4 expert tips to effectively present work experience on a CV

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Let’s face it, showcasing your professional experience on a resume can feel like trying to play a symphony on a kazoo. You’ve got a wealth of achievements and skills under your belt, but translating them into words on paper? That’s a challenge that would make even Shakespeare scratch his quill in perplexity. 

But don’t worry, it’s not as daunting as it seems. And you’re certainly not alone in this. Nearly every professional has grappled with the puzzle of articulating their expertise in a resume. The trick is to approach it with a bit of strategy. 

There’s no magic formula for a perfect resume, but there’s certainly a recipe for an effective one. Remember, your resume is your personal marketing tool. It’s the elevator pitch of your career. And just like a good pitch, it needs to be concise, compelling and catered to your audience (recruiters). 

So, roll up your sleeves, take a deep breath, and let’s dive into the four steps to effectively present your work experience on a resume: 

1. Embrace neatness and organisation

Preparation is key to writing an effective job experience section. Start by collecting the basic information you’ll need to list for each job, including: Job title, company name, company location, mode (remote, on-site or hybrid), and dates of employment

Structure your resume neatly. Each element in your resume should be specified and meticulously formatted. Remember, the devil is in the detail, and a well-crafted, neat resume speaks volumes about your attention to detail. And no, you don’t need to be a graphic designer to do this. 

Use the power of design. Design isn’t just about making things look pretty. It’s about creating a visual hierarchy that guides the reader’s eye to the most important information. So, use design to make your resume not only more professional, but also more captivating. 

“Design can make the difference between a resume that ends up in the bin, and one that gets you the job.”

You’re not alone in this, embrace resume creation tools. There are plenty of online tools that can make the task of designing your resume easier. Here are a few you might find useful: 

  1. Canva
  2. Resume.io
  3. Resume Genius
  4. EnhanCV

Now, here’s a smorgasbord of options just for you. Go ahead, peruse them and pick out the one that really tickles your fancy. Consider their designs, functions and, of course, your budget. Remember, like any good shopping expedition, it’s all about feeling good about your choice.

2. Show the work experience chronologically 

Spice up your resume by beginning with your most recent work experience and progressing backwards chronologically. Why? Because it’s not a hot take to say employers are more interested in your recent exploits than your first paper round! So, they ought to see your current or most recent role first, before they get to your education and qualifications. 

However, like a well-made sandwich, the perfect resume layout depends on the ingredients. If you can stylishly squeeze your education details onto the side (just like a dollop of tangy mustard), then go for it! But remember, the overall resume design you chose in the previous step will be your guide here. 

Pro tip: Keep the reader engaged by presenting the most relevant information first. If your latest experience is the juiciest bit, let them bite into that first!

Without a doubt, you might have a past job that’s a perfect match for the role you’re currently pursuing. But what if it isn’t your most recent role? You might be sweating bullets, worried it’ll get overlooked by the recruiter.

Imagine this – your first job was as a customer service representative, but your most recent role is in sales. Now, you’re tossing your hat in the ring for a customer service manager position. Your customer service experience could really shine in this new role, but you’re stuck in the paradox of maintaining the chronological order we discussed earlier. Here’s a cheeky workaround: highlight that crucial experience in your cover letter. (We’ll dive into the mystical realm of cover letters later).

3. Transform everyday job duties into remarkable achievements

Let’s talk about painting your work experience in the best light on your resume. One golden nugget of advice? Make yourself sound more like an “achiever” rather than a simple “doer”. You see, if your resume merely lists the tasks you performed, you could be seen as someone who’s good at following orders, and while that’s not a bad thing, we’re aiming for something with a bit more sparkle. We’re going for the gold, my friend! So, let’s look at some phrases that could help you strike that achiever’s tone.

For business goals achievements:

  • “Improved team productivity by 20% by implementing efficient workflow practices”
  • “Generated €10,000 in additional revenue by developing a new marketing strategy”
  • “Reduced costs by 15% through effective budget management”
  • “Increased customer satisfaction rates by 30% through improved customer service techniques”

For leadership achievements:

  • “Spearheaded a project that led to a 25% increase in annual revenue”
  • “Initiated and led a cross-functional team, resulting in improved inter-department communication”
  • “Pioneered a new customer service approach which resulted in a 20% increase in customer retention”

For skills-validation achievements:

  • “Resolved a long-standing issue, resulting in a 10% increase in sales”
  • “Troubleshot and fixed a recurring problem, reducing downtime by 50%”
  • “Devised a strategy that effectively handled an increase in workload without compromising quality”
  • “Quickly adapted to a new software system, resulting in a 15% increase in work efficiency”
  • “Developed expertise in a new area, which led to a 10% increase in customer satisfaction”

4. Brandish achievements with metrics and numbers

Ever spotted a few digits in the previous text? Those, my friend, are essential indicators of your achievements. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s kind of like a game of Where’s Wally? – I understand that it can be a tough nut to crack. Occasionally, companies we’ve worked with may not have clear KPI management when it comes to people’s triumphs. This calls for some serious noggin’ use. 

Grab a cup of tea, sit down and reflect. Dig deep to unearth the numbers entwined with your role. They’re not expected to be pin-point accurate, a ballpark figure does the trick too. As they say – “It’s not about perfection, it’s about effort.” So, let’s get those cogs turning.

Numbers are the life and soul of a CV. You see, without them, claiming an achievement is as vague as saying you’ve climbed Mount Everest without a photo at the peak. We know it’s the “toughest nut to crack” during the resume creation process, but, trust me, it’s absolutely worth it to make you shine in the sea of applicants. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, proving these metrics can be as tricky as a game of Twister. Internal company numbers, for instance, are as elusive as a chameleon in a bag of Skittles. But listen closely, whatever you do, don’t even think about fibbing. Recruiters have a sixth sense when candidates are bluffing or genuinely know their stuff. So, keep it honest.

Here you can find a complete guide to portray quantifiable achievements with examples and insightful tips:

From Tasks to Triumphs: A Guide to Quantifying Resume Achievements

So, these are 4 expert tips to dramatically enhance your CV and get you to the interview stage. We hope they prove useful in your situation and remember, you can always contact us if you need any advice. Good luck with your job hunt, and don’t forget to follow us for more content like this or visit our insights section.

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