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How Much Work Experience On A Resume

Don’t Wait For Your References To Be Called

Resume Builder Step 4: How to Write Your Work Experience

Every time we suggest that you include written references with a resume or job application, someone cringes — and in their defense, it is not typical job seeker behavior.

But for military spouses constantly on the move, juggling the demands of military life, and in many cases starting their careers afresh at a new duty station, those references are absolutely critical. If you lack professional experience, you can play up extracurricular experience that your references can actually support. Instead of just saying yourself that you are a good leader, you prove that someone else thinks you are a good leader, too, by including letters of reference.

But without a strong job history, who can you turn to for those references? Look to former academic advisers, teachers or club supervisors. If you have strong volunteer experience, ask the people in charge to write letters on your behalf that support the skills you claim to have. Each reference should be able to speak to a different skill set you have mastered or volunteer experience that lends itself to job readiness.

While that seems easy enough in theory, these references can be difficult to ask for in real life. Be straightforward with people: The people you might ask to be references are people who also believe in you and your potential.

Curate Your Content: Tips For An Effective Experience Section

Thinking about how far back your resume should go is only part of the equation for a successful experience section on your resume. Not only do you have to consider what you choose to include, but how you choose to convey the information.

Cleverly curating your content all starts with understanding the role youre applying for, advises Chase. I recommend reading through the job description, highlighting the key things youve done, and including in your resume, she says. If it doesnt have a lot of detail, you can look at similar job descriptions and see if you can find more information. Its also helpful to talk to people in that role to understand their main responsibilities.

From there, you can aim any of your work history in the right direction: use keywords or emphasize skills or achievements in past roles to demonstrate that your talents are transferable.

George advises telling a story with each entry in your experience section. Your work experience adds value to you as a professional and person, she says. Figure out what that value is by identifying what did you learn then apply and focus on the relevancy to the job.

To really take the experience section of your resume to the next level, George suggests making sure each entry includes these three elements:

A problem that you solved on a project or in a role The action you took to resolve the problem The results/positive outcome.

Do Unpaid Jobs Count As Work Experience On A Resume

Unpaid jobs such as volunteering, research, babysitting, or internships can count as work experiences. These types of tasks should be listed in the same way as paid work experiences. Do not include the words unpaid in the listings, as it is unnecessary and can damage your chances.

Unpaid jobs can still require the same amount of hard work and skill necessary to complete the task. Especially in the case of unpaid internships, this experience is thorough enough that it is deserving of being listed in the work experience section.;

Once you have paid professional work experience, it is best to replace the unpaid work on your resume. Employers will value company employee experience over volunteer or sporadic experience, so only include these if you do not have other relevant experience that you can list.

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How Far Back Should Your Employment History Go

My advice here is the same advice I give for how back to go with your story when they ask, tell me about yourself in an interview.

If youve been working for less than 8-10 years, Id go back to the beginning of your professional work history, and try to tailor everything to be relevant for the jobs youre pursuing now.

You might be thinking theres nothing in common between your prior professional experience and the jobs you want now, but theres usually an angle you can find!

Heres an example of how you may have relevant experience in your background even if youre an entry level job seeker or applying to a totally new type of position:

When I was in college, I worked in customer service at Whole Foods Market. Not too glamorous, right?

But I became a supervisor, and;youd be amazed how many interviewers asked me about this job, even after 4-5 years had passed .

So dont assume something isnt relevant. If you showed advancement/growth, leadership, or other impressive traits, employers will love it. Its your job to;make the bullet points impressive;and show them how its relevant.

Now, on the other hand, if youve worked more than 10 years, and/or if you are a Manager/Director, etc., consider starting your resume work history at the point you became a manager.

Describe Your Educational Background

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As a no-experience job seeker, your educational background is likely your strongest job qualification . This is especially true if youre writing a college freshman resume or have recently graduated.

One approach to highlight this background is to describe your relevant coursework first, like this:

You also need a resume education section, regardless if you want to mention your relevant classwork. And because youre applying for your first time job, its okay to make this section longer to fit your academic experiences.

