One of the crucial parts of your CV is your work experience, as it shows that you have the necessary qualifications to perform the duties and responsibilities of the position you want to apply for. The work experience component of a resume is where you get to market yourself. It should follows the correct format and clearly communicate the results you achieved in your previous roles.
In this article, we will discuss the purpose of a work experience section on your CV, why it's important, how to write one and examples for you to follow.
What is a CV work experience section?
The work experience section of your CV contains useful information about your professional history, including your previous job titles, length of employment, employers, work responsibilities, accomplishments and skills. Depending on your background, you can include temporary roles, part-time jobs, full-time positions, internships or even volunteer work if you have little to no work experience.
Why is work experience on a CV important?
The work experience section of your CV is important because it gives your prospective employer a sense of the time and experience you have accumulated in a particular industry and profession. At a quick glance, an employer can decide whether you have the necessary skills and experience to succeed in their vacant position. If they think you will be a good fit for the role, the next step is to invite you for an interview.
How to write work experience in a CV
Here are the steps you need to take when writing the work experience section of your CV:
1. Include relevant and detailed information
Include specific information about your employment history:
- Your previous employers. Provide the full name of your previous employers. Begin with your most recent place of employment and only include work that is relevant to the job you're applying for. A tailored resume will make your experience appear best suited for the role.
- Location of your previous employers. Many job seekers in Hong Kong have cultivated a global mindset in their years of working in neighboring countries. If you too have extensively traveled for work, let your experience stand out on your resume and include the cities and countries of your previous employment.
- Employment dates. Use only the month and year to describe the start and end of you employment. For example, "Jan. 2020. - March. 2021." If you have short gaps in your employment history, list only the years of employment. If you have long gaps, briefly explain why.
- Job titles: Be specific about your previous job titles. For instance, instead of stating "Marketing Manager," try using "Social Media Marketing Manager."
- Responsibilities and results. Briefly describe your primary duties and the skills you demonstrated in your previous positions. Pair your responsibility with your key achievements, using figures to measure your success. For instance, you can state, "Created new inventory process, cutting quarterly supply costs by about 15%."
- Promotions: If you had more than one role at a company, show your history of promotions with them. Potential employers look for people that perform above what is expected of them, that's why listing your promotions make you a more attractive candidate.
- Recognition and awards: If you have relevant awards and recognition, you can include them in your work experience section. These achievements show you can excel in your field of work.
If you are a young graduate or changing career, you may not have a lot of relevant work experience to show on your resume. However, do not be disheartened. Internships, small jobs you held during university or volunteer work are great examples of your work ethic and determination to build a successful career.
2. Format your work experience section correctly
There are three effective ways to format the work experience section of your CV. Find out which format would communicate your body of work best:
A chronological format lists your current or most recent job at the top followed by previous ones below. This format focuses on your professional achievements and work history. If you have a consistent employment history with no significant gaps, then this is the right format for your resume.
A functional format categorizes your skills and achievements according to the requirements of the job you're applying for. This format is a suitable option for fresh graduates or job seekers looking for a career change.
A combination format emphasises your strengths. It allows you to summarise your work experience first, followed by a list of your skills and accomplishments. Consider using this format if you intend to apply for a senior management position.
Tips for writing your CV work experience
A CV typically conforms to a standard format and structure. However, you can make your work history section stand out with the following tips:
Choose a template that looks organised
Your resume is the first impression you give to an employer so make sure it is easy to read and flows logically. Stick to one format throughout your work experience section. In other words, the style you choose to list out company names, employment dates and duties should remain consistent through every entry.
You can also make information stand out with tables, underlined keywords, indented text and bold fonts. If you are using bullet points, keep it brief and relevant to the role.
Meet your prospective employer's needs
Many job applicants only list their skills and responsibilities. Go beyond what is expected of you and back up your achievements with facts and figures. Include keywords from the job advertisement that align with your work experience.
Related: 10 Best Skills to Include on a CV
Set yourself apart from other candidates
Hiring managers process dozens of resumes everyday, that's why it is important to distinguish yourself from other candidates with your unique skills, hobbies, awards and recognitions. Explain these achievements to show how they would make you the front-runner for the job.
Open and close with your strongest points
A strong introduction and conclusion with impactful keywords can increase the chances of the employer reading your work history section from start to finish.
Check for spelling and grammatical errors
An error-free CV provides a lot of insight into your professionalism, attention to detail and desire for the job. Make sure your CV has excellent grammar and spelling that is consistent with what employers are looking for. Here are a few useful tips:
- Ask a friend or family member to proofread your final draft. Getting a second opinion on your resume will help you identify mistakes and gain useful tips om how to improve.
- Use a proofreading software. Automated proofreaders not only scan your document for spelling mistakes but also checks for passive voice or awkward sentence structures.
Examples of work experience sections on CVs
Here are a few examples of well-written work experience sections for different careers:
Digital Marketing Manager
Ming Technologies Limited, Kowloon City
- Created a new format for presenting and reporting sales, customer engagement and Google Ad reports that shortened the number of meetings by about 30% during the last three quarters.
- Monitored and updated the bid strategy for Google Ads, which resulted in a Click-Through Rate (CTR) increase of 4.5% in the first three months.
- Redesigned and conducted keyword research for product pages of the online store, which increased the organic keywords in Top 100 by 5,600 and in Top 10 by 315 for high-volume searches (over 5,000 monthly clicks).
- Located and suggested new potential business partnerships by reaching out to potential partners and taking part in professional networking events which resulted in three new strategic partnerships.
February 2019-January 2021, Central Hong Kong
- Assisted in the creation of press releases and new blog posts.
- Successfully compiled and distributed financial and statistical information, such as spreadsheets for best performing games.
- Conducted primary research with users playing the most downloaded games.
Social Studies, Secondary
Northern Lamma High School, Lamma Island
- Developed lesson plans for 11th grade social studies classes.
- Incorporated reading and science skills into the curriculum for well-rounded learning.
- Established a reward system to manage behavior, resulting in a marked decrease in detentions.
- Promoted an environment conducive to learning.
- Created lesson plans responsive to individual students' needs in relation to their social studies classes.
- Directed learning to achieve student engagement with online resources.
Camp Cheung Chao, Hong Kong Western District
June 2016-September 2019
- Led activities designed to be both fun and educational for elementary-age students.
Chiang Mei Cafe, Kowloon City
- Assisting with the assembly of guest food and coffee orders.
- Maintaining order of counter, displays, tables, and washrooms.
- Accurately entering orders into a Point of Sales (POS) system and processing payments.
- Greeting guests and helping them choose beverage and food items.
Xiamen Fine Foods, Tsuen Wan City
November 2017-August 2019
- Accurately processed client transactions and maintained cash drawer.
- Assisted with maintaining grocery stock.
- Provided exceptional customer service.