by Phil Baker,Â
The work experience section of your resume is, besides your contact information, the most important part of your resume. Previously, simply listing previous jobs and a supervisor’s name was all you had to do; however, in today’s tough job market, this is no longer adequate. The information that you provide a potential employer should leave the reader with a clear picture of not only where you have worked in the past, but what types of skills were required for those jobs. If your reader has to guess what types of duties you have performed previously, they probably will not, and they will probably stop reading. Stating clearly the skills that were required in each job you include will give you an advantage over applicants who do not.Â Â
First, before you begin writing, do the legwork; research the position and the company to determine what types of skills they are looking for and match your experience with those skills. Writing a “customized” resume for each position you apply for is recommended because you can tailor the information you include fitting the job. Most potential employers are not as interested in knowing every single job you’ve had, only the ones that are relevant to the position. Of course, if you have a limited employment history, you should include all experiences; be sure to make the most of the transferable skills that you have when describing those past jobs.Â Â
When you’ve completed all of your research and are ready to begin the actual writing process, you need to determine where exactly this section should be in the document. Most of the time, this is the first information on the paper, immediately following you objective statement. There are exceptions, though; for example, teaching jobs place heavy emphasis on education, so put that information first and follow with an employment section. Instead of just listing the skills you will do better to work them into accomplishment statements.Â Â
The format you choose can also determine where in the document you place your past job information. If you decide to use a chronological format, your work history would come either right after your objective statement or right after your education history, depending on the position you are applying for. A skills-based format is one in which you place more emphasis on your skills and abilities than on your experience; if you choose this format, your employment section would come near the end of the document.Â Â
Again simply listing previous employers and skills is not nearly enough; you must also clearly convey exactly what you accomplished or what your job responsibilities were in your past positions and how you made use of your qualifications. One good way to do this is with bullet points; after the company’s name, contact information, and job title, use three to four bullet points to concisely sum up your job duties. An example follows:Â Â
Corporate Kids Preschool – Assistant DirectorÂ Â
- Increased enrollment 24% over 12 months by using a target marketing campaign to advertise the center.
- Collaborated with state and other outside early education personnel to develop an emerging language and literacy curriculum.
- Worked in partnership with the center director and staff to achieve national accreditation.
Using action verbs such as “collaborated” and “increased” paints a clearer picture of your skill level than if you were to use more passive phrases. Remember to be specific and provide numbers and dates whenever you can.
One final thought about work history: Don’t panic if you haven’t held many jobs in the past. Chances are, you’ve done something at some point that has required you to use the skills a potential employer may be looking for; for instance look to any volunteering performed as a source of work experience.Â Â
Copyright 2011 by Phil Baker “The Hire Authority” and author of the bestseller: Employer Secrets.Â Â
Hyoâ€™s Note â€“ Not only is Phil the creator of the OneClick Cover Letter Creator SoftwareÂ ProgramÂ (a ridiculous easy to use, yet effective software that creates cover letters tailored to your needs) which you can visit here, or you can read my review of it here, but he also has a tremendous website, www.ResumeDictionary.com.Â Resume DictionaryÂ might just be the best, free resume resource site out there – jammed with great information and tips on getting your resume water tight and rocking.Â
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