Expand your education section by mentioning any student committees you were part of, and any scholarships, awards, or honors you were awarded. Additionally, include your GPA on your resume to further emphasize your work ethic and potential.

These details are helpful for recruiters and hiring managers, and give them another way to assess your resume other than work experience.

Heres an example of a smaller resume education section taken from a no-experience resume:

Graduate Studies

M.S. in Computer Science

California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CaliforniaB.S. in Electrical Engineering

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List Out The Relevant Job Titles

Do you know what work experience you have that is most relevant to the job position youre applying for?

If you dont, you need to do the background research.

Its important to meet the expectations of not only the employers but the applicant tracking system. Without including the relevant experience resume scanners are watching out for, you wont stand a chance.

For those of you without much work experience trying to make the most out of what youve got, its a different story.

This brings up two very common questions:

  • Should I include irrelevant work experience on my resume?
  • Should I put seminars or training on my resume?

Lets answer this in more detail.

Should I Include Irrelevant Work Experience On a Resume?

Generally, you should avoid including experiences that are irrelevant. However, if you dont have anything else to put in, then its better to include them than nothing.

Since some of you may have no work experience, you should use whatever you can to your advantage. The hiring managers are less likely to notice the gaps if you do this properly.

As long as you make it seem valuable by showing youre familiar with the work environment and responsibilities, thats what matters.

Alternatively, you should try to talk about how you developed skills such as:

Should I Put Seminars On My Resume?

However, there are ways to go about including your seminars or training.

For example, lets take a look at an engineer in training:

Omitting Jobs From Your Resume

There may be a variety of circumstances that may lead you to wanting to omit certain jobs from your resume.

For instance, if you were fired from your previous position, you may feel inclined to try and hide this information out of fear of it leaving a bad impression on hiring managers.

However, even jobs you were fired from should be included if they are relevant working experience

Being fired from a previous job is not an automatic deal breaker in most cases, and including that position on your resume is oftentimes preferred over leaving unexplained gaps in your employment history.

Moreover, you do not have to explicitly state on your resume that you were fired.

Should this be a topic of concern, it will likely come up in a job interview at which point you can more clearly and directly explain what happened.

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How To Write Work Experience On A Resume

A well-written work experience section is a crucial element on your resume because it shows that you have the necessary qualifications to be an asset to your potential employer. It also provides substantial information in a limited space. In this article, well show you how to list work experience on a resume to make a strong impression on your prospective employer.

How Many Years Of Experience To List On Your Resume

How To Write A Resume With Little or No Work Experience – Resume Template

Do you have to include every job you’ve ever had on your resume? Not necessarily. When you have extensive experience,;you don’t need to list your entire;work history.

Your resume is a synopsis of your qualifications and experience that shows what you have accomplished that is relevant to the job. You don’t need to include everything you’ve ever done on your resume, especially if you’ve been in the workforce for many years or have shifted careers.

In fact, you may want to have several versions of your resume. One with all your experience so you can keep track of it, a targeted resume that you can customize for each job you apply to, and a shorter version for career networking and job fairs.

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How To List Achievements And Accomplishments

When it comes to listing your achievements and accomplishments on a resume, there are several considerations to keep in mind

As a general rule of thumb, your job descriptions are the best place to showcase your greatest accomplishments within a position.

For example, letâs say you worked in a sales position and raised overall sales by 10 percent.

This is the kind of specific accomplishment you will want to list within your job description.

As previously mentioned, you will always want to be as specific as possible when listing out your achievements.

Here are some examples of how to properly list your accomplishments within your work experience section:

If you have specific data to quantify an accomplishment, always provide specific numbers rather than generalized statements.


Increased productivity of staff immensely over the course of the position.


Improved staff productivity rates , leading to a reduction of labor costs .

Awards are a type of achievement that can be particularly useful to include.

Keep in mind that a hiring manager may not be familiar with company-specific awards.

Thus, you should provide enough detail to explain the importance of the award.


