Resume Preparation Tips | Writing About Your Work Experience

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An article by contributor Gigi W.what-not-to-include-in-a-resume

When applying for a position that you have not had before, you may be stumped at how your prior experience fits. But when trying to determine how to get hired, even with or without work experience, you have to use every tool in your arsenal, and that includes all your work experience. So how do you write about your work experience, especially some of the first jobs you’ve had, on your professional resume?

Prepare And Research First

When looking to apply for a job, the first thing you need to do is examine the job ad carefully and perhaps do some additional research on the company to try and determine what exactly the company is looking for and how you can present yourself as the right person for the job. There are any number of resume preparation tips out there, but all of them entail having as clear a picture as possible about the job you’re applying for, what it will entail and what the company is looking for.

List Every Job

You might be tempted to simply not list certain jobs on your resume at all, but that can be a big mistake. While it’s true that you shouldn’t always include every job you’ve held, you might find yourself having to explain what you were doing during that time gap anyway, and you could miss out on any benefits listing that job could bring. For example, the hiring manager might have a favorable opinion of the company you worked for or think that someone who worked in such a position might have the skills and personality they’re looking to hire.

Remember, your resume is a marketing document and should be focused; tailor the responsibilities of each job to showcase how the experience will help you in this new position. For example: as a retail associate, you learned valuable customer service technique, communication and organizational skills that can apply to almost any job!

Sometimes All You Have To Be Creative

If you have no or limited work experience, you may have to creatively link past experience to the new job. Demonstrate your skills, education and achievements on your resume, and make a strong case for your employment in your cover letter and resume summary statement.

Focus on what you can draw from your experience as a student, volunteer or other non-salaried activities. What have you learned so far that will help you in the future? What skills, or character traits have you developed? All experience is valuable and has shaped the person you are today.

All Experience Matters

There are plenty of soft skills that are useful and used in nearly every occupation, such as leadership, writing, communication, time management, customer service skills and more. These soft skills are commonly developed in your early career at a wide variety of positions. You just have to show the connection! For example, your first job might have helped you transition from wordy academic writing to a more concise business format. Any major accomplishment during your professional career is generally worth a mention because they showcase tangible things you have done that, even if not necessary in your new role, show you’re willing to take charge and get things done and have worked to improve a company’s standing.

Focus On Transferable Skills

When writing work experience in resume, focus on any transferable skills you utilized, cultivated and gained in past positions that will be necessary or helpful in the position you’re applying for. You might have to get creative and think outside the box, but you should be able to find connections. For example, if you worked in food service but are applying for a tech job, you can talk about how you troubleshooted mechanical and computer issues at your company, or how you trained new employees to work the systems.

Final Thought

How to write work experience in resume is more complicated than it sounds a lot of the time but the key is to tailor everything you mention to the employer’s interest. Why should they hire you? You help your case by showing the different facets of your professional experience, which present you as a well-rounded employee and person. With this information on how to make a resume in mind, you should have a much better idea how to include previous work experience on your resume in a way that impresses employers and lands you the job.

Gigi is a freelance writer, and currently writes for Orange Digital. In her spare time, she would like to splurge on her two favourite things: movies and books. She likes to write about anything related to self-improvement and career advancement. Follow her @GGRarekind.

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