How to Write Work Experience for a Resume

In a resume work experience section, you prove to employers how responsible and successful you were in past jobs. Check out good examples and see how to write a jaw-dropping work experience resume section.

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CPRW, Career Advice Expert
by Gabriela Hernandez  CPRW, Career Advice Expert 
April 13, 2023  
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How to Write a Resume Work
Experience

To write a resume that will get you interviews, you must write an impactful resume work experience section.

Although all five sections of a resume are important, it’s no secret that the work experience tends to be what most recruiters want to see the most.

Your employment history is a quick and sure-fire way for recruiters to determine if you have the skills and knowledge to do a particular job.

So, whether you are a recent graduate, a mid-career professional seeking career growth or an executive, this guide will give you the tools to write a personalized work experience section that brings out the best of you.

This work experience section writing guide will show you:

What is a work experience section, and why is it important?

Your resume’s work experience section shows employers the job titles you have held in the past, the type of work you performed in each role, and your career progress.

The best job experience sections also give hiring managers a clear idea of your strengths by showing off your work’s positive impact.

For applicants using a combination or chronological resume format, this section is often examined closely by recruiters. For that reason, it’s important to make it count.

Elements of a resume work
experience section

resume work experience

How to write a resume work
experience section in 4 simple
steps

STEP 1

Get organized.

Preparation is key to writing an effective job experience section. Start by collecting the basic information you’ll need to list for each job, including:

  1. Job title
  2. Company name
  3. Company location
  4. Dates of employment

Do some online research to make sure all of your information is correct.

STEP 2

List your work experience in
reverse-chronological order.

Your current or most recent role should be at the top of your list, with your oldest position at the bottom. This allows employers to see at a glance how long you’ve been employed, your career progression and whether there are any major holes in your employment history.

For each role, start by making a simple list of job responsibilities. Think about your daily, weekly, monthly and even annual duties.

STEP 3

Make regular job duties sound like accomplishments.

Think about your proudest moments in each role, and mention those accomplishments at the top of your bullet points. For example, if you were charged with stocking and organizing office supplies as an office manager and you improved the system, mention that in your work experience section.

How you write about a task is critical. Changing a simple entry, like “Responsible for organizing the supply closet,” to “Spearheaded a major reorganization of office supply closets to simplify the monthly inventory process” makes a big difference. The second version uses an action verb and helps hiring managers see the work task you completed, the leadership role you took, and the results your work generated.

STEP 4

Add metrics and numbers to show
your impact.

Numbers are eye-catching and show a recruiter the positive impact of your work. Go back to the list of job duties and accomplishments you have listed and think about them in terms of numbers. Almost every job presents this opportunity. Here are some ideas for using resume metrics:

  • How many customer emails did you respond to daily?
  • What percentage did sales increase during your tenure?
  • How many followers did your company gain thanks to your social media skills?
  • Where were you able to save the company money?
  • How many cars did you repair each month?

As the adage goes: Show, don’t tell. Adding these metrics is a much more effective way to get a hiring manager’s attention than just a description of general duties because it quantifies your accomplishments in a way that is easy to understand.

Sure a lot goes into writing an impeccable work experience, but don’t let the process intimidate you. You can check out our ultimate resume writing guide for 2023 for a deep dive into every resume section.

If finding the right words isn’t your strong suit, you can find dozens of content suggestions you can copy and paste onto your work experience when you use our Resume Builder.

Create a resume in minutes

Create a resume in minutes!

Our Resume Builder takes basic information like your desired job title and experience level to generate a fully personalized resume you can customize.

Work experience examples by
experience level

Check out these work experience samples to see how to write a personalized work experience section for your particular career level and job.

Entry-level sales associate work experience sample

Work Experience

Sales Associate 11/2022 – 01/2023

Kohl’s | Tampa, FL

  • Helped 50 customers complete purchases daily, locate items and join reward programs.
  • Stocked and arranged merchandise in attractive displays to drive sales.
  • Kept 50% of sales floor area clean and clear of merchandise to ensure a pleasant shopping experience.

