BY BRETT CLAWSON
Your resume is the hiring manger’s one-page glimpse at who you are as an employee. Like the summary on the back of a book, it is your career synopsis; and you hope to make it interesting enough to buy. Many, though, misfire when it comes to deciding what to and not to highlight on their resume. Sure it is helpful to show off your great education and big name references, but what about your experience? Many job searchers underestimate the power of a well-planned experience section. It is more than a matter-of-fact list of places you’ve worked. It is your chance to show off not only your impressive job history but your skills and value as an employee in each position. With this in mind, here are a few tips to help you compile the perfect experience section for your resume.
Experience Is Your Career Snapshot
The experience section of your resume is meant to be an overview of your employment history and career growth. This, though is not your entire job history. Keep the positions you list relevant to the position for which you are currently applying and your career path as a whole. For example, if you have been working in sales for five years and are applying for a new sales position, it would not be helpful to include your high school babysitting gig from ten years ago. Your job title is not the only factor to consider when judging relevance. Think about the skills you developed and perfected on your past jobs. If a previous position helped you learn skills that are valuable to your desired position, you may want to include it.
Make A Gap Year Count
Gap years -taking about a year away from school or the workforce- are not just for college students. Many consider taking a gap year from their careers but are worried about getting a job when ready to return. If you want to or have taken a gap year, it does not have to result in a gaping hole in your resume. There are of course various gap year pros and cons, but if you use your free time wisely, it can enhance your experience and your resume. Some use their gap years to travel, volunteer or do internships. These experiences can offer valuable life and work experience that can beef up your resume and make you a more well-rounded candidate. Some start websites or develop philanthropic initiatives that allow them to have a tangible reference to their relevant experience while away.
Keep Your Overall Resume Short and Sweet
It is commonly accepted that your resume should only be about one page long. Too much longer and it can make it difficult for a hiring manager to sort through. This may sometimes mean reorganizing your current resume to allow room for more relevant experience. When shortening and re-categorizing look for outdated items you can remove such as your GPA from the education section. You’d be surprised how much space you can find for experiencewhen you strip the rest of your resume to its bare bones.
Find Standout Wording
Remember that your resume is likely not the only one the hiring manager must look at, so take the time to word your experience in an eye-catching way. This should be achieved using effective action words that show your value. Avoid words and phrases that can sound corny or inauthentic like “synergy,” “goal-oriented,” and “team player.” Consider explaining your experience using words that are appealing and clearly state your valuable skills. Here is alist of dos and don’ts to help you get started.
Crafting your resume takes time and effort. Your experience section can make all the difference if you take the time to write it well.
Byline: Brett Clawson is a writer and entrepreneur with a degree in Business Management. He enjoys researching emerging business trends and sharing their impact on business and the industry as a whole. He believes that the best way to influence others and share his knowledge with the world is through his writing.