Without question, the work experience section is the most important part of your resume. 

Why? Because it answers the #1 question hiring managers have when they review your application:

What relevant job skills and experience do you have?

Unfortunately, most job seekers feel intimidated when they sit down to write their work experience because they know it can make or break their chances of getting an interview.

This is why we’ve put together this step-by-step guide – to help you create a work experience section quickly, easily, and correctly. 

Just follow these 7 steps and you’ll soon have a resume that will grab the attention of hiring managers – no matter what position you’re applying for!

Table of Contents


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Step 1 – Organize your work experience section

Did you know that when you submit your resume to most companies, it does NOT go to a human being?

Instead, it goes directly into a computer database called an ATS, or applicant tracking system

An ATS is a software program that manages the entire hiring process, from sourcing candidates to tracking applicants and scheduling interviews.

What does this mean for you?

It means that your work history should be formatted so an ATS can easily read and understand it. Don’t worry – we’ll tell you exactly how to do this!

We’ll start with how to organize your work history. 

Both ATS and humans like your work experience to appear in reverse chronological order. This means your latest job should appear first, at the top of the section, followed by your second-to-last job, etc….

This allows potential employers to quickly spot your most recent job while getting a sense of the progression of your career over time.

PRO TIP: Stick to a traditional heading like “Work Experience” instead of more creative headers like “Where I’ve Been,” which will cause the ATS to organize your data incorrectly.

Step 2 – Format the job information correctly

Before you start describing your job responsibilities, you need to list the following information about each job first:

  • Company name and location – Include the full name of the company you worked for followed by the city and state of its location. You don’t need to describe what the company did. 
  • Job title – Be as specific as possible to ensure that employers know exactly what your role was within the company.
  • Start and end dates – To make sure the dates can be properly read by an ATS, use the MM/YYYY format. 

Here’s an example of how this information could look on a resume:

We recommend following the way this example is formatted because it can easily be read by an ATS.

The key thing is to present your information consistently throughout your entire work experience section. 

If you’re not consistent it can hurt your chances of getting an interview. 

“The quality of presentation tells me something about you,” a healthcare recruiter told Jobscan. 

Pro Tip: Always Include the month as well as the year for your start and end dates so the ATS can read your information properly.

Step 3 – Use bullet points

After you’ve presented the basic job information, it’s time to get into the details of what the job entailed.

To do this, use bullet points. The general rule is to include around four to eight bullet points for each job you have held.

Recruiters tend to skim through resumes and bullet points are a great way to make it easier for them to do that.

Each bullet point should include a job responsibility and/or an accomplishment.

The goal is to be concise but provide enough information for a potential employer to get an idea of your experience, skills, and capabilities.

Pro Tip: Watch out for typos! Nearly 60% of hiring managers will reject a resume because of poor grammar or a spelling error.

Step 4 – Start each bullet point with an action verb

Always try to start each bullet point with an action verb, such as “Developed”, “Managed”, or “Created”. 

These words help paint a clearer picture of your qualifications and increase the overall impact of your resume.

Many people make the mistake of using the word “was” in their bullet points. For example, “Was responsible for warehouse safety.” 

Don’t do this! Instead, use an action verb or two, such as “Researched and implemented new warehouse safety standards.” This makes you look like a more confident and capable candidate.

Here are examples of bullet points that begin with an action verb:

  • Processed 100 tickets per day and effectively handled incoming correspondence.
  • Managed multi-line phone system and provided administrative support.
  • Organized large meetings for cross-functional events on- and off-site.

See our list of 500 Resume Action Words That Recruiters Love to See.

Pro Tip: Don’t rely on cliches! Over 50% of hiring managers will reject a resume if it has too many cliches.

Step 5 – List accomplishments as well as duties

A lot of people use the work experience section to list their job duties or responsibilities. 

These are the tasks that you’re expected to perform as part of your job. They include things like:

  • Answering phones
  • Scheduling meetings
  • Taking inventory
  • Maintaining records
  • Training employees

Listing your job duties gives potential employers an idea of what you did, but it doesn’t indicate how well you did it.  

To show employers how well you did your job, use your bullet points to highlight specific accomplishments

An example of an accomplishment at work could be creating and executing a successful marketing campaign that drove increased sales and overall brand awareness.

Or, if you were the manager of a retail store, an accomplishment could be that you implemented a new system for tracking and monitoring merchandise. 

No matter what type of job you had, it is essential to focus on the specific results of your efforts in order to clearly convey the value you provide for employers. 

See 67 Resume Accomplishments Examples to Demonstrate Your Value.

Pro Tip: Don’t get hung up on every last job duty; put more emphasis on your most transferrable work experience and skills. 

Step 6 – Use numbers and metrics

Whenever possible, try to use numbers and metrics to describe your accomplishments. These clearly demonstrate the impact your work had on the business. 

Dollar amounts, timespans, and percentages are all great ways to quantify your accomplishments on a resume.

