How to Write Job Descriptions for Your Resume (With Examples)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated October 16, 2022 | Published August 17, 2021
Updated October 16, 2022
Published August 17, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
The job descriptions on your resume, also called the employment history section, can offer hiring managers important information about your knowledge, skills, and potential value as an employee. Showing people some examples of your experience and accomplishments can increase your chances of being considered for a position. Appealing job descriptions can also help you get a raise or a promotion. In this article, we discuss how to write job descriptions for resumes and share some examples of good job descriptions.
What is a job description on a resume?
The job description section of your resume is where you list your previous positions, projects, awards, volunteer work, and other relevant experiences and accomplishments. You can use it to show hiring managers that you have the skills needed to succeed in the role.
For example, a computer programmer can list the programming languages they know in the skills section, but the details of their work history lets employers know about the software they have already helped create. That way, hiring managers helping develop similar programs can be more confident about your capabilities and your future performance. Job descriptions on your resume can also tell readers how long you usually stay in one job, how many promotions you've received, and how your work benefited previous employers.
How to write job descriptions in a resume
When you add descriptions of your previous jobs to your resume, consider these steps:
1. 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.
2. Include the right amount of relevant experiences
The number of previous work experiences that you place on your resume often depends on where you are in your career, and most people add four or five job descriptions. Here are some guidelines based on your history to help you determine how much work experience to add to your resume:
Candidates without work experience: even if you're applying for your first job, you can use the job description section to talk about relevant experiences. For example, you could discuss your previous volunteer work, your extracurricular activities in school, and any internships you participated in.
Entry-level candidates: if you have one to five years of experience, you can list all of your previous paid work plus any relevant volunteer or other experience. Most resumes are around two pages, and you can omit shorter or more minor roles if you need to make your resume more concise.
Junior or mid-level candidates: these professionals typically have five to 10 years of relevant experience that focus on their most relevant experiences.
Senior candidates: if you have more than 10 years of work experience in an industry, focus on the most recent decade. Don't mention other roles, unless you're showcasing major accomplishments, and omit all short-term jobs or those in another industry.
Read More: Understanding Entry-Level Jobs
3. Start each job description with essential information about your work responsibilities and the company
List your job title, the name and address of the company, and how long you worked there. Place your experiences in reverse chronological order, with your most recent job first. That way, readers can see your current skill level and position first. Also, list the city and the province or territory for each job description. If it was an international position, mention the country as well.
Describe the company, your role, your duties and responsibilities, and your achievements and accomplishments. To emphasize your accomplishments and showcase your role and your value to the team, discuss your achievements while listing your duties.
Read More: How to Write Work Experience in Your Resume
4. Use action-benefit statements
An action-benefit statement is an effective way to describe your previous achievements. It involves describing a challenge, the actions you took to overcome it, and the positive results of your actions. To highlight your achievements further, mention the results of your actions first and start your sentences with action verbs.
5. Quantify your achievements
Include as many measurable results in your job descriptions as possible. Numbers and statistics can demonstrate objective ways that you benefited past employers, and they can make your resume much more appealing than more subjective statements. For example, saying that you increased your department's quarterly sales figures by 30% is more likely to get a hiring manager's attention than just mentioning that you improved sales.
6. Tailor your job descriptions to the position
When you describe your previous work experiences, select the most relevant roles and tailor the descriptions to the role. Many companies use software to search resumes for relevant keywords, and hiring managers only view the best ones. Read the organization's job description for the role you want carefully, and use the same words and phrases in your resume. This makes hiring managers more likely to look closely at your resume and choose you for an interview.
If you're applying regularly to two or more different types of positions, creating multiple versions of your resume could be helpful. You can then customize the version that works best for each job, saving some time you would otherwise need to spend on more extensive adjustments to a more general resume.
7. Make it readable
To make your job descriptions easily readable, describe your duties and responsibilities with a brief paragraph for each job. Then, use another paragraph or a bulleted list to outline your achievements. Keep each description concise, and only mention duties and accomplishments that are directly related to the job you want.
Many hiring managers only have a few minutes to look at each resume, so they may not consider submissions that are too long. Before you submit your resume, check carefully for grammatical and spelling errors. You can also ask a friend to read it and let you know what they think.
Job description examples
This example of a work history is for a senior salesperson, and you can use it as a guide when applying the steps above to create an effective job description section for your resume:
Sales Manager, Green First Apartment Complex, Vancouver, British Columbia
My role involves coordinating the actions of sales representatives, developing successful sales strategies, and making sure that the organization meets or exceeds its sales goals. I also interact with current and potential residents often.
Improved average quarterly sales figures by 12% by developing new ways to reach potential customers, such as rewarding current customers for referrals
Reduced employee turnover by 22% by using new training techniques and creating a bonus structure to increase motivation
Increased efficiency by upgrading the website to allow online rent payments and applications for lease renewals
Sales Representative, Green First Apartment Complex, Vancouver, British Columbia
June 2009—September 2016
I conducted the sales process according to the company's procedures and policies, advertising properties for sale, presenting them to potential customers, and helping people lease or buy units.
Reached 96% of quarterly sales targets by using constant promotion and professional property presentations
Trained a total of 33 junior sales representatives, and 20 of them are still employed by the organization
Reduced overtime expenses by 10% by updating software to help people finish their work faster
Junior Sales Representative, Rose Residential Project, Vancouver, British Columbia
October 2005—June 2009
I promoted this new residential project through all available channels, including calling potential customers, advertising online and through social media, and hosting special events.
Increased the number of prospects by an average of 25% each year with a sophisticated marketing strategy
Improved my conversion rate from 2.5% to 4.5% during my four years at this position by having relevant information ready for customers before and during viewings
Examples of accomplishments for different careers
Here are some additional examples of accomplishments for other careers:
Business analyst: reduced refund requests by 32% and personnel expenditures by $3 million by improving the customer support system
Banker: generated more than $1 million in income by identifying and reaching out to clients with high net worth's
Graphic designer: created over 200 graphic design pieces, including logos, flyers, murals, billboards, and animations
Civil engineer: managed a regional playground project valued at $500,000
Accountant: reduced clients' bad debt by 15% by helping them negotiate settlements and payment plans with lower interest rates
Now that we've discussed how to write job descriptions for resumes and shared some examples of good job descriptions, you'll be in a better position to write job descriptions that can also help you get a raise or a promotion.
The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.
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