How to Structure Experience Section in Your Resume
Updated: Dec 21, 2022
The recruiters nowadays take about 7 seconds to review your resume; therefore, you need to structure it properly to get the attention or end up in the rejected pile.
Take your time writing the experience section of your resume because it presents you as an asset or a liability to the potential employer. According to Harvard Business Review, building a resume that stands out includes showing your accomplishments in the experience section rather than your responsibilities.
How important is the work experience section?
According to Forbes, the first thing that most recruiters examine is the relevant job experience. They want to make sure that you have the required knowledge and skills for the job by reviewing your past experiences and how you constructively applied those skills.
You all must be wondering how to build a perfectly structured experience and skills that make a strong impression on your potential employer. According to an article by LinkedIn, "less is more" when writing a resume to get the recruiter's attention. You don't need to list all the jobs you have had in the past. List only those experiences relevant to the position you are applying for according to the job description posted on the company's website. The first step is to decide on the format or structure of the work experience section.
How to select the correct format for your work experience section
There are three types of design formats for the experience section.
1. The chronological format
This method works best when you have multiple years of experience in several companies. You can list them by mentioning the most recent and relevant one on the top, and it will allow the recruiters to know at a glance how to progress through your career.
2. Functional format
This format works best when you have gaps in your work experience or are a fresh graduate. You categorize your experience based on the skills required for the desired job. There is no need to mention the dates or tenure of your previous experience.
3. Combination format
This format works best if you apply for an executive or managerial position. It gives you the flexibility of mentioning your previous experience in a way that emphasizes your strengths. You can write the skills you acquired during the earlier jobs after listing the professional experiences.
How to write a well-structured work experience resume.
These are some of the critical points you need to mention in your experience section to give the whole picture to your potential employer.
Include only the information that is relevant to the position you are applying for or show the skills required in the job description
Names of the companies you previously worked for
Location and employment dates
Your accomplishments and skills acquired during the job.
Promotions (if any)
Awards and other appreciations (if any)
Examples of writing well-structured work experience in a resume
When you have plenty of experience and there are no gaps, you can follow the resume example given below
HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGER, 08/2016 - Present
Power Corp, Calumet City, IL
Directed and controlled various benefit programs, including 401K, medical, dental, and vision packages
Monitored and handled all employee claims, including harassment incidents.
Streamlined HR efficiencies. Training of new hires with coordinated orientation.
HUMAN RESOURCE ASSISTANT, 08/2013- 07/2016
Literal Inc., Calumet City, IL
Delivered friendly assistance to new hires throughout the recruitment process.
Performed various administrative functions, including filing, paperwork, bookkeeping, and sending emails
If you have gaps in your experience or no experience because you have just graduated from college or high school, you can follow these examples.
Freelancing and Volunteering, San Francisco, CA
Assisted the local community in promoting a series of garage sales by developing marketing material, designing posters, marketing on social media
Wrote promotional texts and emails to the community members and wrote content for local websites to review different products.
Organized different games and events for a group of 20 school children.
If you have gaps in your experience, you may structure it as follows.
Business Development Associate (June 2020- Present)
Khan Associates, Los Angeles, CA
Transitioning out of a one-year voluntary career break to have a child.
Completed five freelance projects for the former employer
Achieved certification in x, y, z online courses
If you were laid off or terminated, you could mention it in your experience section, such as below. If you think this will not seem reasonable on your resume, you can explain why you were laid off in your cover letter. Focus on your accomplishments to shine so that your resume opens the doors for you. You have a chance to explain the termination during your interview.
SENIOR SALES ASSOCIATE, May 2017 - March 2020
IKEA, San Francisco, CA
Applied security and loss prevention training towards recognizing risk and reducing store theft before COVID 19 related layoff
Trained and developed sales team associates in products, selling techniques, and procedures.
Maintained and organized presentable merchandise to drive continuous sales.
Implemented up-selling strategies.
SALES ASSOCIATE, August 2015 - March 2017
Target, San Francisco, CA
Organized racks and shelves to support store visual appeal, engage customers and promote the merchandise
Evaluated inventory and delivery needs, optimizing strategies to meet the needs of customers
Analyzed and processed returns and assisted customers in finding alternatives.