Here are some examples of how to use numbers on a resume:

  • Maintained a 97% satisfaction rating over a 24-month period as a customer care representative.
  • Fulfilled over 4,500 warehouse orders with a 98% accuracy rate and 100% safety record over a 12-month period.
  • Created a company culture initiative that raised employee satisfaction rates by 25% YoY.
  • Cut data processing time by 50% by building a new cloud data infrastructure, leading to more timely insights.
  • Grew email subscriber list from 300 to 2,000 in 8 months without expanding the monthly budget.

For more examples, explore our library of resume examples for any profession.

Pro Tip: There are many situations where you can’t quantify an accomplishment and some cases where you shouldn’t even try. So only use numbers and metrics when it makes sense to do so!

Step 7 – Tailor your work experience to the job

Do you send out the same resume with every single job application? 

That’s what most people do, and it’s a big mistake!

Instead, you should try to tailor each resume to the specific job you are applying for. 

Tailoring your resume has become even more important these days because so many companies use ATS to help filter the hundreds of resumes they receive for each job opening.

When hiring managers want to find good job candidates, they search the ATS database for them by typing in words and phrases usually taken from the job description. 

If your resume contains these words or phrases (known as keywords) then it’s likely to appear before the hiring manager. Mission accomplished!

If your resume does NOT contain keywords from the job description, it will remain in the database. Mission failure! 

You should constantly refer to the job description when writing your resume work experience. 

Here’s an example of a job description with some important keywords underlined.

Accountant Job Description

If you were applying for this job, you want your resume to include as many of these underlined keywords as possible (but don’t lie!). 

A resume full of relevant keywords is much more likely to be seen by a hiring manager instead of remaining stuck in an ATS database.

Most job seekers use the same resume again and again because it’s easy. But it’s also ineffective.

Take the time to tailor each and every resume and you’ll see much better results with your job search!

To create a resume that is fully optimized for the ATS, check out Jobscan’s Resume Scanner.

How to make a resume with no work experience

If you’re a recent graduate or are just starting out in your career, you probably don’t have a lot of work experience. 

That’s OK! Employers don’t expect much experience if you’re applying for an entry-level job. 

The good news is there are still things you can add to your work experience to make it stand out.

These include special skills or talents that are related to the job you’re applying for.

What are your hobbies? What are things you’re good at? Sit down and make a list of things you’ve done and what skills you used. 

Examples include computer programming, foreign languages, music, sports, fixing cars, art, writing, etc…

You should also include any relevant volunteer work or internships.

Also, make sure to list any awards, honors, or recognitions that you may have received during your academic career or while working in other roles. 

Employers are always impressed by individuals who have achieved something special.

Read the full guide: How to Write a Resume with No Experience

Pro Tip: Don’t list everything you’ve ever done on your resume. Stick to things that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. 

How many jobs should I put on my resume?

When it comes to your resume, quality matters more than quantity

It’s better to have fewer jobs on your resume that are well-described and demonstrate your relevant skills and experiences than a long list of jobs without any detail or context.

Generally speaking, you should aim to have 3 to 7 job listings in your work experience section. 

You only need to go into full detail about your most recent two or three jobs. Then go into less detail the further back you go. 

Your oldest job listings (those more than 15 years ago) should only include the company you worked for, your role, and your dates of employment. 

Pro Tip: If you have gaps in your work history, you can explain why in your cover letter or in the job interview. 

Show your career trajectory on your resume

Ideally, your work experience section should tell a story about your professional career.

Hiring managers like to see how your experience has shaped you into the professional you are today.

“I’m looking for the logic of why you went from this job to the next job,” a corporate recruiter told Jobscan.

“When we make that initial presentation email to the hiring manager, we also include a bio paragraph that goes over their career– where they started, how often they moved up, where they moved to, trying to really create a narrative.”

To create an effective narrative, focus on how your job responsibilities have increased over the years. You can also highlight any promotions you have received.

For example, if you started out as a customer service representative and eventually moved up to technical support manager, you should emphasize the growth in your job responsibilities. 

If you can create a work experience section that tells a memorable story, hiring managers will be much more likely to call you in for an interview!

jobscan has helped over 1 million users build and optimize their resume

Key Takeaways

Let’s quickly review what we’ve learned:

  • The work experience section is the most important part of your resume. Spend quality time working on it.
  • Your work experience should appear in reverse chronological order, from last to first.
  • Every entry should include the company name and location, your job title, and your start and end dates. 
  • Use bullet points to describe your duties and accomplishments.
  • Each bullet point should start with an action verb.
  • Be sure to list accomplishments as well as job duties. 
  • Use numbers and metrics (when relevant) to make your accomplishments stand out.
  • Tailor each resume to the job you’re applying for.
  • Include 3 to 7 job listings in your work experience section.
  • Try to use the work experience section to tell the story of your professional experience.

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