Career Resource Center

Resume Writing: How to Write About Your Experience

Writing about your experience can be difficult, that’s why there our professional resume writing services available for those who would rather let a professional do the writing.  It’s important to write effectively about your own experience so that you can demonstrate your value to potential employers.

If you’re not clearly, succinctly, and accurately writing about your career, employers won’t be able to understand why you’re a great fit for their position.  Remember, employers only hire people who they are confident will be valuable to their company.  So, you want to give them that confidence by showing how your past experience demonstrates the skills and accomplishments you’ll bring to the new role you’re applying for.

How much experience should I include?

One of the most common questions we get at Resume Writing Group, is how much experience should be included on a resume?  The answer is that the amount of experience you should include depends on a lot of important factors.  We’ll discuss those factors because thinking about them in greater detail will also help you write about your experience.

How relevant is the experience?

Although common guidance says you should only include ten years of experience in your resume, it may be worth including more in some instances.  If all of your experience is strictly relevant to the position you’re applying for, it may be worth going as far back as 25 years.  Resume writing is a balancing act between including too much and including too little.  If something is particularly relevant, you shouldn’t exclude it simply because the position was more than ten years ago.

For example, if you’re applying for a position in construction management, and the only experience you’ve had in construction management is from over ten years ago, you’ll want to consider including the older experience on your resume.

Is the experience adding anything new?

One of the worst mistakes you can make on your resume is to be redundant.  Including the same experience and responsibilities over and over again can make an employer’s eyes glaze over.  Just imagine if you had read 200 resume applications already for the Staff Accountant position at your company, and then some joker decides to submit a resume that says “responsible for…” five times in the same job description.  You would want to throw that resume right in the garbage for wasting your time.

To fix this, make sure you’re asking whether each position you’re including in your work history adds important information.  If not, then you should probably cut your work experience off there.

How much can you fit on two pages?

Your resume should never be longer than two pages.  Eliminate any older experience that is increasing the length of your resume beyond two pages – OR – figure out how to condense the formatting so that it does fit on two pages.  However, you should always ask yourself – is the resume still easy to read?  You shouldn’t use font so small that people need a magnifying glass to read it; or spacing so tight that each description blends together.  Reducing the readability of your resume will inevitably decrease your chances of getting hired.

How can I write clearly about my experience?

It’s very important to write about your experience in a way that’s easy for anyone to understand.  This means using formatting that conveys four important pieces of information:

  • Who you worked for
  • What your title was
  • When you worked there
  • What you did in that position

Every employer expects to see resumes that explain these four key points in a format they can quickly review.  Here is an example layout you can use to clearly explain these four areas:

Company Name | Position Title (2007 – 2015)

  • Your job responsibilities here
  • Your job responsibilities here
  • Your job responsibilities here

This format makes it very easy for an employer to understand all the critical information they’re most interested in.  Once you’ve got a basic outline drafted in this format, you can begin filling in the bullet points with descriptions of your accomplishments and responsibilities.

There are some great strategies you can use when writing your responsibilities.  Remember, you’re going to be more likely to get hired if your resume is easy to read.  Here are the do’s and don’ts of resume writing that will make your responsibilities easier to read:

Don’t turn your bullet points into paragraphs.  Bullet points should never be longer than three lines and should really only be one or two.

Do make sure to put your most important responsibilities at the top of your job description.  Remember, employers have limited time, so you want to give them a reason to read your job descriptions by including the most interesting content at the top.

Don’t use lengthy acronyms or complex terminology unless you’re 100% positive that the person reviewing your resume will know what those acronyms and terms mean.

Do write about your responsibilities in strong, active language.  It’s important not to use passive sentence structure in your job descriptions – otherwise, your resume can become dry.

Here is an example of an effective job description:

  • Doubled new sales growth within a three-year period by strategically expanding into a new market segment
  • Built a well-qualified workforce comprised of motivated professionals through hands-on recruiting and hiring practices
  • Ensured that long-term company objectives were being met by establishing clear benchmarks and milestones for short-term goals
  • Balanced all daily responsibilities while simultaneously seeking to improve by taking on internal continuous learning coursework

Each responsibility is written concisely on one line and in active voice.  You’ll notice that each line starts with a strong verb, such as built, ensured, and balanced.  Furthermore, the most important accomplishment (doubling new sales growth) is listed right at the top.  This accomplishment is also backed up by a clear explanation of how it was made possible.

It’s very important when describing accomplishments to explain more than just the result.  To thoroughly describe your accomplishments, you should use the STAR method, which stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Results.  You can read more about using the STAR method here.

Don’t forget to review…

Once you’ve finished drafting your experience in a resume format.  Take a second look at what you’ve actually written.  This is the time to catch any typographical and/or grammatical errors.  Additionally, you’ll want to take an objective look at what you’ve included to be certain it’s all relevant for your current job target.  Ask yourself, would I be interested in this information if I had limited time and needed to choose the best candidate?  If the answer is no, you should remove the content from the resume and include something else.

After you’ve reviewed the information and finished your resume, feel free to send it to our team for a free resume review.  Our expert team of writers can take a look at the resume and let you know if anything needs to be changed or improved.


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