To write the perfect resume work experience section you should keep these two things in mind to show recruiters you are right for the position: Go beyond just listing duties and show hiring managers what you've accomplished. That's what most recruiters want to know — and they'll take a good look at your past work experience to decide if you're their missing puzzle piece. So, how you show it is key.
Even though every section of a resume plays an important role and should be written with the same care, we will focus on work experience. We'll teach you how to write work experience on a resume, give you expert writing tips, provide top work experience examples and much more.
To jump to a specific portion of this article, click one of the topics below:
- How to list work experience on a resume
- Top work experience section writing tips
- How your work experience fits the three resume formats
- Work experience examples for different career levels
- Resume work experience tips for unique situations
- Work experience resume examples and templates
How to list work experience on a resume
To market yourself and show the recruiter you're the best candidate, it's important to highlight the most relevant work experience. Here's everything you need to know on how to write work experience on a resume:
Step 1: List your work experience in reverse-chronological order.
The standard way of organizing your work experience is in reverse-chronological order. This means that the job at the top should be your current or most recent job, followed by the jobs you had before.
Step 2: Write the essentials about each job.
Each job you include in your resume work experience should have:
- Job title you held
- Company name and location (town and state)
- Date of employment
It might seem obvious, but you must be certain of the information you provide. If the hiring manager is interested in hiring you, they'll want to corroborate everything on your resume.
Step 3: Use three to five bullet points for each job experience.
Keep each bullet point short and straight to the point. After all, hiring managers spend less than a minute reviewing a resume, so you want to be concise in your writing.
When you put these steps together, your work experience section should look similar to this:
Graphic Designer | First Agency | Seattle, WA
- Design brochures, billboards, flyers and other marketing material for 8 clients.
- Create and design campaign for Sweet Chips, resulting in a 30% increase in sales and a large social media following.
- Actively brainstorm new concepts with team members to develop creative solutions and unique strategies.
Graphic Design Guru | First Agency | Washington
Feb. of 2020–today
- Design marketing material for clients.
- Create campaign for Sweet Chips.
- Brainstorm with other team members to come up with ideas.
Top work experience section writing tips
1. Include relevant work history.
Avoid writing about every single job you've held. This overwhelms employers and makes them lose interest. Instead, only use previous work experience related to the opportunity you want.
2. Use recent experience.
Write about your most recent work history. If you're a job seeker with years of experience, only focus on jobs from the last decade. Keep your work experience short and limit your resume to two pages.
3. Mirror the job posting.
Carefully read the job posting before writing your resume job description. Include key skills and "must-have" job requirements the employer values when writing about your past accomplishments.
4. Use action verbs.
Your work experience should tell a story of success that packs a punch. Use action verbs to call attention to your achievements. Strong action verbs like administered, organized, coordinated, designed, or developed will present you as a proactive, energetic employee. Some other examples of action verbs you can include in your resume:
5. Highlight accomplishments.
Don't just write a list of duties in your work experience section. Instead, highlight your top accomplishments with previous employers in your resume experience section to stand out. Include any relevant employer and industry awards you've earned.
6. Add success metrics.
Use industry-recognized success metrics when writing about your achievements. Numbers in your work experience can better present your accomplishments — and give you a 40% boost over the competition. These metrics may be the number of people who worked under your supervision, a percentage your team helped improve an outcome or reduce a cost, or the average number of patrons you helped daily. Dollar amounts are another great metric to include if you brought in revenue or were responsible for sales.
7. Show career progression.
Employers expect to see career progression in your work experience section. In your writing, show how you successfully took on additional responsibilities and opportunities to move up the career ladder.
8. Point out unique skills.
Writing about unique skills or responsibilities from previous positions can also set your work experience section apart. These additional details help the hiring managers see some personality instead of another candidate in the pipeline.
How your work experience fits the three resume formats
Your work experience is part of the three most common resume formats — chronological, functional and hybrid. Each format has its method for highlighting your past job experience. Consider the resume types your industry prefers and the work experience you want to include before selecting a format.
The chronological resume format is the most popular resume format. A chronological work history section organizes your information by date, starting with your current or most recent position. It's ideal for candidates with a long employment history — more than eight or ten years of work experience — and no employment gaps.
The functional resume job experience section focuses on skills rather than a comprehensive list of previous jobs. As you can see from the example, it includes other sections where you can further explain your skills and abilities, while the work history section is short. In writing about your past work experience, this is a good format for those with a limited job history or gaps in employment.
The combination resume, also known as the hybrid resume, combines chronological and functional features. This type of resume begins with a summary of qualifications and essential skills, similar to the functional style. Then, it uses a chronological list to capture your work experience.