Earned the Departmental MVP Award in 2019.


Earned the 2019 Departmental MVP Award for increasing productivity and efficiency rates, as well as improving cross-functionality of the department.

Your Age Is No Match For Your Experience This Is How To Put Your Relevancy Front And Center When Writing Your Resume

Your resume should tout your skills, not your age.

If youre among the generation of older workers approaching 50 or older, you have so much value to bring to prospective employersexperience, hard skills, a been-there-done-that track record of industry know-how. So its a bit ironic that all your expertise could wind up working against you when youre looking for a job.

By structuring your resume strategically, you can combat ageism in your job search and showcase the qualifications that are most relevant to the job youre seeking, says Kim Isaacs, executive resume writer and resume expert.

For instance, think twice before leading with decades of experience on your resume. Thats a career red flag that might signal to employers that youre outdated or overqualified, when, in fact, youre exactly who theyre looking to hire.

Older workers tend to have a boatload of experienceoften in many different functional areas, Isaacs says, so the challenge is to whittle the resume content down to what employers would find most valuable.

Ready to put together a resume thats anything but old-school? Follow these pro tips:

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How To Put Work Experience On A Resume

The work experience section is where you get to really sell yourself, so you have to make sure you really iron out the details and the formatting makes sense.

This is where you get to show off your best qualities.

Because, if the recruiter is going to pick between 10 different candidates, you know for a fact theyre going to narrow down the list starting with the most relevant experience.

To get your work experience to really shine on your resume, first, were going to cover the basic formatting, and then get to the best practices on how to stand out with your work experience section.

Whats that? You dont have any experience to begin with? No problem!

Check out our no experience resume guide if youre trying to get your first professional job.

Now, heres what you need to know about structuring your work experience section.

Mention The Information In The Resume Summary

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If you have important information related to your earlier experience, you can mention it in your resume summary. Adding notable experience to your summary makes it easy for the hiring manager to scan, making it more likely for them to read the rest of your resume.

Read more: How to Write a Stellar Entry-Level Resume Summary

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Make Sure To List Specific Accomplishments In Your Work History

With the examples above, its important to list accomplishments on your resume work history, not just duties/responsibilities.

Theres a big difference between saying, I was responsible for handling 50 customer requests per day, and saying, I successfully responded to 50 customer requests per day, while keeping a 98% customer satisfaction rating.

In the second one, youre phrasing it as an accomplishment instead of simply talking about what you were responsible for or supposed to do. And youre adding a great data point 98% customer satisfaction.

Try to do this whenever possible when listing accomplishments on your resume. Keep that in mind when you copy the examples above.

If you want more help with this, detailed examples and instructions are;here.

The Benefits Ofshared Services

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The functions listed above are usually grouped together under the “shared services” umbrella of larger companies.

These non-revenue generating functions should really be treated as professional, in-house consultants who should be involved in the different parts of your projects, programs, or business transactions in order to:

  • identify and mitigate risk
  • assure quality standards
  • avoid labor issues

At the end of the day, these functions are not aimed at making business decisions themselves but rather providing the best information and advice based on the information given, as well as the time constraints they have to provide such information. Fine-tuned negotiation and communication skills are usually required when dealing with all of these areas so that business targets are met in the best way possible.

It can be tempting to blame these areas for business failures but, when it comes down to it, success or failure is ultimately the outcome of the decisions made by the business leaders.

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Struggling to find the right job?

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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The Best Font Size For A Resume

The size font you use on a resume will depend on how much you have written, as you need your content to fill up one entire page. A good place to start is using 16pt for your name, 12pt for your section headers, and 11pt for the body of your text. Experiment conservatively until your one-page resume looks complete.

Resume Work Experience Example #2:

How to write a no work experience resume

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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How Long Should My Resume Be

Keep your resume short and to the point, so you can make a good impression when an employer takes a quick glance at it. Consider making your resume one or two pages if you have less than 10 years of professional experience. Senior executives or academics may like to have resumes that are three or more pages long.

Looking For Your Next Job Now

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!

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