Experience Section (CV or Resume)

Straightforward and convincing

The experience section is an opportunity to pitch your case. The aim is to show that you are meant to have the job in some way – your experiences and proven abilities align well with the position description.

Recruiters are hoping to find quality candidates who tick the boxes and must be interviewed. Read job documents carefully, take stock of your qualities and history, and then give recruiters what they want. It is not about the things that make you uniquely special, but demonstrating that you fit the role.

Section parts

Typically, the experience section consists of short descriptions of each job. These are listed from most recent to oldest.

  • If you have little work experience, consider using projects rather than jobs.
  • If, on the other hand, you have a long list of jobs, drop less significant ones (particularly those that are becoming dated).

Content

You have flexibility in deciding on content. You are free to emphasise whatever you want in each description – whether it is achievements, skills or responsibilities.

  • Add extra bits – such as achievements and skills – if you have strong and specific content in these areas.
  • Be selective and concise. Extra material makes your resume harder to digest and can give it a look of being padded.
  • Choose from your body of experience in a way that both shows you in a good light and addresses the requirements of the job. Be more expansive about experiences that are job-relevant.
  • Even if you don't have much relevant experience, demonstrate you have the right skills.

Format

Each job description should normally use the employer or project name for the title.

  • State the position title as well (or a short description of the role) and job dates (preferably down to the month).
  • The rest of the job description explains what you did.
  • Use dot points and concise phrasing. Recruiters are busy and mostly skim.

Writing style

Descriptions take time to craft as you need to balance different things.

  • Use active expressions but with minimal use of the word "I", as per the examples on this page.
  • Be specific in order to make the descriptions concrete but not so specific that you drown the reader in detail.
  • Focus on what you achieved rather than job duties. A job can be done with passion to an exceptional standard or done poorly. Let the recruiter know that you deliver results.