Why It’s Important To Describe Your Work Experience On A Resume
Using the right language to describe your most relevant work experience can make you stand out from other candidates for the roles you apply to. The way you display your experience on your resume can put you on the shortlist of desired candidates from the outset. Employers also want to ensure that you can articulate your work history, explain why it makes you the right fit for the job and show how you can meet their expectations if they hire you.
To upload the template into Google Docs, go to File > Open > and select the correct downloaded file.
Having Past Or Present Tense On Your Resume Can Make A Difference Learn More About Resume Tips From Monster
Figure out which verb tense you should use on your resume.
Grammar rules can be a pain, but don’t ignore themyou can be sure hiring managers will be paying close attention! Choosing the right tense is important when you’re starting to write a resume and apply to jobs. As with so many elements of a good resume, the ultimate choice comes down to your individual style and preferences. Use these guidelines to help you choose the right approach.
Begin Each Bullet Point With Action Verbs
Begin your bullet points with descriptive resume action verbs that clearly show hiring managers how you handled work at previous companies. Using action verbs ensures the hiring manager sees you as an effective employee who can get work done.
Here are some examples of action verbs being used to effectively describe a job seekers work experience:
- Organized a work safety initiative that saved the company money on workers comp
- Developed new communications protocols that improved connectivity between the company and clients
- Optimized product delivery logistics that accelerated order fulfilment for customers
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Place Your Job Descriptions Near The Beginning Of Your Resume
For many hiring managers, your descriptions of your previous work experiences are their primary source of information about you. For this reason, place this section near the top of the first page, where anyone looking at your resume can find it easily. Add your work history before the skills or education sections to make sure that people can see exactly why you’re qualified for a position by considering your past accomplishments.
Customizing These Work Experience Examples
Now, you could just copy and use one of the formats above, from the three previous work experience examples that I just gave you.
However, I also recommend adjusting it to fit your situation. Ill explain
Depending on how often youve changed jobs and how long youve been working, you may want to list months and years, or only years for your dates of employment.
Be strategic and decide whats best for you. If you held a job for only a few months, it might be better just to list everything in terms of years, and not include months.
And you can also leave a job off of your resume entirely. This is not a work history section of a job application where youre required to list all previous jobs. Its entirely up to you what goes on your resume).
Whatever you do, stay consistent with the same formatting for every job. Thats very important. Remember, you want this to be EASY to read for the hiring manager.
So use the work experience examples above to create your own, but also make sure youre doing what fits your career and experience!
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How You Know Its Time To Leave Your Job
Before considering a switch from one job to another, its crucial to know why you want to make the change. Companies want to know why it is a good idea to invest in you, said Bonnie Ward, career advisor with Southern New Hampshire University , so its just as important for you to know why they should invest in you, too.
Dont just run away from one bad fit to another potential bad fit. You need to know what you are moving to and why, said Ward.
It’s also important to tell your story. For example, one student’s partner “received a promotion that required a move to the opposite coast, and they needed to voluntarily resign from their position and seek new employment in the new area,” Ward said.
Should You Leave a Job if You Are Unhappy?
Maybe youve been unhappy at your job for a long time. Perhaps youve been dreaming of a career in another field for years or, maybe, you are simply ready for a change. Once you know your ‘why,’ its time to decide your ‘when.’
As you consider a change, focus on your goals. Look for solutions to issues now, but also keep a pulse on what the decision could mean for you years down the road, said Lauren Stahl, MBA, career advisor at SNHU.
Before making the leap to something new, consider how you might take steps to alleviate some of the negatives.
Can I Put A Job I Currently Have On My Resume
Many job-seekers struggle when determining which information to include on their resumes. The goal is to create a streamlined, easy-to-read document that’s also thorough enough to persuade a prospective employer of your qualifications.
When it comes to your current job, it’s usually in your best interest to include it. If you have concerns about listing it however, you can find ways to address those concerns while describing your current job in the best light.
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What Should You Avoid When Answering This Interview Question
Its easy to stray into treacherous territory when giving your reason for leaving your job. So, be sure not to do the following when you respond, no matter how well you think the interview is going or how much the hiring manager puts you at ease:
- Complaining Avoid launching into a barrage of complaints about your former workplace or colleagues. Doing so can make you look bitter or negative qualities no employer wants to see in a potential hire. Instead, emphasize the positives, such as the opportunities you enjoyed at your previous job and what you learned from the experience.
- Criticizing a manager Even if unhappiness with your manager was your reason for leaving a job, approach the subject in a tactful, positive way. If your boss tended to micromanage your projects, for example, you can say you always appreciate the interest in your work and the input of a seasoned executive but that you were ready to take on a role that would give you greater responsibility and more autonomy.
Thinking ahead about your reasons for leaving a job and how you can discuss them in a positive, professional manner will help you feel more confident going into the job interview. And, while youre at it, you may want to consider how you might address other commonly asked interview questions, too just in case they come up. These Robert Half blog posts can help:
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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.
The Exception To A Past Tense Resume
An exception to the rule of using present and past tense is when you mix the tenses on your resume. For instance, you can combine past and present tense if youre listing previous jobs youve held and the experience youve gained while holding your current job. You can mix tenses if youve worked on previous projects or achieved noteworthy goals at your current company. For example, in one description, you might discuss how you increased the production of staff members by 30% while working with your current company.
Objective Statement Or Resume Summary
Your objective statement or resume summary is the first instance where you can use the present tense in your resume.
