How To Include Years of Experience on Your Resume
Updated August 31, 2023
It can be challenging to decide what the appropriate amount of experience is to list on your resume. You may want to showcase all the skills you have acquired throughout your career or education, but it can be more effective to only list your professional experience and skills that are related to the position you're seeking. Whether you're showcasing your long career history or have only your educational background to highlight your development, you can still find a balance of the proper number of years of experience to list.
In this article, we discuss the appropriate amount of experience to list, how to showcase your background and how to format it according to your experience.
A woman stands holding a paper and looking at a simple resume in the background. The headline reads, "Chronological resume format"
From top to bottom, sections of the resume are labeled:
• Name and contact information
• Summary or objective
• Professional history
• Education history
• Skills and abilities
How many years of experience should I list on my resume?
Depending on the position you apply for, it is usually acceptable to include up to 10 years of relevant professional experience on your resume. Often, listing more than 10 years of experience on your resume becomes irrelevant within different industries because of the advancement of various modern technologies, business applications or required skill sets replacing outdated versions.
For instance, a manufacturing facility may apply automated processes that were once tasks that workers completed. In this case, listing experience related to the past modes of production when new technology has been applied may appear irrelevant on a resume.
Ways to show experience
No matter the career level, some type of working experience is a necessary way to highlight your skills on your resume. Consider the following when including your work experience on a resume, whether you are just entering the career field, are transitioning between jobs or are advancing to a mid or senior-level position to showcase your professionalism:
In an entry-level resume, you can include your relevant work experience by highlighting your educational training, volunteer experience or any internships that you may have completed. You might consider positioning this section just under your introduction or career objective. Additionally, you might consider the following titles for your years of experience section:
Training and certifications
Within this section, you may include relevant achievements that can highlight your skills and dedication to your career development. The following examples highlight achievements that can relate to the position you're applying for:
Volunteering: Any volunteer work related to the job field.
Internships: The observation hours, work internships or unpaid internships you may have completed as part of your career training, education program or certification coursework.
Educational training: A major skill or career development accomplishment.
Undergraduate experience: Any other related achievements during your undergraduate coursework.
Related: Writing a Resume With No Experience
2. Transitioning between jobs
If you're transitioning between jobs or between different industries, consider highlighting your work experience that can be applied to the job you are interested in. Be sure to include any achievements, promotions or advancements from your past roles.
For instance, if you're applying for a customer service representative role, even if you worked in a manufacturing company, if you have a specific achievement that can be related to customer service, you can include that within your experience section.
Additionally, place this section just above your educational background and underneath your professional profile summary. The following titles are examples of how you might label your years of experience in this situation:
As you include your work experience, list the dates of your past roles in ascending order, starting with your most recent or current position. The following list includes skills, accomplishments or results you may consider including in your years of experience:
Professional accomplishments: Work accomplishments that are relevant to the job description might include how you helped your company develop and implement a new method of project management or successfully acquire a new client.
Relevant skills: Highlight any past experience you have working with similar technology, software, equipment or organizational tools to what is required in your prospective job.
Quantifiable results: Showcase your past experience achieving measurable results within your organization such as increasing productivity by 20% or helping your team reach the company’s profit margin goal of increasing by 16%. If you have numbers and quantitative results that show how you achieve results, highlighting this in your history can allow employers to see how you can fit the job, even if you are switching career fields.
3. Advancing in your career
If you have extensive experience working in your career and you are seeking advancement, consider highlighting the major objectives you have met and the successes you have contributed to your organization over the years you have been there. Highlight this section just under your professional profile and career objective.
Additionally, if you have around 10 to 15 years of experience to list on your resume, you might consider omitting your educational background, unless you have relevant graduate and post-graduate degrees or certifications.
The following examples of advanced achievements and skills can serve as a starting point for you when listing years of experience on your resume:
Quantitative achievements: Consider including any measurable results or objectives that you achieved within your past position. For example, you might list how you improved employee productivity by 25% through implementing productivity software, employee satisfaction surveys and team-building strategies.
Leadership accomplishments: Add any past achievements in leadership roles, like directing the marketing team in developing and launching new or redesigned campaigns that were successful in acquiring leads, new clients or setting business appointments to sell a service.
Promotions and advancements: Include any past promotions or advancements within your department or industry. For instance, if you were promoted from junior sales representative to sales director, list it with your experience, as it could allow employers to see how your contributions are valued enough to warrant recognition and advancement.
Formatting your resume to show years of experience
The following guide can serve as a template to format your work history or any relevant experience you want to highlight for the job you are applying to:
Listing work history and professional background
You might consider this format to list your experience. Start with your most recent employment dates in reverse chronological order, stating only the years you worked within the role:
Sales Associate. Whole Skincare Products, Inc. 2014-2019
[List three to five past accomplishments in bullet form, and if you have quantifiable results to show, list those as well.]
For example, “Increased online sales by 12% within three months of implementing a new marketing campaign.”
When using this format, you may also consider briefly listing any significant time spent on professional development or continuing education that may have been required in the role.
Related: Resume Samples and Templates
Highlighting educational experience
If you've recently graduated or have limited to no employee experience, list the dates for all of your completed degrees or certifications, or when they will be completed. For instance, if you are studying a career field like computer programming, you might highlight assignments, projects or accomplishments you made within the program.
Computer Science major, Southern State University. Year of B.S. completion, 2020.
[List accomplishments that showcase how you apply your skills, meet or exceed standards and any other relevant roles you fill during your education program.]
[Similarly, if you have obtained a certification or undergraduate degree, you may list it after your current or most recent experience.]
Internships and volunteer experience
Consider any internships that you have participated in if you are transitioning or starting your career, as long as the work you were responsible for is related to the job you are applying to. If you have an extensive work history, you might include a separate section for your volunteer work, and you can include any internships with your education and work experience.
Using this resume format, list your accomplishments related to your responsibilities outlined in the position you are applying for in reverse chronological order. For instance, an intern for a university newspaper might showcase how they successfully created and implemented a new format to guide content creation. Listing these types of internship or volunteer roles as your experience can allow potential employers to see your motivation to commit to professional responsibilities.
Here's an example of how to list volunteer experience:
Volunteer and Unpaid Work Experience:
Customer Service, Whole Skincare Products, Inc. 2017-Present
Successfully offered time to the organization and helped increase customer satisfaction
[You may consider highlighting relevant skills you relied on during your volunteer or internship work as well.]
With volunteering, consider how you made a direct impact in the field you volunteered in. This might look like building six tiny homes over a weekend to provide shelter to some of the homeless citizens in your community. If you're seeking a leadership position, you could then relate this accomplishment to your leadership skills, project management skills and communication skills in directing the building team you worked with.
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