By Poyen Ramos on December 12, 2015
You've probably guessed it after not getting called back from that nth company you submitted your resume to—something's wrong. Perhaps looking over your CV again might give you a spark of light in finding out what the problem is.
Here's a hint: It's the where you place your jobs. That's right. Work experience, work history, employment history, or whatever you call it is the most important part of a resume because it can make or break your chances of getting called for an interview. It's not just merely placing every job you've done in the last 3 years, you also have to think about the relevance of the job, and give important points to prove that you're the person hiring managers should consider.
Not sure how to make that work? Here are just a few points we think you need to consider when writing your "Work Experience," and hopefully get great feedback the next time you submit your resume.
Paid jobs only, please
In this section, only include the jobs that are relevant and those that you were paid to do. In this case, include full-time jobs, part-time jobs, project based jobs, or paid internships. Do not place your volunteer experiences here, instead make another section like "Other Experience."
What should be included
Write your work experience in chronological order from the most recent and the most relevant first. However, don't make your list too long. Be selective. Everything should fit in one page—this makes it easier for hiring managers to scan everything about you. Don't try to insist in compounding information. Remember, you can always expound your work details once you're sitting across them.
Here are the things you MUST include though:
- The name of the organization where you were employed.
- City where the organization is located.
- Position or title you held.
- Start and end date of employment (Month/Date).
- Brief description or bullet list of your responsibilities.
The details are your selling points
Once you've listed down your work experiences accurately, the gritty part now is writing your duties/responsibilities. Highlight the relevant ones that relate to the position you're applying for, and work your way down. Use about 5-10 bullets, or a paragraph of 2-3 sentences. Avoid being too wordy in your descriptions, hiring managers don't really like that, instead, use a proactive voice, be concise and straight to the point.
Managed a team of web designers to achieve client expectations.
I worked on a daily basis with a team of web designers in an ad agency, and helped deliver project to clients on time.
Here's a good sample of a refined piece:
You may want to edit your work history so that it is relevant only to the company and position you're applying for. This means you have to constantly add and remove a few details, or rearrange some information. This way, you're letting them focus on relevant knowledge and skills and see that you may be a perfect candidate that job.
One thing you should note though is to avoid gaps in your work history for this is a major red flag for hiring managers. Instead, write what you were doing during those lay periods. Did you go to school? Place it under the "Educational Background" section. Did you go abroad to volunteer for 3 months? Write it under "Other Experience."
The work experience section of your resume should be written really well because it's the first thing hiring managers look at (Surprise! It's not your name or your photo), so make sure it looks impressive enough for them to call you for an interview.