How to Describe Your Work Experience on a Resume (With Example)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 15, 2022

Published June 21, 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.

A well-written work experience section is a crucial element on your resume because it shows that you have the necessary qualifications to be an asset to your potential employer. It also provides substantial information in a limited space. In this article, we’ll show you how to list work experience on a resume to make a strong impression on your prospective employer.

What is a resume work experience section?

Many employers consider your work experience the most important part of your resume. Often, employers will read the work experience section first to get a quick idea of your employment history and to determine if you have the necessary experience and skills to succeed in the role you are applying for.

The work experience section of your resume can include full-time and part-time positions, internships, temporary roles and applicable volunteer work and provide key details about your professional history such as:

Previous job titles
Employers
Dates of tenure
Key responsibilities
Skills learned
Accomplishments

Related: Writing a Resume With No Experience

Resume Format
Image description

Resume Format

  1. Name and contact information

  2. Summary or objective

  3. Professional history
    a. Company name
    b. Dates of tenure
    c. Description of role and achievement

  4. Education

  5. Skills

  6. Optional (Awards & Achievements, Hobbies & Interests)

How to include your work experience in a resume

Here’s how to include work experience on your resume:

1. Include detailed and relevant information

The work experience section of your resume should contain specific information about your employment history, including:

Companies you worked for

Provide the full, official names of the companies for which you’ve worked—and their city, province/territory/region—starting with your most recent followed by the next most recent, and so on. To keep the section relevant, exclude employment experiences older than 10 years. In general, you should at least include your last three employers. Do include the amount of work experience required in the job posting, if applicable.

Employment dates

Use the standard month-year format (ex. Jan. 2014–Nov. 2019) to list when you started and stopped working for each company. If you have short gaps in your work history, you may want to list only the years of employment, or if you have long gaps, you may decide to provide a brief explanation as to why.

Job titles

You should be specific about your job titles in the companies you worked for. For example, stating that you were a social media marketing manager is preferable to just writing “Marketing Manager.” Also, avoid using acronyms to refer to your positions.

Responsibilities and impact

Concisely describe your main responsibilities and the skills you demonstrated in your previous jobs, such as project management, strategic planning, or team-building. Pair your responsibility with a key impact, using numbers to measure your success. For example, instead of writing, “Responsible for taking inventory and ordering office supplies,” an office administrator should write, “Developed new inventory process, reducing quarterly supply costs by 15%.”

Related:

  • What Is Relevant Experience? Definition and Examples

  • How To Write a Keyholder Resume (Example and Template Included)

Promotions

Listing any promotions you may have earned in previous positions will show your potential employer that you performed well in your past jobs, which could make you a more appealing candidate.

Awards and recognitions

You can include your awards and recognitions in the job experience section, or have a separate section for them. These accomplishments show that you can excel in your field of work.

Other experience

If you do not have extensive professional experience, you can include other experience that shows your skills and commitment to completing tasks professionally. This can include paid jobs that might not seem directly relevant, such as retail or food industry jobs you held in high school or college, internships, or even volunteer work. Prioritize experiences that are relevant to the job for which you’re applying.

Related:

  • How to Use a Chronological Order Résumé (With Tips)

  • Tips for Listing Volunteer Work on Resume (With Examples)

  • How to Write an Executive Summary on Your Resume (With Tips)

2. 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.

Read more: Using a Chronological Order Example Resume (With Tips)

Functional format

With the functional resume format, you’ll categorize your achievements and skills according to the requirements of your desired job. You’ll 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.

Related:

  • The Ultimate Guide To Functional Resumes

  • How to Write a One-Page Resume (With Tips and an Example)

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.

Read more: Chronological Resume vs. Functional Resume (With Tips)

Work experience example for a resume

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

Work Experience
CLOUD CLEARWATER | Tampa, FL
Accounting Assistant
February 2016–January 2019

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

CRANE & JENKINS | Tampa, FL
Accounting Clerk
July 2014–February 2016

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
Audit Intern
May 2010–June 2014

Processed cash, cheque, and credit transactions, maintaining 98% accuracy to minimize end-of-day balancing errors
Balanced cheque payments, identifying and resolving discrepancies immediately
Accurately prepared and sent bank deposits (~100K each) semiweekly

Resume work experience writing tips

Resumes typically conform to a standard structure and format. However, you can make your work experience section stand out with these tips:

Choose an organized template

Good organization makes your resume easier to read. Choose a format for listing your previous employers, job positions, and employment dates and maintain it throughout the document. Make the information stand out with bolding, tabbing, horizontal lines, and tables.

Related: Resume Template FAQs and Their Answers (With 6 Tips)

Address your prospective employer’s needs

Many job candidates only list their responsibilities and skills. Make yourself stand out by mentioning the benefits that your previous tasks provide to your future employer. Incorporate keywords from the job description that align with your experience.

Related: What Are Resume Keywords and Why Are They Important?

Distinguish yourself from other applicants

In addition to your responsibilities in previous jobs, you should provide information that sets you apart from other candidates. This may include your unique abilities or traits, awards and honours you received, or leadership positions you held.

Keep it brief

Make your bullet points concise and easy to read. Only include information that is relevant to the employer.

Open or close with your most compelling points

This is especially important if your resume is more than one page long. Strong introductions and conclusions with power words can increase the chances of the hiring manager reading the work experience section from start to finish.

Related: 8 Personal Attributes to Include on Your Resume (With Tips)

Check for grammatical and spelling errors

Carefully proofread your resume to show the hiring manager that you are professional and attentive to details.

Read more: What Is the Standard Canadian Resume Format? (With 7 Tips)

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