How to list work experience on a resume right way

If we ask a recruiter which section does your eyes keep more focus on a resume, the answer will definitely be the Work Experience Section. A well-written work experience section will get you jobs and interviews inevitably.

Do you have a resume? If so, do you get calls for interviews? If the answer is a big NO, the problem might be with your resume work experience section.

So this guide is especially for you. At the end of this article, you will be able to create a killer employment history section.

So, let’s jump in.

What is a resume work experience section?

If you want to learn how to write a resume from zero, we recommend that you read our complete resume writing guide first.

Since the content is specialized for resume work experience, we will first discuss what this work experience section is.

This is actually one of the few mandatory sections of a resume. It is also often referred to as work history, employment history, or experience.

This can include details about your career experience, jobs and companies you have worked for, full time jobs, part time jobs, projects you have participated in, etc.

Why is work experience on a resume important?

We can identify the work history section as a core section of a resume. Even recruiters spend most of their time reading your resume to check your work experience. So it is very important to know how to write this section well in order to move forward in the job competition.

Through this section a recruiter can understand whether you are a potential candidate for the relevant position. As you can list your achievements here, you have the chance to distinguish yourself from other candidates to get an invitation for an interview.

What to include in a resume work experience section?

  • Companies you worked for
  • Location of the companies
  • Employment dates
  • Job titles
  • Responsibilities and impact
  • Achievements
  • Promotions
  • Awards and recognitions

Work experience resume template

[Job Title]
[Company Name and the Location]
[Employment Dates]

  • [Accomplishment or responsibility listed here with the impact you made]
  • [Accomplishment or responsibility listed here with the impact you made]
  • [Accomplishment or responsibility listed here with the impact you made]
  • [Accomplishment or responsibility listed here with the impact you made]

How to write work experience on a resume

resume work experience tips

Follow the steps below to make the work experience section of your resume stand out.

  1. Write the job title

    You must insert here what position you represented in the organization you worked for. What is more important here is to be specific about your job title. For example, your position in the company you worked for may have been referred to as an SEO Guru. But that name could be a somewhat unfamiliar job title for your prospective company. Instead, you can use the name SEO Specialist, which is commonly used in the industry for that position. But it is even better if you could avoid using acronyms for the job title. So the best way to write your job title according to the above scenario is Search Engine Optimization Specialist.

  2. Mention the company name, description, and the location

    Here it is important to use the full name of the company you worked for. If you think that company is a lesser known company you’re free to describe the company in 1-2 sentences. Don’t forget to mention the location of the institution. It is not necessary to write the full physical address while it’s more than enough to mention only the city and state.

  3. Insert employment dates

    The standard date format for dates employed is mm/yyyy. In addition, if the date format used is different depending on your country, you are free to use the corresponding date format. But remember to maintain consistency when using dates. If you have a lot of work gaps in your career, you can remove the months when entering dates and mention only the year. It allows you to hide work gaps in your resume.

  4. List your key achievements relevant to the job

    Many people are used to listing their responsibilities and duties here, but we recommend that you always list your achievements rather than duties and responsibilities. HR managers usually check hundreds of similar job applications like yours. So they have a better understanding of the duties and job responsibilities assigned to you. So if you can highlight something impressive about yourself through bullet points rather than showing the duties and responsibilities, again and again, you will inevitably find a place in the shortlist.

    For example you can write “developed an SEO strategy to gain the 1st page ranking for 10+ highly competitive keywords” instead of writing just “increased search engine rankings.”

Resume work experience writing tips

Now you know how to write a resume work experience section correctly. But if you want your employment history section to stand out from other resumes, follow these tips.

Tip 01 – Choose a well organized template

If you are using a resume template, make sure it is a well-organized one. This is because the information listed in some templates is very difficult to read. As soon as a recruiter looks at your resume, he should be able to find the work experience section so that he can easily scan the information in it. If not he will throw away your resume into the trash bin and go for the next resume on the big pile.

Tip 02 – Make the section heading stand out

Make the section title a bit larger than the rest of the job descriptions. To make it stand out, use bold or ALL CAPS text. And when naming the section title, use a standard title like below.

  • WORK EXPERIENCE
  • EXPERIENCE
  • WORK HISTORY
  • EMPLOYMENT HISTORY
resume experience heading names

Tip 03 – Make sure the work experience section is in the right position

As a best practice, the work experience section is usually placed soon after the resume summary and just above the education section. Most recruiters are accustomed to that resume order so you should also not change your resume section order. Otherwise, if you are a fresher it is better to place that after the education section.

Tip 04 – Use reverse-chronological format

Recruiters don’t want to see either your complete work history or oldest work experiences. What they are expecting is what you have been doing in the recent past or current. So list your experiences chronologically. That means when you list your work experiences, be sure to start with your current or the most recent job experience and follow it with the previous ones. This will also allow the hiring manager to see your career progression.