Work experience examples for different career levels
Need some idea on how to write work experience on a resume? Here are a few work experience examples written by our experts.
Two years work experience with the same company
Food Server | Burger Shack Unlimited | Newark, NJ
- Greets up to 40 customers per hour and takes accurate orders on the register for menu items.
- Prepares food items for a menu of 36 dishes using restaurant-supplied recipes by measuring ingredients and mixing items correctly.
- Uses the computerized POS system to calculate customer food order totals and takes payment for cash and credit card transactions.
- Delivers friendly service to customers and addresses their complaints or concerns when necessary.
- Follows all proper on-the-job safe food-handling procedures and cleaning regulations when working with raw ingredients and serving.
Three years work experience with the same company
3D Animator | Newscape Studios | Chicago, IL
- Designs quality benchmarks for projects to maintain a 90.5% producer-satisfaction rate.
- Collaborates with the motion capture department to collect and apply data for specific characters.
- Works alongside writers and producers to create unique designs to translate artistic vision into a visual medium.
Assistant Animator | Newscape Studios | Chicago, IL
- Collaborated with the motion capture department to collect data for over 100 specific characters and apply them to animations.
- Completed first-rate hand-drawn animation on Adobe Animate CC for both television and cinematic use.
- Combined technical and artistic abilities to accomplish challenging animation objectives.
Five years work experience with two companies, different jobs
Dishwasher | Plank's Tavern on the Waterfront | Portland, OR
- Efficiently loads and unloads dishwashers, hand-cleaning large pots and utensils used by kitchen staff.
- Washes and sanitizes dirty dishes by hand and by using the dishwasher.
- Loads more than 100 glasses, silverware and dishes into the dishwasher each shift, running an average of 10 loads per day.
Cashier | Target | Portland, OR
- Answered questions about store policies and concerns to support positive customer experiences.
- Restocked, arranged and organized merchandise in front lanes to drive product sales.
- Completed manual and machine counts of funds for transactions valued at over $100.
6+ years work experience with the same company, different jobs
Senior Copywriter | The Art of Digital Content | Anaheim, CA
- Creates high-impact messaging for all marketing media, contributing to increases in revenues and market share.
- Provides editorial guidance to other departments, including marketing team, ensuring the delivery of top-quality content.
- Authored online display ads, providing click-conversion rates of 2.35%.
Copywriter | The Art of Digital Content | Anaheim, CA
- Edited content produced by senior executives, modifying the text to conform to company-wide branding standards and publication guidelines.
- Wrote advertising copy for online content, adhering to employers' overarching brand identity and personality.
- Incorporated between 11.5k and 30.3k SEO keywords into copy to increase search result rankings, producing high conversion rates.
10 years work experience with two companies, same job
Retail Pharmacist | Well-Drug | Tulsa, OK
- Fills more than 25 prescription drugs per hour in various forms, such as tablets, liquid medication, and more, for a popular drugstore chain.
- Verifies patient medication and history to check for any potential adverse reactions.
- Communicates with the patient's doctor when there is a verification question about prescriptions or side effects.
- Uses extensive knowledge of pharmaceuticals to make recommendations for generic drugs whenever necessary.
- Completes daily inventories of controlled substances and other drugs by counting supplies and tracking prescription fillings each day through a verification service.
- Oversees a staff of seven pharmacists and four part-time pharmacy technicians by scheduling shifts and evaluating employment records.
Assistant Pharmacist | Aid Mart | Tulsa, OK
- Educated patients about potential side effects, dosage information, and drug storage when dispensing any medicines.
- Submitted paperwork and information to the insurance company for patients and verified coverage before filling medications.
- Stocked inventory for additional non-prescription medication for behind-the-counter access, such as allergy and cold medicine.
15 years work experience with three companies, different jobs
Senior UX Designer | Peloton | Plano, TX
- Utilizes strong interactive and usability design skills to lead production and assessments for user-friendly interactions.
- Develops detailed user flows, site maps and wireframes to communicate user flow and interaction clearly to relevant teams.
- Leads team of seven through prioritizing work, problem-solving through production, and creating an open work environment to nurture new ideas and communication.
Junior UI Designer | Konrad | Plano, TX
- Assisted in project production, debugging code and completing minor fixes for client approval.
- Comfortable working in a fast-paced environment running two to three different projects at a time.
- Fostered a collaborative design process with product managers, user researchers, and engineers to work toward strategic goals and feature requirements.
UX Design Intern | imre, LLC. | Plano, TX
- Sat in on meetings with project managers and clients to take notes, listen to client specifications and needs, and create storyboards to illustrate projects.
