ll categorize your achievements and skills according to the requirements of your desired job. You’ll only need to mention the names of your previous employers and durations of employment under your work history. Since this format focuses on your achievements and skills instead of the job positions you held, it is a suitable option if you are a recent graduate or have significant gaps in your employment history.
The combination format offers more flexibility, allowing you to present your work history in a way that emphasizes your strengths. With this option, you will provide a summary of your professional experience first, followed by a list of your achievements and skills. Consider using the hybrid format if you are applying for a management or executive-level position.
Read more: Resume Format Guide (With Tips and Examples)
Work experience example for a resume
Here is an example of a well-written job experience section for a resume:
*CLOUD CLEARWATER | Tampa, FL*
Feb ’16–Jan ’19
• Purchase supplies and equipment for 3 departments, accurately recording purchases and reducing reconciliation discrepancies by 35%
• Process expense reports, properly documenting and allocating expense items
• Submit travel reimbursement requests and ensure missing receipt affidavits are completed in full
*CRANE & JENKINS | Tampa, FL*
Jul ’14–Feb ’16
• Served as primary point-of-contact for vendor inquiries, promptly investigating issues and solving concerns
• Received, tracked, and accurately processed 50+ vendor invoice payments on weekly basis
• Reconciled and batched payments on a daily basis
*TRADELOT | Tampa, FL*
May ’10–Jun ’14
• Processed cash, check, and credit transactions, maintaining 98% accuracy to minimize end-of-day balancing errors
• Balanced check payments, identifying and resolving discrepancies immediately
• Accurately prepared and sent bank deposits (~100K each) semiweekly
Resume work experience writing tips
Resumes typically conform to a standard structure and format. However, you can make your work experience section stand out with these tips:
Choose an organized template
Good organization makes your resume easier to read. Choose a format for listing your previous employers, job positions and employment dates and maintain it throughout the document. Make the information stand out with bolding, tabbing, horizontal lines and tables.
Address your prospective employer’s needs
Many job candidates only list their responsibilities and skills. Make yourself stand out by mentioning the benefits that your previous tasks provide to your future employer. Incorporate keywords from the job description that align with your experience.
Distinguish yourself from other applicants
In addition to your responsibilities in previous jobs, you should provide information that sets you apart from other candidates. This may include your unique abilities or traits, awards and honors you received or leadership positions you held.
Keep it brief
Make your bullet points concise and easy to read. Only include information that is relevant to the employer.
Open or close with your most compelling points
This is especially important if your resume is more than one page long. Strong introductions and conclusions with power words can increase the chances of the hiring manager reading the work experience section from start to finish.
Check for grammatical and spelling errors
Carefully proofread your resume to show the hiring manager that you are professional and attentive to details.