Listing Work Experience on CV: A How to Guide

Listing Work Experience on CV: A How to Guide

Your work experience section is usually the most important part of your CV. Unless you’re applying for an entry-level job, your employment history is likely to be the section that reveals the most about your skills and achievements to employers. As such, it’s critical that your work experience section makes the biggest possible impact. In this article, we discuss how to write a CV work experience section that impresses employers for any job vacancy.

Why is a work experience section important on a CV?

Your performance in previous jobs tends to be the greatest indicator of your future performance. If employers want to know what you’ll bring to a role if they hire you, they’ll look first at what you’ve done in your current job and any other roles. What you include in this section will signal whether you have the skills and experience necessary for the job.

Your whole CV represents an opportunity for you to promote your skills, experience and achievements. However, it’s the way you’ve used those skills, and the milestones you’ve reached, that showcase your credentials in the most tangible way. If two candidates list the same skills on their CV, but one has used that skill in their job, while the other lists it as a hobby, the employer will likely pick the one with work experience every time.

Alongside showcasing your skills and achievements, your work experience section gives you a chance to show how you’ve put professional qualifications to use. Again, in a contest between two people with equal qualifications, it’s the one who’s used their qualifications in the workplace that recruiters and employers will favour. Your work experience gives employers an impression of the course of your career, and real examples of how you’ve put your abilities and qualifications to use.

How to write the work experience section?

While your work experience section is the most important part of your CV, it’s essential to only include the details most relevant to the job description. As you become more experienced, you may decide to leave certain jobs from early in your career off your CV, or mention them briefly, to avoid CV gaps. The details more likely to impact are your most recent roles, and any relevant skills and responsibilities from these. Use bullet points for clarity and conciseness.

Take a look at some more advice for writing your employment CV section below:

Where to add the work experience section on your CV

Where you add your work experience section on your CV depends on the amount of relevant experience you have. If you have plenty of relevant work experience, you’ll want to position this section in a prominent position for the greatest impact. In a traditional CV layout, the work experience section usually goes just below your contact details and personal statement.

If you don’t have much relevant experience or you feel your skills, qualifications and achievements from other experiences are more relevant than your experience, you could opt for a skill-based or functional format. This places your work experience below your education and skills sections. This layout can be useful for entry-level roles that don’t need much real-world work experience.

Layout and Formatting of employment history

Wherever you choose to place your work experience section, it should follow the same format. For every relevant job you’re adding to your CV, mention your job title, the name of your employer, its location and the dates you worked there.

Under these details, add several bullet points explaining your key responsibilities and achievements in the role. You might want to add more bullet points for your most recent roles, than for previous ones. For each bullet point, refer to the job description and mention experiences that match the requirements for the role. Use strong action verbs to emphasise your impact.

Use reverse chronological format

The most common order to include your work experience is reverse-chronological. This means starting with your current or most recent role, and working back from there. Your most recent employment is likely to be the most relevant to the role you’re applying for. Make that the most prominent and detailed content in your work experience section.

Pay attention to language and tone

Make sure your language and tone is professional throughout and use plain English, avoiding jargon and clichés. Be as concise and brief as possible, and ensure every point you make is relevant to the job description and helps to show how you can do the job. Strike a balance between formal and informal language, depending on the job you’re applying for.

Expert tip:

Be as economical as possible when describing your work experience and achievements. Use action verbs and highlight your achievements in as few words as possible. It might take a few drafts to edit it down, but distilling your bullet points to only the most essential information can help you make a greater impact, and show the employer you understand the job description.

5 Tips for your CV’s work experience section

These top five tips can help you write a CV work experience section that makes a strong impression with employers:

  • Highlight your achievements, not your duties: in your bullet points, focus on achievements over duties. Rather than describing your day-to-day responsibilities, mention any successes, improvements or increases that your actions led to.
  • Tailor each entry to the job you are applying to: tailor each entry in your work experience section to show you’ve got the skills and experience necessary for the job. Make sure each bullet point highlights a skill or experience mentioned in the job description.
  • Use action verbs: action verbs can increase the power of each bullet point in your work experience. They can help keep your bullet points concise and emphasise the impact you made. Words such as ‘managed’, ‘coordinated’, ‘designed’, ‘developed’, ‘established’ and ‘delivered’ can make a difference to the effectiveness of your CV.
  • Use a professional layout: your CV design can have a strong impact on your chances of success. Choose a design with a clear structure, that makes your work experience stand out.
  • Start with the most recent/current job experience: present your work experience section in reverse-chronological order, starting with your current or most recent role. This will put your most recent and relevant experiences in the most prominent position.
“Be as concise and brief as possible, and ensure every point you make is relevant to the job description and helps to show how you can do the job.”

Examples of a Work Experience section on CV

Here are some example CV work experience sections, that you can use as inspiration when writing your own:

Business Development Manager work experience section

Business Development Manager, Ellipsis Marketing Ltd, Birmingham, December 2019 – March 2023

  • Managed a team of four experienced salespeople, delivering £3m revenue through repeat business and ad-hoc marketing services in the leisure and tourism sector
  • Developed proposals and fronted pitch teams for multi-million pound marketing campaigns, resulting in a proposal success rate of 40%
  • Maintained client relationships and liaised between clients and colleagues to ensure the smooth delivery of projects
  • Improved efficiencies by introducing CRM system to manage client contact, pipeline and project initiation

Accountant work experience section

Accountant, Hadfield Accounting Services, Tiverton, April 2016 – Present

  • Managing accounts for a £2m portfolio of small businesses, offering full-service support and maintaining regular contact with business directors
  • Producing monthly financial statements and presenting them to senior figures
  • Delivering audits of clients’ financial records to ensure regulatory compliance, and drawing up proposals to improve practices when issues are identified
  • Introducing accounting software across the team, to increase company efficiencies, resulting in a 23% uplift in productivity

Social worker work experience section

Social Worker, Wandsworth Borough Council, September 2016 – Present

  • Designing interventions to reduce drug and alcohol dependency across the borough, with a focus on improving outcomes for young offenders and NEET young people
  • Partnering with stakeholders in the local health and community sectors to identify at risk groups and individuals
  • Developing funding proposals to lever funds from central and local government and the charity sector, securing £650,000 across a two-year period
  • Delivering projects to addicts and at-risk young people and reporting on outcomes, with a £2.6 million social return on investment

Key Takeaways for an Impactful CV Work Experience Section

For most job applications, your work experience section is critical, as it’s the section readers will naturally be drawn to. Be concise and only mention skills, responsibilities and achievements that are relevant to the job description. The presentation of your CV can either help or hinder your chances. A professional-looking CV with a clear layout can draw the eye of the reader to your work experience. CVwizard has a range of CV templates, as well as useful CV articles, to help you create a winning CV in a few simple steps. Sign up today to get started.

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