How to Describe the Jobs You’ve Had

How to Describe the Jobs You’ve Had

The jobs you've had depends on the length and trajectory of your career. Each job will have brought new experiences and knowledge. Due to this, learning how to describe a job you have had requires preparation and time.

Knowing how to write job descriptions is part of your resume preparation. Your aim is to tailor these job descriptions for prospective employers, to have the best chance of landing your next job. In this article, we will run through what you can do to describe the jobs you've had.

Preparing to Build Job Descriptions

For some, the task of writing job descriptions will be easy, but for others, it can be a challenge. Each description you write needs to be clear and concise while remaining descriptive. As this is the case, begin by making a checklist of your previous job's information which includes:

  • Job title
  • Reporting relationships
  • Job purpose
  • Job duties and responsibilities
  • Day-to-day activities
  • Required education
  • Qualifications
  • Working conditions
  • Salary history
  • Perks and benefits

Complete this checklist for each job you've had. Be thorough in your research and include all relevant information about the role. You can use these as indicators during your resume preparation and draw on the experience and skills you learned in those times.

Any data you write down when building job descriptions needs to be accurate. Any misinformation may be found out and this won't do you any favors. If you're having trouble recollecting some of the finer details, consider reaching out to former colleagues or bosses and asking them for their help.

Building Job Descriptions

You can move on to building job descriptions once you are satisfied with the information about your work history. As part of your resume preparation, you will need to understand how you can best describe each of your job descriptions. See the differences between them, the value each has brought to your career, and express what your responsibilities were in each role.

When you are confident, attempt to write a job description for each job. It'll take a lot of time so prepare yourself for this. When writing, ensure that you are being thorough.

The time you invest will pay off, as you will become an expert in your own story. The more familiar you are with your history, the more confident you will be to write and talk about it. It may take more than one attempt to write a job description for each, but as long as you get the main details down clearly and concisely, you can paint a picture of what these previous jobs looked like.

Include a Work Experience Section on Your Resume

Now that you have written your job descriptions, it's time to transfer them onto the work experience section of your resume. This isn't as simple as copying and pasting what you previously wrote, however. You will need to tailor what you write to the roles you are applying for and only include information and data that will help you land the job.

This means prioritizing responsibilities and accomplishments for each position. Where you can, quantify these using numbers, dollars, and percentages to prove your value to a recruiter. When describing this, make sure to lead with action verbs and avoid using pronouns and prepositions such as 'I', 'and', and 'the'.

Limit your job description to three or four of the most important points. This will not only allow you to fit your previous jobs into your resume but also help you communicate what a recruiter wants to know.

For recent graduates with minimal experience, prioritize your education section. Even if you've had work or volunteering experience, your education will be the most useful tool for you in your job search. You can still include the jobs you have had but ensure that you make it relevant to the job you're applying for.

On the other end of the spectrum, you may have heaps of experience from an array of jobs over your career. If this is the case, you don't need to include every job you've ever worked. Once again, your job descriptions should be tailored for the job you're applying for, so only include relevant information.

In your resume preparation, you should also address any gaps in employment you may have. Recruiters may ask questions about what you did during this time, and you'll need to be ready to answer. The best way to address an employment gap is to explain the reasons for it, what skills or experience you gained, and how you turned the time into a positive and beneficial experience for yourself.

Final Notes

Learning to write job descriptions is a key part of your resume preparation. Ensure that you know your background inside out to prepare yourself fully for your job search. Remember to include relevant information about your previous jobs and avoid including anything unnecessary.

Avoid using too many buzzwords and allow your accomplishments and experience to do the talking. Once you have finished detailing your previous jobs, you can keep it as a resource in the future. After all, you never know when it will come in useful in your next job search.

Written by Career Specialist Jan 27, 2023
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