The Resume: Professional Experience

By Rachel Whitmire

Your Professional Experience is the "meat" of your resume. This is where your potential employer is going to put most of his or her focus, so it is important that you do a good job in this section.

First, a few things to remember when writing out your employment history:

  • Include the name of each business where you worked
  • Include the city and state where it is located
  • Don't include the address or phone number for the business (you only provide these on an application, not on a resume)
  • Be sure to include the dates that you worked there - at least the month and year when you started and ended the job.
  • Remember to put your employment in reverse order - that means that your most recent job goes first, then the one before that, then the one before that.

These are the basic things to keep in mind, but also pay attention to how you list your responsibilities at each job. The best way to write these is with a bulleted list. Put at least three and no more than five short "phrases" that describe what you did at the job. Some of you may be used to putting your responsibilities in paragraph form under each job. The reason I don't recommend this is because most interviewers are strapped for time and they usually don't even read those paragraphs. However, they WILL look at a bulleted list.

When you are describing what you did at each job, remember to talk about the most important things that you did; perhaps you managed a crew in the evenings or you were responsible for counting down the cash registers. These are great things to mention because they show that you were given additional tasks and that your previous employers relied on you.

If you run out of things to say before you have three to five points, then focus on other things that you did. Here are some examples:

  • Exhibited excellent attendance
  • Assisted in developing positive team moral
  • Performed job above and beyond employer's expectations
  • Provided excellent customer service

The skills that I have included above could fit into almost any job. Think about what you did that contributed to a more positive and efficient work environment. Those are things that are worth mentioning.

Overall, make sure that each job has skills listed. This shows what you actually did at the job and it will help a prospective employer envision what you are capable of doing and what responsibilities he or she could give you at their company.

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