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How To List Previous Employment On A Resume

Resume Work Experience Example #:

Resume Builder Step 4: How to Write Your Work Experience

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

How To Determine How Many Jobs To List On A Resume

One of the most impactful elements of your resume is your work history. A memorable and concise overview of your relevant experience will help convince hiring managers of your professional capabilities and potential. To make a good impression on your resume’s readers, you will need to include an effective number of job titles in your work history list. In this article, we will discuss why you should be aware of how many jobs to include, how to determine how many jobs to list and some tips for how to format your work history correctly.

What To Leave Out

In some instances, rather than leaving out roles that arent relevant, you may just want to leave out all the minute details. For example, if there are gaps in your professional experience, you may want to add in a line that explains what you were doing during that period. That being said, there are some things you dont need to include:

  • Contact details of your previous employer or manager
  • A job description instead of your achievements/experience
  • A list of roles from years ago
  • Unnecessary details and jargon that the reader wont understand

Removing these elements not only makes the section shorter, but it gives hiring managers the chance to get only the most relevant information.

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Are You Up To Par

PAR stands for Problem Action Results and is a good starting point for thinking about your accomplishments. What types of challenges did you face? What actions did you take to overcome the problems? What was the result of your efforts, and how did your performance benefit the company? Write down a list of your accomplishments and incorporate the most impressive ones into your resume.

Plan Your Work History Section Layout

Resume Writing: Employment History

Your paid and unpaid employment should go in separate subsections within the work history section – which one goes first depends on which positions are going to be most important to the employer. For example:

  • If you’re a Health Sciences graduate in, say, physiotherapy or dentistry, your unpaid work should come first, because that’s where you’ll list the details of your ‘placements’
  • If you’ve previously had paid positions only in retail or hospitality and now want to work for a charitable organisation assisting children with terminal diseases, your volunteer work for Presbyterian Support and UNICEF should come first
  • If you’re graduating from surveying and want a job at a surveying firm, your summer jobs in the field are going to have a big impact, so whichever section they’re in should come first

You get the idea – don’t worry if you only need one section! Just leave whichever you don’t need out and don’t bother with subsection headings.

^ Top of Page

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Work Experience Example For A Resume

Here is an example of a well-written job experience section for a resume:

Work ExperienceAccounting Assistant

  • Purchase supplies and equipment for 3 departments, accurately recording purchases and reducing reconciliation discrepancies by 35%
  • Process expense reports, properly documenting and allocating expense items
  • Submit travel reimbursement requests and ensure missing receipt affidavits are completed in full


  • Served as primary point-of-contact for vendor inquiries, promptly investigating issues and solving concerns
  • Received, tracked, and accurately processed 50+ vendor invoice payments on weekly basis
  • Reconciled and batched payments on a daily basis

*TRADELOT | Tampa, FL*

Mistake #: Not Putting Facts Numbers And Accomplishments

If your resume employment history is full of phrases like, Responsible for, then youre missing a big opportunity to impress employers.

They want to see specific accomplishments in a past position, like, Led a team of 4 people to reorganize client on-boarding program, resulting in a 23% increase in client retention year-over-year.

Heres how to write great resume bullets like this.

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Work Experience On A Resume

Imagine youre an HR manager for a second, and someone sends in their resume for you to go over.

What section do your eyes jump to first?

If you guessed work experience, then youre right.

And if you spot a few relevant keywords in the past job experience section, then youd continue on their background, contact information, and so on.

When applying for a job, the number one thing most recruiters want to know is if you can really do it right.

And one way to know that for sure is to look at your past work experience.

So, we know two things: most HR managers spend on average 6 seconds to go through a resume. And the work experience is one of the most important sections you can have.

Where does that leave us with?

Basically, if you want to get that call back for the interview, your work experience section really needs to be top-notch.

Now, when it comes to writing a resume – the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Meaning, other sections need to be up to par as well.

But for now, were going to focus on arguably the most important section of any resume – the work experience.


Heres what you need to know:

  • How to Put Work Experience on a Resume
  • How to Stand Out with Your Work Experience Section
  • 5 Real-Life Work Experience Examples
  • How to List Other Resume Sections

But before we dive right in, youll need the right tool to build your resume.

