Professional Experience

You’ve been there, you’ve done that

When opening up your reader to your Professional Experience, the way you list your content matters. Do you put the company first or your title? Should you list bullets or paragraphs? How far back do you go?

Honestly, our best answer is - it depends. If you’re grappling with the title and company, here are some things to consider.

  • Are you applying for a role where your title and duties will matter more or the high profile company you were working for?

Examples on how to display your professional work experience

Examples on how to display your professional work experience

Typically, you’ll start with listing out your actual job title.

  • The exception here is if you’re working for a big name company, and maybe your job title wasn’t as flashy or ideal (i.e., Google). If it’s a bigger name and big in your industry, list it out first.

The next thing you’ll list out is the name of the company.

But what if you’ve worked at the same company for a really long time and don’t want it to seem like you’ve only done one thing your whole life? Depending on what your job titles were, and what you want to show off, you have a few options.

  • If you were ever given a promotion, we definitely suggest distinguishing these as two separate roles, and listing the company out twice on your resume.

  • If you made a lateral change or just assumed new duties, you could also list them out like separate roles as well. That’s just going to depend on if it’s was enough of a difference.

There’s nothing wrong with writing a company name twice! If you did different things, it’s important to reflect that growth.

The next area you’ll want to list out are month and years of employment.

  • You don’t need to list out months on a resume if you’ve worked in that position for at least 2 years.

  • However, just keep in mind that if you can lists months, this will help. Many recruiters are going to want that information anyways. 

How do I write out my own work experience?

Bullets and paragraphs are both acceptable for resumes today, but most recruiters will tell you they want to see bullets. Why? The 6-second rule, of course! Bullets are easy to read and scan for keywords, which is what keeps your hat in the ring.

Although keywords are crucial for keeping you in after the first review, it’s important to remember that your experience content matters as a whole. The keywords will grab your reader’s attention, but you still want them to read it - right?

To some extent, how you should write your professional experience is going to vary based on your industry. However, it is important to remember that the person who is actually reviewing and reading your resume for the first time, may not be well versed in what you’re industry actually is about. They may also not have a ton of time to review your resume or understand robust job descriptions, duties, or achievements.
— Elarie Tip

How do I show off my achievements and not just my daily duties?

We know the hardest part is actually writing the experience, but the truth is it’s the part you probably know the best. Why? Because you did the job.

But your experience is not only the tasks you did day in and day out. It is also made up of the accomplishments you achieved while in your role.

Accomplishment-based resumes can show the reader what value you have a track record of bringing - and more importantly what you’re going to bring to their organization.

Here’s the best way to showcase this on your resume:

  • Consider a specific problem, situation or challenge in your work.

  • What did you do to improve up on that problem, situation or challenge?

  • What was the outcome of how you improved?

  • Is it possible to show what you did in some sort of quantity or metric.

For the future: Keep an ongoing list of achievements in your current role and throughout your career. This could be as simple as an excel spreadsheet or word document with a running list of the achievement. Include the problem, outcome, benefit for you, the team or the organization and Andy relevant metrics or deliverables,
— Elarie Tip

How far back should I go in my work history?

You realistically only need to showcase the past 10 years - Unless it was very significant, or a job that you’ve been at for a long time.

This also goes along with listing jobs that aren’t relevant to the new job you’re applying for, or your current career. If you have robust experience and there are irrelevant jobs that don’t cause a significant gap, get rid of them.

What if I have gaps in my work history?

It’s really important to not worry so much about gaps in your resume. It’s not as big of a deal as you think.

However, it’s important to make sure you’re not calling attention to the gap. Leave that gap where it is. Don’t list out why you have a gap directly on your resume.

If you do need to start explaining why you have a gap in your work history, this should show up on your cover letter or handled during an interview. 

Additionally, if you’ve had your own business or held roles like a coach or consultant, that does not mean you were unemployed! That is experience, you are doing work. This is not a gap that you should leave off your resume. 

Just make sure that if you do have gaps to be prepared over a phone screening interview that someone will ask you about it. We’ll go into more about what to say on this area during the interview section.