Include Intriguing Job Responsibilities
Some tasks are so mundane that they’re easily assumed from your job title. If you were a cashier, you obviously operated the cash register, so there’s no need to detail this on your resume. Instead, list tasks the hiring manager is unlikely to know about, such as taking the initiative to reorganize counter displays to better highlight the impulse purchases that are most common in your locale.
Why Employers Care About Work Experience On Your Resume
Heres what Ive discovered after years of working as a recruiter
If you have work experience , your recent work experience is the first place a hiring manager or recruiter looks on your resume to see if youre a good fit for their job.
So you want to put it front-and-center, and make sure your bullet points and other employment history details are GREAT.
For 95% of job seekers, there should only be a few things that come before your work history on your resume: You should put your name/contact info, a brief resume summary section, but thats it.
After this, you should be diving right into the employment history on your resume, because its what employers want to see right away on your resume.
Q: How Do I Articulate 20 Years Of Experience On My Resume
You only want to focus on the most recent 15 years of work experience, and the amount of detail you include for each role should decrease as you go back in your career. The reality is employers are going to say, That’s great what you did 10 years ago, but what have you done recently that’s relevant to what I’m hiring for?
That’s great what you did 10 years ago, but what have you done recently that’s relevant to what I’m hiring for?
For someone who has a lot of experience, what I typically recommend is: In addition to having your Professional Summary and Areas of Expertise, include a Career Highlights section on the first page. A highlights section is three or five bullets that show off the headliners from your 20-year career.
Not sure how to do this? You can see how a Career Highlights section is formatted in my article about ways to improve your senior-level resume.
Include anything that is highly brag-worthy, as well as particularly relevant to what you’re pursuing today. That way, if the role does fall toward the bottom of page two, it’s still getting a nod on the first page. Remember to look at each role and curate the information you’re providing based on what your current goal is.
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Your Resume’s Work Experience Section May Have Gaps And Flaws But Are They Important
Contrary to what the majority of experts in the 1990s believed, this study from the American Economic Review has demonstrated that even lengthy periods of unemployment or unrelated experience are irrelevant to employers if they are followed by professional expertise in your industry.
- If you’ve been unemployed for less than nine months, your current employment gaps have no bearing on the outcome of your job application.
- Modern employment gaps longer than nine months will only hurt your chances if you’re applying for positions requiring medium to low competence.
- Short version: You may have heard that employment gaps are always “red flags” for hiring managers or that you should strive to conceal them in your work experience on your resume.
- It is untrue. Employers now understand that it takes longer than it did 20 years ago to identify the ideal match between a job seeker and an organization, especially in light of the 2010s’ increase in unemployment.
How To Overcome An Employment Gap In Your Work History
There are two basic criteria you need to consider when thinking about the seriousness of an employment gap on your resume: their duration and how recent they were.
- Short gaps dont matter. Work gaps dont generally become red flags unless they lasted for more than six months.
- Old gaps dont matter either. Recruiters are interested in recent history and wont investigate things that no longer have an impact on the present.
But maybe your resume employment gaps are recent and quite long. What to do then?
- Change the way you write dates. Simply exclude months and the gap might disappear. So, instead of writing , , you write , . Obviously, this technique works best for employment gaps that took place within a single calendar year.
- Consider changing the format of your resume. You should use the functional resume format. It shifts attention to your strengths and job-relevant skills rather than your work history.
- Make the most of your employment gap. Starting a business, freelancing, studying, volunteering, taking a purposeful sabbatical all these count as valuable experience. List these experiences along with other positions you held in the work experience section. Describe how you expanded your skillset.
- Boost your credibility with references. Ask your former employers, ex-colleagues and other industry professionals if theyre willing to vouch for you. Include their names and contact information directly in your resume or attach an additional page to your resume.
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What Is A Work Experience Section
Employment history is a detailed summary of your past work experience. Its a detailed report of all jobs youve held in the past.
Depending on your background, you can include full-time positions, part-time jobs, temporary roles, internships or even volunteer work.
You should list key information such as names of companies, locations, job titles and positions held, dates of employment and responsibilities.
But more importantly, it should highlight your main achievements and provide specific examples.
