How to Write Your Experience Section in a Way That Sells You
The ‘Experience’ section is arguably the most important part of your resume. Your Experience section details your career, gives employers an understanding of what you’ve learned and accomplished over the years, and helps employers to see if you are qualified to do the job.
Unfortunately, most resume experience sections are filled with boring, obvious, and unhelpful information. Most people fill their resumes with job descriptions which detail the work they did, the tasks they were assigned, and the expectations their boss had of them. In fact, those that struggle to write their resume often simply cut and paste their job description from the company.
Why Job Descriptions Don’t Cut It
The problem is, the person who is hiring you knows what your job is. They have been working in the field and in the industry for years or decades. They’ve hired other people with your past job titles. They’ve managed people in those jobs. And usually they’ve held that job themselves.
An Experience section of job descriptions simply tells the hiring manager what they already know. It adds nothing of value to the employer’s understanding of who you are as a worker. Worse, it’s generic and doesn’t express who you are as an individual.
Take a moment to review your resume and focus on the bullet points or summary you’ve written for each job. As you read them, ask yourself if what you’ve written is nothing more than job descriptions. If so, update your resume by deleting the descriptions of what you did and replacing them with something that sells you and gives an employer something useful.
How to Write the Experience Section of a Resume
When a hiring manager reviews a resume, they are trying to figure out if you are able to do the job and how good you would be doing the job. They don’t care about what you’ve done in the past, they only care what you might do for them in the future.
To make the experience section valuable, and to improve your chances of getting an interview, delete information about the job and focus instead on your accomplishments and your transferable skills.
The first thing your experience section should do is demonstrate how good of an employee you are. The best way to do this is to highlight the accomplishments you’ve had throughout your career. Accomplishments show your ability to succeed and demonstrate your value as an employee.
For each job you have, delete the job description and replace it with your major accomplishments in that job. Pretend you are being interviewed about the job and the hiring manager asks you what accomplishment you were most proud of at the job. What would you say?
Whatever your biggest accomplishments at each job are, list them right under the job title/company. Your accomplishments set you apart from other candidates and help give a hiring manager an understanding of the value you can bring to their company.
Once you’ve detailed your accomplishments, it’s time to move on to the skills you learned at each job which are required at the new job you are applying for. Hiring managers want to know if you can do the job they need you to do, and care very little about your ability to do other jobs.
No matter what job you’re applying for, there are skills you learned at previous jobs which will be needed at the new job. By focusing on these transferable skills, you demonstrate to an employer your ability to do the job they need you to do.
You may have never held the position they are applying for, but that doesn’t mean you are unqualified to do the job. Demonstrating the transferable skills you’ve learned in past jobs is the best way to prove you have the ability to do the new job.
If the new job requires you to be able to do ten things, and you’ve done all ten of those things in ten previous jobs, you can show you have the ability to do the new job. It doesn’t matter you’ve never held the same job title, you’ve already done all the necessary components of the job.
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