How to Describe Your Experience in a Resume

How to Describe Your Experience in a Resume

The primary goal of your resume is to land you an interview. To do this, you will need to have solid sections of your resume that help convey who you are and how you will add value to an organization. The main section for you to do this in is the experience section of your resume.

Some Resume Basics

When describing your experience in a resume, you need to understand what your resume will look like. To have a higher chance of success in your job search, your resume should be tailored to the job that you are applying for. It may be time-consuming and tedious to do this, but your resume may not even reach a recruiter's desk if you don't.

If your resume does reach a recruiter's desk, then it will need to impress and stand out. On average, a recruiter will spend 6 seconds looking at a resume to judge you. If you pass the test, then they will continue reading and this is where your experience section becomes integral to your success.

To figure out the length of your experience section, here are some tips for what your resume should look like as a whole:

  • A resume is a page long
  • It should be around 500 words long
  • Aim for 3,000 characters (without spaces)

As you can see, you have one page to write your resume, so you have to choose your words wisely.

The Experience Section is the Heart of the Resume

The experience section will be the main body of your resume. In it, you will need to be able to list your previous jobs (where relevant) and describe effectively what you accomplished in the role. The main information to include for each job in your work history is:

  1. Job title
  2. Organization
  3. Location
  4. Start date (month and year)
  5. End date (month and year)
  6. Description

The jobs you list depend on the length of your career and the job that you're applying to. You don't need to list every job you've ever had, as they may not all be relevant. If you do leave gaps in your employment history, however, prepare to be able to explain these if the question arises later in an interview.

When deciding on which jobs to include, think about the relevancy of the position and how long you held it. These positions need to be able to highlight your workplace achievements and identify your strengths to an employer. If you cram in too much information, you may fail to do this.

How to Describe Your Experience in a Resume

Before you begin writing, you need to read the job description thoroughly. You should also run it through a keyword density checker tool. By doing this, you can find out which keywords are most relevant to the job you're applying for.

After familiarizing yourself with the keywords and the role, you need to take some time to determine which of your experience is relevant. Deciding on which experience is relevant can be tough, especially if you've had a long career. Once you do decide, however, you will need to be able to write about these experiences while maintaining keyword discipline.

When you describe your work experience, you should aim for two or three sentences per year. If you don't have much experience or are talking about your most recent job, you may want to write more. These sentences should be between 10 to 15 words each as they need to be clear and concise.

Quantify any statements where you can to give a sense of scale. You need to do this as a recruiter won't know if you managed a team of 3 people and managing a team of 50 unless you state it. When writing these accomplishments, you should always reflect the job description of the job you're applying for.

Using strong action verbs at the beginning of each statement can also make your experience section punchy. For example, using an action verb such as 'directed' or 'coordinated' can emphasize the role you played in your previous organizations. If effective, you will catch the eye of a recruiter.

Be Accurate

When writing the experience section of your resume, ensure that the details are accurate. A recruiter or hiring manager may check with references to see if what you said is true. As this is the case, you should expect these details to be verified if you write them.

Be mindful of the one-page limit when you write your work experience section. Make sure that you only include information that is relevant and exclude anything that isn't useful to a recruiter. Although you may want to convey a lot more detail, less is more in this case.

Resume Experience Examples

Car Sales Manager – Jeff's Car Company – 8/2018 to Present

  • Managed and coordinated daily/weekly/monthly car sales activities.
  • Directed staffing, training, and performance evaluations in order to develop and control the sales program at the car dealership.
  • Coordinated sales distribution by establishing sales territories, quotas, and goals.

Customer Assistant – The Local Convenience Store – 5/2016 to 7/2018

  • Engaged in multiple roles and presented a willingness to expand and diversify personal capabilities within the workplace.
  • Supervised 10 staff members and managed foot traffic to meet customer targets.
  • Responsible for money management and daily cash register operations.

History Teacher – Spring Elementary School – 9/2014 to 5/2016

  • Edited, altered, and corrected essays while also communicating effectively with parents.
  • Learned to balance single and group learning for different learner needs and age groups.
  • Devised weekly/monthly lesson plans and semester reports to maximize the children's learning while providing parents feedback.
Written by Career Specialist Feb 27, 2023
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