It has many names. Some people call it employment history. Others refer to it it as work experience or work history.
Why Bother Writing It
Its super important. We hate to use the word important, but
Your work experience section is the most important part of your resume. In fact, when you think resume, the work experience section is probably the first thing that comes to your mind. And youre not alone. Based on this section employers determine whether or not you have what it takes for the job.
It provides an overview of your past experience. A well-written work experience section is a crucial element because it shows that you have the necessary qualifications.
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Start With A Competencies List
Hook the recruiter before she gets to your experience or discovers your age. The key here is to tell the recruiter exactly what you have to offer, at the top of your resume, below your contact information. You can do this by writing a summary of qualifications or summary statement advertising the best reasons to hire you.
Create a list of your assets that are relevant to this specific job and showcase them in the spot where the recruiter looks first. For example, if you work in HR, you might break out your specialty skills, such as payroll, recruiting, benefits administration, training or wellness.
Avoid listing cliches as your skills, recommends Ladders, such as that you are loyal, dependable and reliable.
Resume Work Experience Example #:
This is another employment history sample showing a great balance between attractive styling, but not going overboard and making it too busy or distracting.
Only one color is being used: blue . And the styling is simple enough to keep the readers attention on your accomplishments.
Contributed by: Virginia Franco, Founder of Virginia Franco Resumes and Forbes contributor
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Its All About Relevancy
When it comes to placing old work experience on your resume, Aikman says to focus on relevancy. If you did something in high school or college that is more relevant to what you are trying to do than other recent experiences, then Aikman says you absolutely should include it because it adds to your qualifications.
For those with a large gap in their employment, filling out a job application or going to an interview might be nerve-wrecking if youâre worried an employer will notice how far back your resume goes. But if you accomplished things in your personal life that you are proud of, you can find ways to showcase those accomplishments on your resume as relevant experience.
For example, if there is a gap in your employment because you had to care for a family member or loved one, you can explain what you learned or accomplished through that experience in a way that showcases the relevant work to the job you are now applying to. Maybe that experience taught you how to manage another personâs lifeâso you can showcase why youâd be a great assistant or general manager.
âIt just comes down to pulling out the relevant words to describe what you did,â says Aikman. âIt may mean you need to be skilled in how you present the information, because you may not be able to use the language you used before. Think about how you can communicate this experience using language that will resonate with the employer.â
How Far Back Should I List My Work History
Most recruiters and hiring managers will consider any experience beyond the past 10-15 years outdated or irrelevant. This is especially true in industries where there have been rapid advancements . In these industries, anything past the most recent 10-15 years experience isnt just irrelevant, its outdated. However, this isnt true for every industry so take a solid evaluation of your industry, whats changed, what is the same, and whether that prior experience will be a differentiator for you in todays job market.
Its likely that any experience prior to 2000 or even 2005 can safely be removed from your resume without doing any harm.
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List Your Most Important Accomplishments And Responsibilities
Your accomplishments and responsibilities are the most important part of your resume employment history. If you have just two or three jobs to list, you can break out your responsibilities into sections such as team leadership, account management and sales. You might also feature a list of responsibilities followed by a separate section for accomplishments and awards. If you have a long job history, brevity is critical. In this case, you should list only the most important information.
When you are listing your responsibilities, ensure that you are writing them in the past tense. The only exception to this rule is for your most recent job if you are still currently working there. In this case, you would instead put your responsibilities in the present tense.
Choose The Best Type Of Resume
Consider a Functional or Combination Resume. If youre currently using a chronological resume, which lists your experience in date order, it may be time to switch to a different format that doesnt focus on the years.
Consider using a functional resume, which focuses on your skills and experience and lists your accomplishments at the top of your resume. Alternatively, you could use a combination resume, which features both skills and your work history .
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Request Employment History From Social Security
You can receive a statement of your employment history from the Social Security Administration by completing a “Request for Social Security Earnings Information” form. You’ll receive detailed information about your work history, including employment dates, employer names and addresses, and earnings.
The SSA charges a fee for detailed information based on the length of time for which you would like to receive records.