Cashier 06/2022 – 08/2022

The Burger Stop | Tampa, FL

  • Learned every menu preparation and 20+ smoothie and shake beverages to meet all customer needs, maintaining 97% of customer satisfaction.
  • Reconciled cash drawer at the start and end of each shift, checking for errors and resolving irregularities, reducing loss by 76%.
  • Processed an average of 150 POS transactions, including checks, cash and credit purchases.

Mid-career marketing manager work experience sample

Work Experience

Associate Marketing Manager 04/2019 – Present

Zenith Media Group | Miami, FL

  • Build effective relationships with sales managers and agency team leaders to expedite appropriate sales enablement of products and services according to market demand.
  • Develop promotional campaigns by bundling products, increasing sales revenue by 54% with a projected year-on sales growth of $300K.
  • Responsible for all aspects of projects, ensuring deadlines, supervising team, contingency planning, budgeting, campaign analysis, approval channels and more.

Marketing Assistant 03/2017 – 01/2019

Poof, LLC | Miami, FL

  • Collaborated with product development team to create marketing materials for sales presentations and client meetings.
  • Assisted in evaluating marketing copy, art comps and design drafts and comparing them with the marketing manager’s expectations.
  • Assisted with over 40 sales presentations, proposals and contracts.

Highly-experienced software engineer work experience sample

Work Experience

Senior Software Engineer 07/2017 – Present

TechWorks, Inc. | New York, NY

  • Supervise a team of 18 and kick off weekly discussions to deliberate ideas in software development and oversee changes made in existing programs.
  • Lead large software deployments, including testing features and fixing code.
  • Enhance 65% of system performance by making proactive corrections and solving bugs.

Software Engineer 02/2011 – 06/2017

TechWorks, Inc. | New York, NY

  • Worked with software development team of 12 to design and develop solutions to meet client specifications for functionality, scalability and performance.
  • Trained and mentored seven junior engineers, taught them skills in SQL and Python, improving team performance by 48%.
  • Created innovative integrated content management system using C#.

Career-change project manager work experience sample

Work Experience

Project Manager 01/2018 – Present

Unlimited, LLC | San Francisco, CA

  • Implement Agile management standards by deploying exercises such as sprint planning and team-leading standups.
  • Oversee project timelines and liaise with executive management and staff of 15 to ensure progress.
  • Update project scope, monitor cost and implement appropriate change management processes to keep projects on time and within budget.

Graphic Design Lead 05/2013 – 12/2017

Notesy | Reno, NV

  • Led 12 team members in executing new designs and updates during sprint cycles, improving timely submissions by 28%.
  • Collaborated with development and engineering teams to develop design solutions for designs while implementing correct application updates.
  • Created landing and homepage designs for 5+ applications in line with engineering and development requirements promptly, 100% of the time.

5 tips for maximizing your resume work experience

  1. 1Customize your work experience.

    Many employers today use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to weed out unqualified applicants. An ATS scans resumes for keywords typically pulled straight from the job ad. You must tailor your work experience section to each job by identifying these keywords from the job ad. You significantly increase your chances of securing an interview when you take this step. Take care to use the exact wording as the job ad, too. For example, if the job ad calls for “strong written communication,” write that on your resume instead of “excellent writing skills.” An ATS won’t recognize those as the same skill.

  2. 2Place the most important information at the top.

    Don’t make hiring managers work to find the information they need. Curate each entry in your work experience section to feature the most critical information in the top bullet points.

  3. 3Use powerful language.

    Remember, recruiters sometimes read dozens of resumes in a day. Often, they are reading the same dull language over and over again. Use strong action verbs to start each bullet point. This will help elevate ordinary duties, responsibilities and accomplishments in all your job entries and make your resume stand out.

  4. 4Be consistent with tense.

    Write in the present tense for your current job, but use the past tense for all previous roles. Doing so orients the reader in time and shows that you have an eye for detail.

  5. 5Only include the essential information.

    Resumes should be one page for applicants with less than 10 years of experience and up to two pages for job seekers with a decade or more of work experience. For experienced applicants, that requires brevity. Give enough details about each role to help a hiring manager understand your qualifications but don’t list mundane information about each position. Your resume real estate is valuable. Make every word count.

