Here are some basic tips for the experience section on your resume.  First and foremost, don’t lie.  Employers may not be able to dig into your past too much by calling your past employers but we can almost always get your dates of employment and what position you held there.

We’re out of the 1900s so keep it clean

You can use fonts and effects (bold, ALL CAPS, underline, italics, etc…) to draw attention to things but don’t let it take away from a clean looking resume.  Let Comic Sans die already.

What you did is more important than where you did it

I advise people to highlight their position more than the company where they worked.  Take a look at these two examples

Enterprise Holdings Inc.
Management Trainee

Management Trainee
Enterprise Holdings Inc.

For most recruiters and hiring managers they are first interested in what you did in your last positions THEN where you did it.  Put the more important of the two first and bring attention to it through formatting.

Employment dates matter

How you write your dates of employment matter.  Here is how a recruiter/hiring manager interprets different styles:

  • ’12 – ’13: You are trying to hide something… what and why?
  • 2012 – 2013: OK, maybe you worked from December 31st 2012 to January 1st 2013.
  • 2/1/2012 – 3/15/2013:  High attention to detail… maybe too high unless you are applying to be an actuarial or for a government job.
  • 2/2012 – 3/2013: You were there for a year and a month, simple enough.

A brief description may help

You do not want to write a dissertation under each job but a brief description may help.  I recruit a lot of sales people and I want to know what you have sold in the past.  Save me the time of having to look up what industry your company is in and what they do.  But keep it brief.

Bullet your KSAs under each position

I did my reading comprehension in school and I didn’t like it then.  Please do not write a narrative about what you did in each position.  Which do you think is easier to read in 5-10 seconds?

  • Exceeded sales goals by an average of 20% – 30%
  • Hunter mentality with cold calling experience
  • 82% retention rate year over year

As a sales executive I exceeded my sales goals by an average of 20% to 30%.  I have a hunter mentality and I enjoy the challenge of cold calling by phone, email and in person.  Retention of existing customers is also a focus of mine resulting in an 82% retention rate

What to leave OFF you resume

I do NOT need to know how old you are, if you are married, have kids or any other personal information.  Also, leave your picture on LinkedIn but these days it is generally not put on resumes.  If we want references we will ask you for them.

Since we cannot change reality, let us change the eyes which see reality.
Nikos Kazantzakis