Work Experience on a Resume: What to include and How (2023)

Table of contents

  • How to show your professional experience on your resume
  • How to write the work experience section on your resume
  • What to include in a resume experience section
  • Tips for writing your previous work experience
  • How to format the experience section on a resume

The experience section is the core of any resume and the most important metric for explaining your career path to employers. Every job seeker will have different work experience (some more vast than others), but there are many ways to demonstrate proficiency, no matter your experience level.

So, which parts of your professional experience should you include? Which parts should you exclude? This guide offers tips on how to write a work experience section for your resume that will wow readers and prove your expertise.

This guide offers tips on how to write a work experience section for a resume that will attract a potential employer’s attention.

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Project Manager’s Job Section Example

Work Experience on a Resume: What to include and How (1)

Bartender’s Job Section Example

Work Experience on a Resume: What to include and How (2)

How to show your professional experience on your resume

This core part of your resume can be titled in a variety of ways. A few common examples are:

Most employers deem the work experience section the most vital part of your resume, as your career path is often the clearest, efficient way to explain your skills. It lists companies you’ve worked for, industries you are familiar with, skills you have acquired, and the contributions you’ve delivered along the way.

  • Work Experience
  • Professional Experience
  • Relevant Experience
  • Work History

Choose a title that is most appropriate for your experience when learning how to write the experience section on a resume. For example, students may include internships or part-time positions, which qualify as “work” experience but are not related to their target roles. A title such as “Work Experience” or “work History” would suffice in this case, to show that you have experience working a job consistently.

If you are still a little lost, try using a resume template or an online resume builder which includes helpful examples and practical tips for completing the work experience section on your resume.

How to write the work experience section on your resume

One of the easiest ways to capture the attention of a hiring manager is to list your professional experience in a clear, concise, and visually interesting manner.

Top tip: your work experience section should always follow a reverse chronological frame, regardless of the resume format you choose (chronological, combined, or functional).

To start, begin with the most recent position held and work backward in time. Many job coaches and recruiters suggest that you only detail positions held within the last 10 to 15 years, as anything prior to those dates will be irrelevant and excessive in detail.

How you display this information is crucial. An inconsistent, out-of-order format will only confuse the reader and earn your resume a trip to the trash bin.

As with every section on your resume, make sure to highlight information that explains your past accomplishments, successes, contributions, and learnings. The more they relate to the position at hand, the better.

What to include in a resume experience section

It’s best to collect all of your work histories first before starting to write your experience section. Gather all experiences you’ve gained in the last 10 to 15 years.

For most job seekers, their work experience will be true professional jobs/positions. But for students or recent graduates, relevant work “experience” can also include:

  • Internships
  • Volunteer work
  • Study abroad programs
  • Leaderships in clubs or community teams

Next, it is time to detail your experience. Start with your most recent position and work backward.

Each job post should include the following elements:

  • Job title
  • Employer/company name
  • Location (City, State or “remote”)
  • Dates of employment
  • Details of your accomplishments and contributions

Some of these details are unnecessary in functional resume layouts. For example, in cases where you may have large gaps in your job history, a functional resume layout can help downplay the scattered timeline of your employment and highlight the skills you’ve learned and will bring to the next position.

Most importantly, each job post should include a brief paragraph, or more commonly, a bullet-point list of your responsibilities. Each position listed should prioritize your achievements and contributions to the role. Do not simply list the “responsibilities” or “daily tasks” of the job.

Include quantifiable examples of your success, as 34% of recruiters won’t consider applications that are not specific to the role, according to CareerBuilder.

Keep your work experience section as focused as possible and only list those statements which are relevant to your target jobs. Forbes Magazine suggests limiting yourself to five bullet points per position.

Action verbs can significantly increase the impact your resume content has on the reader, enticing them enough to reach out for an interview. Include a variety of action verbs in each of your bullet points.

  • Examples of effective action verbs to use on your resume: launched; implemented; spearheaded; coordinated; directed; increased; restructured; acquired; grew; saved; cut; identified, etc.

Tips for writing your previous work experience

We’ve amassed a list of easy-action tips for writing the work experience section on a resume to help you get started. But check out an online resume builder if you need more guidance through the process.

  • Write in the present tense for your current work positions only and past tense for all prior experiences.
  • Tailor your work entries for each job, mentioning the most relevant and appropriate experience. This may include creating one or more versions of your resume if you are targeting different career sectors.
  • Explain gaps in your work history briefly. Most reviewers appreciate additional context explaining your gap in professional work. A quick sentence is all that is needed to detail full-time parenting, study leave, traveling, family complications, relocations, etc.
  • Include internships and education/professional development courses in your resume, either in your work history or education section.
  • Include voluntary or part-time work where appropriate, especially when you have little on the job experience or are changing careers.

These tips on how to complete a work experience section on a resume should help you get started but if you need further advice there are many online resume makers which can help guide you through the process.

How to format the experience section on a resume

You may do everything in your power to write a work experience section that wows, but if it is not formatted correctly, your resume could end up in the “no” pile. Consistency throughout your resume is key for allowing readers to digest your information quickly.

Here are a few tips to ensure the work experience section in your resume is formatted properly.

  • Format each work entry the same. List the details: job title, company name, location, dates of employment, and list of responsibilities.
  • Use the same font throughout the resume and no more than two styles (i.e. one font for job titles and another font for the contextual information.
  • Align each section equally in a consistent manner (i.e. job titles and company name left-aligned and employment date ranges right-aligned)
  • Align each section header the same using one font and a consistent method for implementing bold, italics, and underline effects. This will ensure the highest level of readability.

Using an online resume creator or downloading a resume example could save you lots of formatting time, as these resources usually have a preset document structure already in place.

ResumeCoach offers a range of resume samples and an online resume maker filled with guides, advice, and extra resume help when you need it most.

Last modified on April 21st, 2022

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