Impress Employers With Your
Work Experience.

Your prior work experience shows the potential employer how you made a difference for your past employers. This section serves as your opportunity to emphasize your qualifications for the job you want.

Keep the following statement in the front of your mind:

This section must be relevant to your target position.

Ask yourself, "How does my work experience relate to what the employer wants?"

If you are unsure what the employer is looking for, review the job description. The job description outlines the responsibilities, qualifications and requirements of the job.

If the job description lacks details or if you don't have access to it, search online for other job descriptions with the same job title.

The closer your resume matches the job description, the better your chances to be considered for the job. However, don't just copy the job description into your resume. Trust me... It will be obvious to the hiring manager that you copied.

Your resume must reflect that you are capable of meeting the employer's needs.

Here's another statement to keep in mind:

This section must reflect your accomplishments and results.

Emphasize your skills and accomplishments to show the hiring manager how you will add value to the position, based on your job experience. Show them the results of your work performance that relate directly (or indirectly) to the job you want.

Before we move on, allow me to remind you of two important factors of the work experience section:

  1. It must be as relevant to your target position as possible.
  2. It must reflect your accomplishments, not just a list of duties.

Keep reading. I'll show you how….

What does it look like?

Include the following information for each of your previous employers...

  • Company name, Job title, Location (city and state), Employment dates (start date and end date in MM/YYYY format). If there are gaps in your employment dates, be prepared to explain them in a job interview (or explain them in your cover letter).
  • Major accomplishments and results that you have achieved at each of your previous jobs. Use bullet points. Paragraphs are acceptable. However, I highly recommend bullet points because they are easier to follow.

For each job...

  • Start each bullet point with an action word. Action words give the impression that you will take initiative.
  • State major accomplishments and results.
  • List the most important accomplishments first.
  • Exclude information that is not relevant to the job you want.
  • Use bold font for job titles and/or company names.
  • Sprinkle in keywords from the job description so that you are speaking the employer's language.

If you held more than one position at the same company, list each job title separately under the company name, and follow each job title with its own bullet points.

How do I specify my accomplishments and results?

Your goal is to tell the hiring manager what you accomplished during your prior work experience, and the results of your efforts. Show them how you can apply your work experience to add value to their organization.

Be specific.

Accomplishment = Streamlined processes
Result= 15% reduction in claim processing time

Accomplishment = Answered 90% of calls within 30 seconds
Result = 10% higher than performance expectations

These examples show proven results - exactly what the hiring manager wants to see. They tell the employer that you will perform better than what is expected of you.

Say it with…

  • Numbers

    • 6 years of experience implementing wholesale marketing plans for two Fortune 500 corporations.
    • Received statewide recognition for exceeding sales quotas by 40%.
    • Consistently exceeded audit goals by 20% for the last 3 years.
    • Recruited, trained, and motivated 40-member marketing team at 3 locations.
    • Built client base of 230 customers, which is the highest in the company.

  • Percentages

    • Restructured claims approval process, which decreased processing time by 20%.
    • Reduced product costs by 10%, while consistently adding improved product features.
    • Decreased travel expenses by 40% through monthly account reconciliation techniques.

  • Dollar amounts

    • Initiated claims investigation which resulted in the recovery of $150,000 insurance overpayments.
    • Decreased advertising costs by $12,000 per year through the negotiation of cost-effective contracts.
    • Saved the organization $6,000 using thorough data analysis and system upgrades.

  • Words like "first, only, best, most, highest."

    • Only sales representative in the company to reach $100,000 in sales in one calendar year.
    • Motivated a team of 25 customer service representatives to achieve highest call center service levels in the Midwest area, 2 years in a row.
    • First recruiter to hire over 65 qualified candidates in one quarter.

These techniques will set you apart from the majority of job seekers, who simply list their job duties. Numbers stand out in the body of your resume, and quantify your accomplishments. They reflect how well you performed, and how you made a difference for your past employers. Companies want to hire someone who can make a difference.

Ask Yourself These Questions...

  • Did you improve processes?
  • Did you oversee a special project?
  • Did you save the company money?
  • Did you resolve a specific problem?
  • Did you exceed performance expectations?
  • Did you received any special recognition?
  • Did you make the company money?
  • Did you make the company more competitive?
  • Did you expand the business?
  • Did you attract new customers?
  • Did you increase profitability or productivity?
  • Did you win any awards or receive any special recognition?
  • Did you take initiative?
  • Did you do anything better than anyone else could?
  • Did you earn a promotion?
  • Did you go above and beyond?
  • Did you supervise employees?
  • Did you set yourself apart from others?

Look at your performance reviews from current and past employment. Your employer's expectations of you are are outlined there.

For example, if your performance review states that you are required to meet a sales quota of $10,000, but you made $15,000, you have a quantifiable accomplishment as follows:

"Exceeded sales quota by 50%, for three consecutive quarters."

See how easy that was?

All it takes is a little extra effort to formulate your bullet points into results-driven accomplishments. I guarantee you it will be worth the time because you will stand out from your competition. Employers will favor you as a potential employee who will take action and produce results for their company.

Do you have little or no work experience?

Don't be discouraged. If you are an entry-level candidate, employers do not expect you to have a large resume. In place of (or in addition to) work experience, the following information is effective on your resume:

  • Clubs, teams, committees, etc.
  • Extra-curricular activities
  • Volunteer/community service experience
  • Small jobs (baby-sitting, cashier, etc.)
  • Classes, unpaid jobs, internships, school clubs and offices held
  • Jobs and classes from college or high school that are related to the job

Just make sure that whatever you include is related to, or can somehow be applied to the job you want. For instance, if you are applying for a job as a counselor for teenagers, the fact that you are a member of the "Big Brothers Big Sisters" volunteer program is relevant to your target job.

Are you changing careers?

If you are changing careers, your previous work experience might be irrelevant to the job you want.

As a remedy, focus on your transferable skills, which are skills you have attained from jobs, classes, volunteer work, professional associations, etc., that can be easily applied in many different jobs or career fields.

Click here for examples.

I highly advise you to spend time studying this page. Use this information to clearly organize the work experience section of your resume.

Once you are confident in the results, you are ready to move on to the Education Section.

Other resume sections:

Contact Information
Resume Statement
Resume Objective
Career Summary
Optional Sections

Return from Work Experience to Resume Basics

Return from Work Experience to Simple Resume Writing Instructions Home

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