When applying for a job, it's essential to update your resume in order to fit the new position. However, fixing an old resume can be daunting because you should note down what experience you have in the past. This often needs a day of deep thinking into what you can bring to the paper while also attracting new employers to process your application.
That's why many find it a challenge and often struggle to put their experiences into words. After all, how you word your experiences will determine if hiring managers find your qualifications meet their requirements. This also applies to video resumes, as you still need to craft your wording to attract hiring managers. If you make a video, make sure to use a text animation app to highlight your experiences.
You can word a simple task of "archiving a business document" into "managed and organised company records for efficiency." The former sounds like a job description, while the latter is an actual accomplishment. This makes a huge difference, right?
If you're not sure how to word your experiences, don't worry. This guide will tell you how to describe your work experience on a resume so that potential employers can see what value you bring to their company.
How to Describe Your Work Experiences on a Resume
When writing about your work experience, implement a few tips that appeal to new employers. You shouldn't use complicated sentences as these won't appeal to hiring managers because it gives a sense that you don't really understand what you do at work.
Instead, use these five tips when describing your work experiences.
1. Use active sentences
Incorporating active sentences in your resume is crucial because it shows that you're taking charge of your responsibilities. For example, if you're in customer service, you can use phrases like "assisted customers with inquiries" or "addressed complaints in a timely manner." That way, hiring managers will find a specific skill for the job.
Action words also make it easier for employers to imagine what you did in your previous roles. This is especially important if you're applying for a job different from your current position.
2. Be specific about what you did
When writing about your work experiences, always be as specific as possible. This means using numbers and data to back up your claims. For instance, instead of saying "created sales reports," you can say "created monthly sales reports that helped the company increase profits by 10%."
Being specific gives hiring managers an idea of the scope of your responsibilities and how you contributed to your previous company. Moreover, if you're specific about what you do, it implies that you have a deep understanding of your craft. And this is always a good quality to have in an employee.
3. Use strong verbs
When writing a resume, use powerful words that can immediately grab the attention of employers. That means you should use verbs that are associated with positive results. Some examples of strong verbs include "improved," "managed," " oversaw," and "developed."
Also, make sure to include numbers whenever possible, as this can help validate your claims. For instance, instead of saying "developed a new system," you can say "developed a new system that helped the company save $100,000 per year." This will explain that you're not only capable of developing new systems, but you're also good at saving the company money.
4. Highlight your achievements
When writing about your work experiences, don't just list down your responsibilities. Include your accomplishments as well. Make sure to focus on the results of your actions. This is what hiring managers are looking for when they read resumes.
For example, instead of saying "was in charge of customer service," you can say "handled customer complaints and inquiries efficiently, resulting in a decrease in customer churn by 15%."
Highlighting your achievements will give employers an idea of what you're capable of and how you can contribute to their company. When you highlight your best qualities and accomplishments, it helps you stand out from the rest of the applicants.
5. Use resume keywords
Always make sure to use keywords relevant to the job you're applying for. This is important because many employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen resumes.
An ATS software can help employers filter out unqualified candidates by scanning resumes for certain keywords. So, if your resume doesn't include the keywords that the employer is looking for, there's a chance that it will get filtered out, and you won't get the job.
To make sure that your resume gets past the ATS, research the job opening and include the keywords mentioned in the job description. This will increase your chances of getting shortlisted for an interview.
10 Ways You Can Describe Your Work Experiences on a Resume
While it depends on each role you're applying for, this list will give you an idea of what kind of sentences are strong for a job application.
Here are some examples of how to describe your work experience on a resume:
- Managed and organized company records for efficiency.
- Led a team of 5 customer service representatives.
- Developed a new system that helped the company save $100,000 per year.
- Handled customer complaints and inquiries efficiently, resulting in a decrease in customer churn by 15%.
- Was in charge of social media accounts for the company.
- Wrote monthly newsletters that were sent to subscribers.
- Helped the company increase profits by 10% through effective sales reports.
- Assisted customers with inquiries and concerns in a timely manner.
- Addressed complaints in a professional and efficient manner.
- Monitored inventory levels and restocked merchandise as needed.
You can always modify these sentences using keywords or the position you're looking for. Make sure to be creative when wording your sentences, as they imply whether or not you're capable of doing the job in the previous position.
Writing a resume is never easy, to begin with. You may need a lot of time to reflect on what you've done in the previous work. And, if you're applying for a different position, you may want to connect your past work experience to fit the role.
When explaining your past work experiences, always keep these five tips in mind. Make sure to use action words or active sentences, be specific about your responsibilities, use strong verbs, highlight your achievements, and use resume keywords.
Doing so will help you create a resume that will stand out to employers and increase your chances of getting the job. Good luck!
Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video production company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order).
LinkedIn: Andre Oentoro