- Hunted for new trends and up-and-coming technology through social media channels.
- Assisted two project managers in creating detailed mapping and prototypes of clients in the fashion and e-commerce business.
ATS help for your work experience section and other tips to get started
Gathering your information and getting everything ready to write your work experience is just as important as writing it. Here are some tips:
- Make a list of your past employers, dates of employment, location, job title and responsibilities.
Focus on your last 10 to 15 years of employment, starting from your most recent position and working backward. If you don't have formal work experience, think outside the box. Experience can come from internships, extracurricular activities (like volunteering) or personal projects.
- Write down notable work accomplishments instead of daily tasks.
Consider what you're most proud of from your past job experiences. Note how you tackled challenges and describe how your actions positively impacted your past employer.
- Customize your resume work experience section to the job you're applying for.
Even if it's for the same role, no two jobs are the same and you must be relevant to the job you want.
- Consider how applicant tracking systems (ATS) will read your resume.
Employers' widespread use of applicant tracking systems (ATS) presents a significant challenge to job seekers in the writing of their work experience section. ATS software scans resumes for keywords hiring managers list in job postings. Resumes without the keywords are quickly rejected. We have tools to make your work history writing keyword rich. Our Resume Builder assists you with pre-written examples crafted by career experts to improve your chances of passing an ATS review.
Resume work experience tips for unique situations
How to write work experience on a resume with employment gaps
Whether planned or not, knowing how to address an employment gap in your resume is extremely important. We highly recommend using the combination resume format because it will put equal importance on your work experience and skills, so the gap won't be as noticeable.
If your employment gap takes longer than a year, you can include what you were doing as part of your work experience. But only do this if you gained relevant skills or training, and keep it brief. Were you a family caregiver? Did you volunteer for an organization? Did you finish courses or earn certifications? Think about the things you learned and write as job experience. If you did freelance work or any consulting during your period of unemployment be sure to also mention it.
You should also consider writing a cover letter, as it will give you the space you need to properly explain why you were unemployed. If you need inspiration, we have cover letter examples for an employment gap and more you can review.
How to write work experience on a resume with no experience
When you don't have work experience, think outside the box. Were you in any relevant internships? Do you have a personal project that relates to the job you are applying to? Were you involved in an extracurricular activity that gave you important skills and experience? Did your school club arrange fundraising events or donation drives? All of these can be written in your resume — they're valuable!
You might want to consider using a functional resume that centers around your skills and strengths. It will help you show the hiring manager that you're a well-rounded candidate with a lot of potential.
To learn other tips and tricks, read our article on How to Write a Resume With No Experience.
How to list work experience for a career change
Updating a resume for a career change is all about highlighting transferable skills and relevant job experience — you're making a connection between your previous jobs and this new one. Read the job description well and compare your current skills to the ones they're requiring. Once you make this comparison, highlight and include only the previous work experience and skills that are relevant to the new job.
Consider using a combination resume format and switching your professional summary to a resume objective. It will allow you to properly market yourself and show the recruiter you have what it takes to make the change.
Work experience resume examples and templates
Need inspiration? Look for resume examples with the same or a similar job title and in the same industry. They will give you an idea of how to present your work experience and other key sections of your resume. You can also use our professionally designed resume templates to catch the employer's attention.
Simple but effective use of color makes this design's header stand out. Section titles are arranged in the left margin for quick reference.
This layout utilizes box graphics for headings and a prominent header that highlights your name.
This unique four-quadrant design helps you stand out from the crowd while also making it easy for employers to find information.
Write a perfect work experience section in our Resume Builder
- Personalized resumes: Easily personalize resumes for each job you apply for.
- Employer-tested templates: A large selection of customizable templates for all types of jobs.
- Pre-written examples: Make your resume work experience sound even better by using our Resume Builder's pre-written examples crafted by career experts.
- Chrome extension: Match your resume with the right jobs, update your resume easily and auto-fill job applications.
To wrap up, let's quickly go over what we discussed in this article and what we taught you on how to write work experience on a resume:
- It's important to follow the standard formatting: job title, company name, company's location and dates of employment.
- Recap your work experience with three to five bullet points per job.
- Make sure you tailor each job experience you're listing to the job you're interested in. Keep it relevant.
- Highlight achievements instead of everyday tasks and include numbers, when possible.
- Start each bullet point strong with an action verb.
- Each resume format highlights work experience differently, so choose the one that will best present your experience and skills.
- If you don't have work experience, think outside the box. Include internships, club activities, volunteer work or any personal projects.