There are tried and true techniques that elevate the chances a hiring manager will notice you and call for that interview. There are also as many errors and omissions that can get your resume tossed in a NOT INTERESTED pile faster than it’ll take the manager to reach for the next resume. To get the most out of your Work Experience section, here are some Do’s and Don’ts you’ll definitely want to keep in mind.
Stick with one font throughout the resume. The many designs, templates and format possibilities may be tempting – especially if you’re a designer or graphics person – but in the long run, a resume is a professional document and can’t look like an art project. You can change size of fonts and use limited amounts of color, but a single font is easier to read. Time New Roman or Ariel is best.
Don’t Do This
Put too much information into the section. There is no guideline that says the hiring manager has to know everything you did and do. List the employer, position, city, state and time period. If you have room for a brief description, go ahead but the list of relevant duties gets priority. Try to make them relevant to the position you’re applying for. Use no more than the last 10 years, unless you’ve been working at the same place for a decade. In that case, you can go back at least 15.
Sit down and objectively look at what attributes you offered each of your employers and how that relates to the position you’re interested in. List those attributes by order of importance and work your way down. Be ready to change the details based on the company and position so that each submission is personalized.
Don’t Do This
Don’t forget to check your grammar, punctuation and spelling. This cannot be stressed enough because it’s the one gaffe even the smartest job seekers fall victim to. Have your resume read by someone you trust with language. Read it aloud to yourself. It’s easy to miss errors when you’ve read the material so many times you don’t see what it says anymore, you just think you know.
Take the best elements of the Internet and apply it to your Work Section. Read the job listing carefully or take what you’ve researched about the company and find keywords. Wherever possible, implement those keywords into the Work History. If the listing uses phrasing like “proficiency in email,” repeat that. This technique directly connects you to the position.
Don’t Do This
Use a passive voice that makes your history sound mundane. Include accomplishments as well as duties. Share recognition and awards received. Most Work Experience sections tend to be dry listings and not demonstrations of the candidate’s value to a company and how that value can benefit the considered position.
Make sure you write with a focus on the target job. Generic resumes are a thing of the past and easily recognizable by hiring managers that stare at them all day. Take advantage of LiveCareer’s products like Resume Builder, Resume Examples and Resume Check to learn the most effective ways to create a strong Work History and eye-catching resume.