List Your Employment History First Unless You’re New In The Workplace
A chronological resume style lists your work history at the top, which is where most hiring managers want it. You should almost always take this approach. The exception is when you don’t have a long work history. Recent graduates or those entering the workforce for the first time may choose a functional resume instead, which places skills above your work history.
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Delete Anything From High School
Unless youâre currently in university or college, or under the age of 20, do not include your high school education or achievements on your resume. Focusing on your high school achievements, especially if theyâre more than a few years old can seem desperate and make it seem like you have nothing more recent to share. Even if you were an outstanding high school student who racked up all kinds of awards and achievements, it’s almost always underwhelming to discuss your high school achievements in the context of employment. Thereâs one exception: if high school is your highest level of education, you can include the name of your high school and your graduation date under your education section. However, avoid including a list of extra-curricular activities or other achievements.
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At the end of the day, your resume is a marketing document. Its purpose is to showcase why you’re the best possible candidate for the job youâve applied to. Itâs not a legally binding document that has to list the minutia of your work history down to your high school record and part-time jobs. Sometimes, making cuts is essential to create the best possible narrative!
What Not To Include In Your Career History
You don’t need to list your reasons for leaving each role. You dont have to include every job youve ever had, eitherespecially roles from more than 20 years ago.
Only include volunteer work in your career history if it involved relevant skills for the role youre applying for. If it’s not relevant, include volunteer work in a separate section of your resume.
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Can Future Employers See Past Jobs
The bottom line is simple: yes, background checks can reveal past employers. Some state laws, however, may prevent employers from asking about anything more than the basic details of your previous employment. For instance, a prospective employer could verify your start and end dates, job title, and job description.
How To Keep Track Of Your Job History
For future reference, an easy way to keep track of your personal employment history is to keep your resume and LinkedIn profile up to date.
- Add the new information whenever you change jobs, receive a promotion, add new responsibilities, record a significant accomplishment, or receive any awards. This way, you will have a current copy of your work history whenever you need it.
- Even if you don’t include all those jobs on your resume , save a master copy that includes your work and educational history in its entirety. That will make it much easier to provide the information employers require on your resume and in job applications.
- Creating and updating a detailed is another excellent way to maintain current documentation of your employment history, educational background, and accomplishments.
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Why Do You Only Include The Past 10
As I mentioned above, many fields are advancing so rapidly that experience from 10-15 years ago simply isnt relevant today. There are other reasons to include only the most recent experience on your resume.
Including only the most recent 10-15 years of experience cuts back on the clutter and text density on your resume. Youre not trying to cram 20 or 30 years of experience into two pages. Instead, youre able to really showcase and highlight your contributions from the last 10 years and give it full attention and space.
Using the past 10 years of work experience also cuts off any opportunities for implicit age bias. As a career expert who works with middle-aged job seekers every day, Id love to be able to say that I never hear of age discrimination but that simply isnt so. By removing dates from earlier work history were minimizing any opportunities for age bias before a candidate has been offered more serious consideration. In other words, they can see your value and contributions first and foremost.
If Youve Held The Same Job For A While
If youve been in the same position for 15 years, including older jobs can be a good way of rounding out your accomplishments and demonstrating career growth. That said, it isnt the only way you can also show growth within the same company by using different job titles if youve been promoted or by emphasizing that youve taken on higher level responsibilities over time in your accomplishments.
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Finally Create An Impact With Relevance
One of the most important keys to having an impactful resume is to include the most relevant information to the position. While it might be tempting to add everything to your resume, quality carries more impact than quantity, and taking the time to edit your previous work experience can be what ultimately helps you get hired for the position. Try to take the extra time to cut and refine the information you do put on your resume to make sure its presented as efficiently as possible. The effort is well worth the time, as your resume is often the first impression you give to a hiring manager.
Listing Work History And Professional Background
You might consider this format to list your experience. Start with your most recent employment dates in reverse chronological order, stating only the years you worked within the role:
Sales Associate. Whole Skincare Products, Inc. 2014-2019
For example, Increased online sales by 12% within three months of implementing a new marketing campaign.
When using this format, you may also consider briefly listing any significant time spent on professional development or continuing education that may have been required in the role.
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