How work experience sections vary by resume format

The length and detail of your work experience will vary based on your chosen resume format. There are three basic resume formats, each of which works for a different type of job seeker. Below, we explore the work experience section’s role in each resume format.

In combination and chronological resumes, the work experience section is very important as it becomes the place to include details, such as metrics, to quantify your achievements. In the skills-based functional resume the work experience section is far less prominent.

Chronological

A chronological resume is perfect for applicants whose goal is to showcase a long work history, an impressive career trajectory or significant professional achievements.

Who should use the chronological resume format:

  • Mid-career and executive-level applicants.
  • Applicants with 10+ years of experience.

How work experience should appear on this resume format:

Retail Specialist 05/2018 to 11/2020

Larsen MacColl Partners | Hartford, CT

  • Drove team revenue totals by bringing in over $10,000 in sales.
  • Regularly met or exceeded special targets, such as special donations and specific product promotions.
  • Increased credit card applications by 23% in 2019.

Combination

A combination resume allows applicants to showcase the most impressive details of their work histories and a stellar skill set, making it a good choice for various job seekers.

Who should use the combination resume format:

  • Job seekers re-entering the workforce.
  • Mid-career professionals who want to show off both skills and detailed work experience.
  • Applicants who seek a career change.

How work experience should appear on this resume format:

Marketing Director 04/2016 – Present

Standex International Co. | Garden City, NJ

  • Devise and deploy online marketing plans with effective SEO.
  • Increased audience engagement 18% through social media and viral video campaign strategies in 2019.
  • Capitalized on industry and marketplace trends to strategize marketing solutions and enhance business operations by 15%.

Functional

The functional resume is entirely skills-based, making it perfect for those who are just entering the workforce, have long work history gaps, or want to highlight skills and downplay their work experience for other reasons.

Who should use the functional resume format:

  • Entry-level applicants.
  • Those with gaps in their employment histories.
  • Freelance and gig economy workers.
  • Other job seekers who don’t have relevant work experience.

How work experience should appear on this resume format:

Painter 07/2019 – Present

Disney Meetings Events | Anaheim, CA

Driver 05/2017 – 07/2019

Uber | Anaheim, CA

5 ways a resume builder can help
you write your work experience
section

Our Resume Builder can help you craft a compelling work experience section with:

  • Dozens of personalized content suggestions.
  • Examples of responsibilities and accomplishments for your desired job.
  • Keyword recommendations to bypass ATS.
  • Suggestions of quantifiable achievements.
  • Automatic document formatting.

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Resume examples for great work
experience sections

Find the resume example for your desired job title, and edit that resume sample in our Builder to get your personalized resume in minutes!

Frequently asked questions

What qualifies as work experience?

Your aim is to inspire the potential employer to contact you, and everything in your resume should be aimed at landing the interview. That means you should stay current and concise. List work, volunteer or community service experiences relevant to the job you are applying for and best highlight the breadth of your experiences. You should start with the most recent or current position and move backward from there for only the first 10 years or less of your career history.

Can I put volunteer work under work experience?

Yes. Volunteer work, extracurricular activities and school projects are great things to include in a resume if you are applying for your first job or don’t have much experience. Employers want to know how you gained knowledge related to the job you’re applying to, so including volunteer experience, transferable skills, and emphasizing your education will help them see what you bring to the table.

How do you write a resume with little or no work experience?

Even if you have no work experience, you may have experience from volunteering, school activities or relevant hobbies that can show employers achievements and transferable skills that meet their requirements. As long as it relates to the job and you derived relevant experience, you can cite it on your resume. Remember, you don’t have to delve as much into your work experience in a skills-based resume. Instead, your education and transferable skills will be the highlight.

About the Author

Gabriela Hernandez

Gabriela Hernandez CPRW, Career Advice Expert

Gabriela Hernandez is one of LiveCareer's resident writers. She graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a degree in Journalism. Throughout her career, she has tackled copywriting, blog articles, journalistic writing, academic writing, resume writing, and even prose and verse.

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