How To Effectively Highlight Your Job Experience

Job experience is one of the most important components of a resume. This is where prospective employers look to learn just how well-qualified you are for the job. If you need to write a resume, there are a few key things to know about this component of the process.


Use Factual Power Words

When  writing your resume, use power words in the description of your job experience and make sure they are as accurate as possible.

Power words should be written in a “skills in action” format. That is, state what you did on the job in an actionable way. For example, you may have “Operated machinery” or “Managed 10 people.” Follow this with a brief description of what you did, allowing would-be employers to fully understand your previous roles.

Focus on action verbs as much as possible. For example, consider words such as:

  • Secured
  • Managed
  • Designed
  • Collaborated
  • Coached
  • Conceptualized
  • Reduced

Focus on the Benefits You Offer

It’s important to show how your job experience will benefit the prospective employer. If you want to get hired, you need employers to see the value you bring to them (not just to your previous job). What did you help accomplish or achieve by performing those activities?

You may want to say something like, “Saved company 10 percent by reducing waste.” “Grew profits by 20% year-over-year.”

When you communicate to your would-be employers about what you did at a previous job, they may see that as an opportunity you’ll bring with you to your new job.


Stay Concise, But Don’t Repeat

Each component of your job experience should be about something different. Even if you do not have a lot of job experience to include, be sure every part of this section of your resume is new information. You don’t want to focus on the same things over and over again under each job experience.

What if you did the same job but at different companies? Focus on your job growth from one company to the next. For example, at your first job, you may have performed basic key tasks. In your second job in the same field, did you teach others to do those tasks? Did you improve your skills in those areas to be more efficient? Perhaps you managed others who provided those tasks?

Look for ways to show that you may have had the same job position but there was definite growth from one job to the next. That’s going to show employers you have the potential to continuously improve.


Write Resume Details in an Appealing Manner

To make your resume appealing, focus on your strengths. For example, if you are not able to show any real growth in your skills from one job to the next, you may want to write a resume that focuses on your skills instead. List the key skills that are relevant to the job for which you are applying and indicate where you received those skills. When organizing your resume in this way, be sure to list the most valuable skills you have, based on your experience in the field, at the top.


What If You Have No Job Experience?

If you do not have a lot of job experience at all, it can feel very overwhelming to write a resume. With no job experience, you may feel like you cannot find a job you want, but that is not always the case.

As noted above, job experience is not always the only thing or the best thing to showcase on a resume. Instead, focus on the skills you have that can help you get hired.

Write down a list of skills you have that you think will help you stand out. You can list skills you have as well as those you’ve learned over time by being involved in various activities or groups. Really dig in here. Make a list of skills that you know an employer will value.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself that may offer some insight:

  • Do you take deadlines seriously? Demonstrate how timely you are.
  • Are you a responsible person who does not miss an appointment? Note your reliability.
  • Do other people tell you that you are a people person? Perhaps they like listening to you.
  • Do you feel that you are an honest person? If that’s one of your skills, list that.
  • Do you have specific computer or app experience that may be helpful to your employer?
  • What type of hand-working skills do you have? Are you specifically good at repairing things?

Work at this list and perhaps get someone else to help you by providing ideas. Your goal here is to write resume details and skills that you think employers will value.


Know What Your New Job Requires

Take a good look at the company’s job listing to determine what they are looking for in an applicant. They may be looking for specific computer or language skills. They may be looking for someone with a specific license or degree. If you do not have these, don’t say that you do.

If you do have those skills, make sure to include them in your resume. That is what is going to give your employer-to-be a reason to take a closer look. You also have to remember that many employers use software that helps them find people who list specific terms on their applications and resumes. If you fail to include these, no person will actually ever see your application.

Look at a few different listings if you are applying to numerous positions or companies. Your goal is to ensure you are getting the right information that these hiring managers are looking for in resumes.

At Goodwill, we know it can be hard to find a job when you are looking at a new industry or trying to navigate changing job climates in your community. That’s why we believe you should write resume details in such a way to make them stand out no matter how much your career changes and flexes.


Need additional help? Contact a career specialist at your local Goodwill.

This post originally appeared in the Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona blog.