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Resume Tips: How should you describe your work experience on your resumé?

By Amit Puri

The work experience section of your resumé should include the following, for each position held:

  • Job title
  • Name of the company
  • City/country
  • Dates of employment
  • Company description (mainly if the company is not a household name)
  • Brief description of your job responsibilities
  • Your key achievements/accomplishments

It is best to avoid any useless information, such as company address, contact details, names of supervisors and so on.

The most important thing to keep in mind is to focus on your accomplishments. There will be many people who have held similar positions and they all would have similar job responsibilities. So a long list of your job duties will not set you apart. What will help you stand out is information about how well you performed your responsibilities, or in other words – what were your accomplishments?

As a guideline, I would suggest 2-3 bullets points (or a paragraph of 3-5 lines) to describe your job responsibilities and 4-5 bullet points providing details of your achievements.

A good way to communicate your achievements is through Action-Benefit statements. Action-Benefit statements use your accomplishments and experience to demonstrate the positive impact you can have on a company’s bottom line and to show how well you fit the job requirements.

An Action-Benefit statement consists of:

Action: Specific action that you took when faced with a situation, problem or opportunity that enabled you to achieve a positive result

Benefit: The positive result or benefit to the organization, such as an increase in revenue, a reduction in costs, streamlined processes or systems, or improved morale

Start your statements with Action Verbs (Managed, Spearheaded, Directed, Implemented, Executed, etc.) and try to quantify them where ever possible.

Here is an example of an action statement – Devised and implemented a new sales training programme which resulted in a 37% increase in new business.
Amit Puri is the Managing Consultant at Sandbox Advisors. He has over 10 years of business, career services and HR related experience, with companies such as Bain & Co, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup. Sandbox Advisors is based in Singapore and provides career management/advice, job search, interview, resume and HR consulting services in Asia.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for [American] college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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Guest Contributor s are always welcome on the Career Incubator (an online career resource for students and recent grads). Send an email to cassandra@talentegg.ca and be sure to include your idea as well as a few details about yourself!

4 comments

  1. Danielle Lorenz
    January 4, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    I was taught to use this kind of resume format when I was in high school through our co-operative education program, and have utilized it ever since. It is also the system that is taught at Mac.

    I didn’t realize however that so much information was required (suggested) in terms of naming the company, some of what Amit mentioned I had never considered (job description, company description).

    That is something worthwhile to note the next time I create a resume/edit one of my existing ones. Thanks!

  2. January 4, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    I think it’s a pretty universal format, but I think we definitely need to use our discretion in terms of when and how to include all that additional information because it could definitely crowd the document. Being clear and concise with the information you do include is key.

  3. Allison
    January 4, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    I didn’t realize that your resume should have a description of the company, if it’s not a household name. Although this information is super helpful, my resume is already so tightly squeezed to not go over 2 pages…

    As Cassandra said, it’s all about discretion when deciding what information to include. I would rather provide less information if it means that I don’t have to sacrifice highlighting interesting experiences.

  4. January 4, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    Great point, Allison. I also hadn’t heard of including a company description before. I can certainly see it’s value but if the experience/accomplishments you have to showcase are powerful then use those to earn a interview (where you can talk face-to-face about the company!).

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