Resumes

How to Describe Your Work Experience Sample

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The work experience section is an important aspect of an effective resume because it showcases your skills in action and highlights your professional accomplishments. This section should be descriptive and compelling as it details your previous experience relative to the specific job you’re applying for. Learn how to describe your work experience with sample entries showcasing all the best features required for an effective work experience section.

What is the work experience section for?

The work experience section is where you list your most relevant previous roles to show employers your employment history and career development. This section gives hiring managers an idea of where you’ve been and how you got to this point in your career. It also enables you to describe how you performed in your previous roles and what skills and experiences set you apart from other candidates.

For each entry in your work experience section, you should include your official job title, your dates of employment, the employer’s location and a list of the key responsibilities and achievements you had. You can use bullet points when listing your responsibilities and achievements to help prospective employers quickly review and understand each entry. Having an easy-to-read and descriptive work experience section can help employers determine your suitability for the role and see what unique qualifications you have to offer.

What accomplishments should be listed?

Determining what accomplishments you should include in your job descriptions can be a challenge, but it’s best to mention accomplishments that are relevant for the job you’re applying for before other accomplishments. There’s a general rule in resume crafting in which you always want to put the most important information first, and anything that specifically and directly details how well you will fit the job you’re applying for is going to be the most important. 

Imagine you’re applying for a job as a project manager and you already have some experience in the position. To show off your accomplishments, you’ll want to begin with the biggest project you’ve successfully managed along with its results. Generally speaking, your most important accomplishment in any position should take priority within the job description.

What skills should be listed?

In the most popular and useful resume formats, skills are listed in a separate section. Typically, the skills section includes a comprehensive list of all the skills you have that would be relevant to the job. Often, these skills are described using single words or phrases such as ‘leadership’ or ‘critical thinking.’ Be sure to consider all of the relevant hard and soft skills.

Since skills can be listed in their own separate section, it takes a bit of finesse to include them in your work experience section. Just remember that finesse doesn’t mean you have to be overly clever. You can mention skills directly, but you just have to tie them to a relevant accomplishment. 

What other details should be included?

To get the most out of your work experience section and make your resume stand out from other applicants, there are several factors you’ll want to include in addition to accomplishments and the application of skills. 

Here are some details you’ll want to include in your resume when possible:

  • Any awards or special recognition you received as a direct result of your accomplishments or performance in a particular job
  • Actual data represented by numbers and figures as demonstrated in the above samples to quantify your accomplishments
  • Begin descriptions with strong and varied verbs to make each bullet point in your job experience description unique and powerful
  • Use the present tense when describing ongoing responsibilities in your current job and the past tense for everything else

Be sure to include details from the most relevant professional roles you’ve had to show a hiring manager how your experience makes you uniquely suitable for the role. 

Examples of work experience

To get a better understanding of how to describe work experience, it’s helpful to have effective samples to reference. 

Here are some well-crafted examples of work experience that feature all the necessary accomplishments and skills included:

Project Manager example

Czerka Hospital, May 2014 – March 2019

  • Facilitated the implementation of the Quality Training Project for all employees which cut training costs by 28% after six months
  • Oversaw Supply Reorganization Project which reduced breakage costs of stockroom supplies by 71%
  • Led team of 15+ people in Front End Revamp Project to design and implement a new system that decreased the frequency of reception errors by 48%
  • Partnered with local area hospitals to gather data on wait times and patient satisfaction to determine areas for improvement in the Quick and Quality project and improved satisfaction by 41%

Senior Programmer example

Computech, June 2017- October 2019

  • Created a tool for test automation that reduced program testing time by 48% increasing productivity across the department
  • Interviewed, hired and trained over 12 junior programmers with virtually no turnover as the company increased the size of the department throughout 2018
  • Collaborated with data analysis department team members to design project requirements in accordance with company goals and allotted budget
  • Met with technical staff, analysts, senior executives and stakeholders in meetings to discuss the state of the company with meticulously crafted presentations featuring relevant quantitative data

Customer Service Representative example

DB Industries, January 2016 – October 2018

  • Received and answered 100+ calls daily and helped customers with signing up for services and products, data retrieval, answering questions about products and canceling services
  • Earned a favorable customer satisfaction rating from 93% of customers surveyed, which is 11% higher than the overall company average
  • Used advanced sales tactics to persuade customers seeking to cancel their services to reconsider, which reduced the overall number of cancellations by 8% over 6 months
  • Trained new employees on how to navigate the database to efficiently retrieve relevant customer information and input new data accurately and consistently