Tip 05 – Use bullet points for job descriptions

Some applicants try to write their job accomplishments as a paragraph. But it’s something you shouldn’t do as a job seeker. It can be badly impacted for the readability of your resume. Therefore, whenever you want to display your accomplishments, it’s better to list them in a bulleted list. Use up to 4-5 job description bullet points under each job title. It will also help you save the space of your resume and increase the clarity of your resume.

Tip 06 – Keep it brief

List achievement bullet points as one sentence and one line per bullet point. Simply make them concise and easy to skim read.

Tip 07 – Quantify your achievements

Numbers are impressive!

So whenever possible try to quantify your job achievements. Numbers help to highlight the impact of your work. There are many quantifiable metrics that can be used in your resume work experience section such as:

  • Scale
  • Range
  • Frequency
  • Percentage
  • Amounts (dollar values)

Sample Resume Bullet Points – Job Description

  • Collaborated with the marketing team to create 5+ blog posts monthly.
  • Increased the daily organic web traffic by 15% within 03 months using a few SEO strategies.
  • Trained and mentored 10+ digital marketing interns to reach permanent junior SEO executives.

Tip 08 – Start with a strong action verb

Start each bullet point with an active voice verb instead of starting with a buzzword. If you need to describe an achievement in a current position, use present tense and if you are describing an achievement in a previous position, use a past tense action verb. Below are some examples for action verbs that you can use in your work experience section.

  • Adapted
  • Awarded
  • Built
  • Collaborated
  • Cooperated
  • Developed
  • Exchanged
  • Fostered
  • Implemented
  • Immersed
  • Improved
  • Managed
  • Organized
  • Overcame
  • Represented
  • Recognized
  • Shared
  • Translated
  • Visited

To see more resume action verbs see this list: 200+ resume action verbs for different jobs

Tip 09 – Tailor your resume for the specific job with keywords

If your resume is filled with enough keywords from the job posting, it will be a strong reason for you to pass the ATS scan. Not only that, even the hiring manager will distinguish you as a potential candidate for the job, so analyze the job description to identify as many keywords as possible and carefully paste them into your resume work experience section. These are the skills that hiring managers are looking for on resumes. And also the search terms that an ATS is checking for on resumes.

Tip 10 – List only relevant work experience

If you are seeking a position in the IT field, you should not include your experience from a previous accounting career. So only include work experience that is relevant to the position you are looking for. This will keep your resume from being unnecessarily long and will boost its relevance to the job.

Tip 11 – Show your promotions

If you’ve been promoted in the company and you held different positions for many years, you can show that in your resume work experience in an impressive way. This really shows the growth you have achieved in your career. However, you don’t need to enter separate entries to show that you hold multiple positions in one organization. Take a look at the example below and get some inspiration.

Priwoo Labs
January 2018 – Present

SEO Manager
May 2021 – Present

  • [Accomplishment and/or responsibility listed here with the impact you made]
  • [Accomplishment and/or responsibility listed here with the impact you made]

SEO Specialist
January 2018 – May 2021

  • [Accomplishment and/or responsibility listed here with the impact you made]
  • [Accomplishment and/or responsibility listed here with the impact you made]

Tip 12 – Check for grammatical and typo errors

Having any grammatical or spelling errors on your resume work experience section can cause a huge damage for your job competition. So if you can list your work experience without any errors, hiring managers will think that you are a very responsible professional. So always remember to proofread your resume.

Frequently asked questions about resume work experience

How far back should my resume work experience go?

Just assume that you are having experience of 20+ years and at the same time every experience is relevant to the job you are applying for. Though it is, you don’t need to go beyond 15 years of experience. Only the relevant and most recent experiences matter to the recruiter about you. Without the relevant experience, a great resume is just a dream.

Do they matter if my resume work experience section has gaps and flaws?

Having an employment gap in your resume is not a good thing at all. But if you have, there are many ways to hide those work gaps eloquently. For example, when you write employment dates, include only the year and not the month. Then the hiring manager will not realize that there is a work gap in your resume.

Can I put volunteer work experience on my work experience section?

If you have years of experience holding positions in several jobs, it is not necessary to include the volunteer experience. Mention your experience in the industry and you will gain more. But imagine that you are an entry level candidate or a recent college graduate. In such cases you can add your volunteer experience to ensure you are a competitive applicant.

Do you list internships on resume work experience?

If you are a recent college graduate, it may be a good idea to include an internship experience in your entry level resume. But if you are applying for a mid-professional or senior job role, do not include the internship experience you had a few years ago.

Should I include freelance experience and temporary gigs

If you work in freelance projects and you have other freelance experience, be sure to include them if they are relevant to your prospective job. They will definitely give you value. But if you are an experienced professional, do not extend your resume to two pages by including freelancing experience, which can be limited to a single page.