You should place either of these at the top of your resume, just below your header that contains your name and contact details. This section should include a third-person introduction that highlights your current skills and qualifications, as well as the company to whom you are applying to.
Mixing Past And Present
In general, you should avoid mixing past and present tense under a single heading. The one exception is a current position for which you’re listing both responsibilities and accomplishments.
A specific accomplishment, such as “Achieved $12,000 in sales in the first quarter with Client X” should stay in past tense because you completed it. Responsibilities like “Oversees sales associates” would remain in present tense because they’re ongoing.
The most important part of using past or present tense in your resume is maintaining consistency. An employer won’t judge you harshly for sticking to a safe past tense throughout, but it’s sure to cast a poor light on your professionalism if you go back and forth with abandon. Pick a strategy, stick with it, and proofread carefully for an impressive resume.
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Where To Put Your Work History Section On Your Resume
Short answer: If you have any work experience at all, this section is the #1 most important thing on your resume and the first place hiring managers and recruiters look. It should be on the top half of the first page.
Dont put your Skills section before it. No hiring manager or recruiter wants to see a general list of your skills before they see your work experience. You can read more about how to write your resume Skills section and where to list it here.
Dont put your Education section before it, either, unless you are a Doctor or have a Ph.D. and are in a profession where this educational background is a hard requirement to obtaining any job in the field.
For everyone else, which is 95%+ of people, just put your name and contact details centered at the top of your resume, then put a one-paragraph career summary, and then go right into your work experience.
You can label the section whatever you want: Work History, Employment History, or Work Experience, etc.
But the point is your work history should be extremely easy to find, without the hiring manager having to search or scroll down.
Example : Discuss Interests And Personality
Outside the office, you might find me reading a book at my favorite coffee shop or volunteering with the local literacy program. I am also an avid runner, and I am currently training for a half-marathon.
When delivering your response, stay relaxed and conversational while maintaining professionalism. You want to sound natural and confident rather than rehearsed. Remember that the employer has read your resume, so instead of reciting bullet points, share examples of your skills and accomplishments. Try to spend no more 30 seconds addressing each step of your response. Your complete response should take about two minutes. To make sure you feel comfortable responding, practice it repeatedly.
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When To Use Past Tense
You should write in past tense on your resume if you want to showcase previous work experience. Highlighting your previous work experience presents your qualifications for a job youre interested in. Make sure the accomplishments youve earned match the job description. An employer is more likely to call you in for an interview if you have applicable or transferrable work experience.
Decide Whether To Write Your Bio In First Or Third Person
The way you refer to yourself is important in a bio. Your bio should be written in first or third personwhether you refer to yourself as I or by your name . Professional and formal bios are often written in third person, while personal and informal bios are usually written in first person. If youre writing a bio for work, ask your manager or editor which is more appropriate.
Past Awards And Accomplishments
If you opt to include a section on your resume for awards and accomplishments, use the past tense. For each item in your Awards and Accomplishments section, you want to include the following:
- The name of a school you attended, business you worked for or organization of which you were a part
- The city and state where the school, business or organization was located
- The years you attended the school, worked for the business or were a part of the organization
- Bullet points or a summary paragraph detailing what you accomplished at the school, business or organization, with each bullet point or summary starting with an action verb
Why Is Work Experience On Your Resume So Important
Before we jump in to the ins and outs of writing work experience on a resume, here is why it matters. A hiring manager or employer looks at a resume to answer one question:
Does this persons work experience qualify them for this job?
The work experience section of your resume is the foundation that either qualifies you or disqualifies you for an interview or the next step in the hiring process. This resume section uses the last 10 – 15 years of relevant career history to tell a prospective employer whether you have the work experience in your cv that will fit the requirements of the role. The work experience section gives credibility to your application and should compliment every other aspect of your application materials .
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Example #: Breaking Into A New Industry
Meghna has been COO of a small market research company since she earned her MBA several years ago. Shes done just about everything a COO can to grow a company and is now eager to apply that expertise to startups in a different industry wind power or alternative transportation, such as bike sharing. Heres how she made her past accomplishments relevant to other industries.
In her summary section, she highlighted accomplishments that show she can grow startups and alleviate their common pain points:
Chief Operating Officer
Grow fledgling businesses into fully functioning companies that compete successfully against larger, more established players. Expand from U.S. into multiple global markets.
- Accelerate growth with new product/service lines that generate predictable, recurring revenue. Also selectively acquire companies and unify their disparate cultures and systems.
- Establish functions from scratch Finance, Accounting, Marketing, Sales, and HR.
- Present clear pictures of businesses financial health by building models, budgets, and KPIs.
- Create order out of chaos and enable rational decision-making with data-driven reporting and analyses.
- Equally adept at managing people and operations. Treat employees and clients with respect and appreciation of diverse perspectives.
Then she provided an overview of her current role:
Decide Which Type Of Rsum You Want
There are three types of résumés: chronological, functional and combination. You might want to consider more than one format of résumé if you’re applying for multiple jobs.
- Chronological is the most traditional format and lists experiences according to the order in which they took place. These résumés generally appeal to older readers and may be best suited for a conservative field.
- Functional is a type of résumé that lists your experiences according to skill. This is the format to use if you’re changing career direction . Because it displays your skills first, your work experience, or lack thereof, is not the main focus.
- Combination combines the best aspects of the chronological and functional styles. Be careful with length for this format the résumé can quickly get long.
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