The work experience section of a CV is considered to be the make-or-break section, as it relatively holds the greatest importance in accordance with other sections. The reason this section is considered to be the most significant is that when the recruiter wants to know whether you are the right fit for the job or not, they look towards your work experience.
You need to make sure that your entire CV, particularly your work experience section, is impactful so that it passes the ATS software, as well as the 7-second resume scan from the employer. Most employers want to know what you’ve accomplished in your past work experience which helps them figure out whether you are the ideal candidate they are looking for or not.
7 Steps for Listing Work Experience
The purpose of a CV is to market yourself and convince the recruiter that you are the best fit for the job. Here are the 7 steps you need to follow to learn the art of listing your work experience:
Step #1 – Organize It
99% of Fortune 500 Companies use ATS software to narrow down the list of candidates, and several other firms have also adopted the practice of using this software so that they could save time and increase efficiency. After your CV has passed the ATS test, then it goes to the employer for a further review of the candidate.
If you want to pass both of these tests, then you need to organize your data in the correct format. The ATS software and humans prefer work experience to be in reverse chronological order. It simply means that your latest job should appear first, followed by your second-to-last job, and so on. This gives employers an idea of what your latest work experience is.
Step #2 – Formatting the Information
Before listing your work experience, you should be aware of the format in which your information should be placed. For each work experience, you should apply the following format:
Company Name & Location: Write the full name of the company, and the city where you worked. For certain job applications, employers also require the company’s information, so in that case, you could include a one-line statement that describes the operations of the company.
Job Title: Write about your role in the company, be very specific.
Dates: You should also include the start and end dates but make sure the dates are in the ATS style, such as MM/YYYY format.
Step #3 – Bullet Points
You have to keep everything concise and brief, the more paragraphs you add, the more boring your CV becomes. Using bullet points helps employers skim through your data easily. While using bullet points, make sure that you add only three to five bullet points per experience, using too many bullet points makes your CV look less attractive.
Step #4 – Start with an Action Verb
Always start each bullet point with an action verb, such as Created, Managed, Presented, Designed, Implemented, etc. Action verbs call attention to your achievements, which increases the overall impact of your CV.
Many candidates use ‘was’ in their work experience. Using ‘was’ gives the impression to the employer that you are not confident enough about doing those things. Using action verbs eliminates the use of ‘was’, which sounds more professional and confident.
Step #5 – Highlight Accomplishments & Duties
When writing about your work experience, make sure that you also list your accomplishments and duties. Listing duties helps the employer to know what tasks you performed in that particular role so that they could see whether you have the relevant experience in performing the specific tasks or not.
Moreover, you don’t have to stop after you’ve listed your job duties, you still need to convince the employer by telling him how well you performed all those tasks. To convince the employer, try highlighting your accomplishments as well. Listing accomplishments from your previous employer is a great way to stand out. Listing relevant and major accomplishments give you an edge over other candidates.
Step #6 – Use Metrics
To increase the credibility of your information, try adding numbers and metrics to impress your employer. For example,
“Fulfilled all warehouse orders with the highest accuracy.”
“Fulfilled over 10,000 warehouse orders with a 95% accuracy rate and a 100% safety record over 30 months.”
From the above two sentences, the second one sounds more credible and more impactful than the first one. The more you quantify your achievements, the higher become your chances of being selected for the position. An employer gets hundreds or thousands of CVs for a position, if you want to increase your chances of becoming the ideal candidate, then you should incorporate dollar amounts, timespans, percentages, and other kinds of metrics in your CV.
Step #7 – Tailor It
Many people make the mistake of sending that same CV for every job application, well that is a big mistake. With the ATS software and other candidate-shortlisting techniques, tailoring each CV according to the job application has become a necessity.
Before applying for the job with your CV, try reading the job description carefully and identify all the relevant keywords that you can find from that posting, the keywords could be in the form of skills or job requirements. Once you’ve highlighted the main keywords, use those keywords in your CV. The ATS software basically scans the entire CV, and searches for the keywords that the employer is looking for, if it finds the relevant keywords, then it passes on the CV to the employer.
Every job application has its own requirements, so you should tailor your CV each time you send it to any employer. This will increase your chances of getting selected for the interview or the job.
Your work experience should tell a story about your professional career. It needs to be written in such a way that the employer is eager to learn more about you and your professional career.