Want to save yourself the headache of trying to craft the perfect resume section-by-section from the ground up?

Create A Special Section

Resume Work Experience: Writing Effective Work Experience on your Resume

Lets face itresumes are designed to be easy to read, which means they can also be somewhat limiting. You can often feel like youre trying to cram a career story that deserves a novel into a one-page, bulleted document.

While many of the traditional rules still apply, dont be afraid to play around with the structure and format to find something that suits your career history best.

In an article about telling a compelling career story, Muse author Erica Foss recommends adding a special qualifications section to the top of your document, which will draw attention to the specific skills that are most relevant to the job you want.

This way, you own your story, and you demonstrate to the hiring manager that youve thought about the way your various experiences align with the position, Foss explains in her article.

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If You’re Serious About Your Job Search Don’t Farm Out

A resume is a compilation of your professional experience, training. Ten words not to put on a resume. Stay informed every day with yahoo finance’s free fully briefed newsletter. A resume is designed to get a hiring manager’s attention so you can land an interview, but sometimes the attention you get isn’t positive. If you have ever created a complex word document, you’ve probably run into those frustrating issues where you just can’t seem to get a bullet point or paragraph of text aligned correctly or some text keeps breaking off onto another page whe.

Reference Sheet Template And Example

You can use our template to make sure you have everything you need for all of your references.

Heres one example of what your reference sheet might look like:

References for Monica Medina

Keeping references off your resume is not only the standard now, its also more thoughtful toward the people youve asked to speak on your behalf. By only submitting their names and contact information when asked directly , youll know when a prospective new employer is actually going to contact themand you can give them a heads up, pass on any important information about the job or company youre applying for, and thank them for their help.

Regina Borsellino is a NYC-based editor at The Muse covering job search and career advice, particularly resume best practices, interviewing, remote work, and personal and professional development. Before joining The Muse, Regina was an editor for InvestorPlace, where she also wrote about topics such as investing and biotech companies. She holds a BA in English language and literature from the University of Maryland and an MFA in creative writing from American University. Find her on and .

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Use Numbers To Highlight Your Accomplishments

Use numbers, percentages or dollars to highlight your accomplishmentsyou can find this information in things like your performance reviews, previous job descriptions, awards and letters of recommendation.

When explaining your accomplishments:

  • Include examples of how you saved money, earned money, or managed money.
  • Include examples of how you saved or managed time.


  • Improved efficiency of document processing by 25% over the previous year.
  • Wrote 25 news releases in a three-week period under daily deadlines.
  • Managed a student organization budget of more than $7,000.
  • Wrote prospect letter that has brought in more than $25,000 in donations to date.

These statements show in concrete terms what you accomplished.

Select Your Resume References

How To List Freelance Work On Resume

When selecting resume references, consider people who can speak to your best qualities, skills and qualifications. If possible, choose people who can discuss talents specific to the job youre applying for.

Generally, the best people to include as references are:

  • Current or former manager or direct supervisor
  • Current or former co-worker
  • Current or former employees/direct reports
  • Academic advisor
  • Professional mentor

When thinking through who to include on your reference list, make sure you are comfortable with these people knowing you are looking for a new job, especially if they are someone you currently work with.

Related: How to Request a Business Reference

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Create A Career Highlights Section

You can also describe your earlier work experience through a career highlights or career notes section. The section will be at the bottom of your current employment history and include short sentences describing your work experience, the company or client you worked for at the beginning of your career.

Think Outside Your Title

Now, its time to take a cold, hard look at your own experience. What positions have you had up to this point, and what duties were associated with those roles?

When doing this, its all too easy to get wrapped up in your title and only the core functions of your position. But, dont limit yourself and narrow your lens to only the major things. Instead of thinking back on what you did day in and day out, switch your focus to identify any projects or taskseven if they seem smallthat are related to the job youre applying for.

Jenny Foss, a long-time recruiter and career coach provides a fitting example. Maybe youre an office manager trying to become a marketing coordinator, she explains, In addition to your administrative responsibilities, you manage your companys Twitter feed and help with trade show coordination. Thats marketing! So, be sure to highlight the marketing stuff youre doingor have done in other roleseven if it was not your primary job function.

