What’s a Work Experience Section?
Considered the most essential part of your resume by most employers, your work experience section outlines your professional experience. To recruiters, a candidate’s work experience is always reviewed to see whether they are qualified for the role at hand.
This section needs to show off your work experience, your career trajectory, and demonstrate how you’ve used your skills in past roles.
6 Simple Steps to Writing a Work Experience Section
Create an outline of your employment history.
Most resumes have two to four roles included in the employment history. Start with the most recent and list the others in reverse-chronological order. Be sure to research the proper name of the organization, its city and state, the job title you held, and your dates of employment.
Choose your most-relevant past roles.
For job seekers with long work histories, not every prior role is worth mentioning on a resume. Choosing the most pertinent jobs is vital. Some jobs provide relevant experience with specific equipment or software, while others may have helped you develop transferable skills. Every position you put on your application materials should directly relate to getting the position you want.
Make a list of compelling action words.
Ditch boring descriptors like, “Responsible for …” on a resume. Every bullet point should start with an interesting action verb. Before you begin writing, brainstorm and write down what actions you took in each position, and choose appropriate verbs to add to your document.
Detail your work experience.
Each position should have five to eight bullet points, with the most emphasis put on your current (or most recent) role. Remember that only your current role should be described in the present tense; use past tense for all others.
Quantify with data and metrics.
Once you’ve described your past roles, show hiring managers the impact your work had by including data and metrics that highlight your results. Including information like sales revenue, website traffic, and other metrics show that you are results-driven.
Review and trim your writing.
Your employment history should be thorough yet concise. Look for any fluffy wording that you can boil down to its most basic form. Then, proofread your work carefully for grammar and spelling errors.
Work Experience Section Examples to Consider at Every Level
The employment history on an entry-level resume will look very different than one for an executive position – both in the length of the section and how roles are described. The resume format you choose will also play a role in how you present your employment history and the amount of detail it contains.
To show these principles in action, we used our Resume Builder to create example Work History sections for four different types of job seekers. By studying these samples, you can learn exactly what your resume should look like regardless of what type of position you seek.
In addition to these samples, our Resume Builder can help create a complete resume for job seekers in every industry and at every career level.
Entry-level Work History Example
Customer Service Representative – 08/2016 to Current
County Style Buffet – San Diego, CA
Mid-Career Work History Example
Johnson Manufacturing And Sales – Operations Manager
03/2018 – Current
- Provide instruction to a team of 12 full-time workers
- Created a training plan designed to ensure all employees complete work quickly and correctly, which resulted in a 15% reduction in quality complaints
- Review financial reports, identifying areas in need of improvement
- Create the schedule, taking labor costs into account
Blue Collar Work History Example
Transportation Inspector / Robinson Shipping And Handling – Dallas, TX / 01.2019 – Current
- Inspect fleet of 42 vehicles for damage and mechanical malfunctions
- Designed an inspection plan that resulted in 25% fewer vehicle malfunctions in 2018
- Examine all logistics equipment to prevent injury
- Oversee vehicle and equipment maintenance processes to ensure correct practices and test vehicles for harmful emissions
Executive-level Work History Example
Transportation Logistics Manager
Johnson Manufacturing And Sales – Orlando, FL
02/2015 – Current
- Plan and organize all departments related to transportation, and manage four direct reports
- Review 10-15 vehicle inspection reports daily and write maintenance cost reports, as required
- Present logistics progress to the Board of Directors
- Monitor operations at all times
6 Dos & Don’ts for Crafting this Section
- Do prioritize more relevant past roles. Not every work experience is worth the same in the eyes of recruiters. Think about which past roles make you seem the most qualified for the position at hand.
- Do include keywords from the job description. If the hiring manager uses an applicant tracking system to filter out candidates, this helps get your application past it.
- Do include metrics in your employment history. Actual numbers make you seem credible and give employers tangible proof of how much you benefited previous employers.
- Don’t use the same action words repeatedly. Rather than emphasizing your qualifications, this could have the opposite effect and makes you seem less experienced. Write down every verb you use to spot any that appear over and over.
- Don’t plagiarize the job description. While you should include skills and keywords from the job description, copying long, exact phrases from it can make hiring managers think you are only reiterating what they want to hear.
- Don’t worry if you have little to no experience. If it is an entry-level position, employers expect applicants to have limited work experience. Simply list what you can, whether it is an internship, volunteer work, or academic experience.