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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.

Read more:Listing Professional Experience on Your Resume

Highlight Former Achievements In A New Way

How To Describe Work Experience On A Resume Or Relevant Work Experience In Resume – ANIMATED

Of course, if you’ve got an impressive accomplishment or title sitting outside that two-decade limit, include it.

“If 30 years ago is the role where you discovered a patent still in use today, you ought to mention that,” says Ceniza-Levine.

You have a few different options for how you chose to work that information in. If a title you’ve held or company you’ve worked for is likely to impress a recruiter, consider a section called “earlier work history” or something similar where you can simply list previous jobs, by noting only the title, company and location, says Amanda Augustine, a career coach with TopResume. Or you could try including it in a “career notes” or “career highlights” section at the bottom of your current work experience by writing something like: “additional experience working for ABC company or serving clients like XYZ,” adds Augustine.

If the role you want to include is one where you did discover a patent or win an impressive industry award, you could also draw attention to this by folding such an achievement into the summary statement, which is typically a short paragraph at the top of your resume that acts as an elevator pitch to readers selling your skills and experience. Or you could include it in a section following your work history that lists awards or accomplishments you’ve earned over the course of your career.

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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.

Format The Resume Work Experience Section

Here are three effective ways to structure the job experience section of your resume:

Chronological format

In a chronological resume, you will list your work history with your most recent job at the top. This is the most widely used format because it shows clearly how you progressed through your career. This method works best if you have at least a few years of consistent employment experience.

Functional format

With the functional resume format, youll categorize your achievements and skills according to the requirements of your desired job. Youll only need to mention the names of your previous employers and durations of employment under your work history. Since this format focuses on your achievements and skills instead of the job positions you held, it is a suitable option if you are a recent graduate or have significant gaps in your employment history.

Combination format

The combination format offers more flexibility, allowing you to present your work history in a way that emphasizes your strengths. With this option, you will provide a summary of your professional experience first, followed by a list of your achievements and skills. Consider using the hybrid format if you are applying for a management or executive-level position.

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Example Of Separate Listings For Positions:

COMPANY NAME, City, State | â

Position 1 â

Job Description

COMPANY NAME, City, State | â

Position 2 â

Job Description


In this instance, the company name for both position listings would be the same. Try to limit your usage of the separate listing option to promotions that involved a major change in job duties or focus – or if you were away from the company for a time.

Mistake #: Having Your Employment History Start Below The First Half Of Page 1

Previous Work Experience Examples for a Resume

Youll notice in the work history samples earlier, this section starts early on the resume. Making a hiring manager or recruiter go digging in your resume to find this section is a big mistake.

Put it front and center . You want your recent experience and achievements to be dead-easy to find for any company you send your resume to.

Thats one of the best tips I can share in general: Dont make employers go digging for your recent responsibilities and achievements on your resume. It should jump out of the page at them because it should contain a lot of content compared to other sections, and it should appear high up.

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Previous Work Experience Examples

Now that you know the basics of how to write the work history section of your resume, lets look at some good employment history samples from real resumes.

I invited a couple of experts to share their resume work history examples for this section.

Ill share two resume work experience examples from them, and then Ill include a very simple/plain example that Ive used in the past with a lot of success.

Work Experience Section Example

Automotive Technician, Icahn Automotive, Rotorua, New Zealand

  • Repaired various cars and trucks. Troubleshot and diagnosed vehicles. Repaired or replaced defective parts. Ensured that everything was in compliance with the companys high standards and clients needs.
  • Awarded Employee of the Month for increasing customer satisfaction with provided services from 87% to 95% within one year.

Executives can use more than one page on their resume to present their extensive work experience. But that doesnt mean that you should let your resume become a 700-page long autobiography.

If somethings recent it also means its more relevant. Thats why you should describe more recent jobs in greater detail. Older ones will do with a brief description, allowing you to save some valuable space for more important details to put on your resume.

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Decide On A Resume Length

The length of your resume can determine how far you can go when describing work experience. If you’re an entry- to the mid-level candidate, you can usually fit all of your relevant experience on one page. Candidates with more experience or those applying for government or education roles might need a two-page resume. Keeping yourself to a one-page resume can help you limit how much experience you include.


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