3 tips on how to write the work history section of your CV

The work history, career history, or work experience section of your CV takes up a huge amount of space. So it’s sensible to assume that it has to be right and has to impress the employer.

With so many job seekers getting this important section wrong, we’d like to offer some advice to help more people find success. Here are our 3 tips on how to write the work history section of your CV, and gain lots more interviews.

Tailor your duties

Rather than list all of your tasks for each of the roles, you could instead focus on two things. First, only supply tasks and responsibilities which are relevant to the new employer. This can sometimes be quite difficult, and we would suggest not taking this literally. So to clarify, look back over all your previous roles and tasks to see which ones lean towards the new role. You can then highlight these tasks to show that you already have the experience they are looking for.

Second, focus upon your most recent and relevant roles. This will leave anything that is either a long time ago or isn’t relevant at all to minimum details only. This could be a brief description of what the company does and what you did during your employment.

At the end of the day you want the employer to find as much relevant work experience as possible; otherwise what would be the point in presenting this information? Even if you have no direct experience in a particular industry, you will still often be able to find transferable skills and experience.

Plug employment gaps

One of the things the hiring manager will study is your career progression. If you have any lengthy employment gaps it could put them off hiring you. They would always prefer to see a constant career progression with no hiccups or hopping around too often.

However, if you do have a gap you should ensure an explanation is given. You should enter something on your work history that gives a brief explanation. Try to be as honest and transparent as possible, even if you were out of work for personal health reasons. You don’t have to go into the actual specifics as long as something is there to plug the gap.

You may also be able to use your time away from employment to your advantage. Taking a gap year is quite common, but what isn’t is detailing what you learned from your experience. For instance, you could explain how you learned parts of a new language and are still continuing to learn. Being a part of a new culture and meeting new people has helped you to become more confident and approachable.

Suggested: Mind the gap: don’t let missing work history damage your CV and interview

Show achievements and results

One of the biggest mistakes we often come across when reviewing applications is the lack of achievements and results. Unfortunately it isn’t enough nowadays to simply list the duties for each role, even if tailored like we suggested above.

When writing your CV you have to somehow convince the employer that you have what they need. The first part of writing a CV is to list the right skills, qualifications and experience. The second part is to show them you are good at what you do. You can do this by presenting your achievements and results.

If you work in sales you need to present sales stats, targets hit, revenue, and so on. If you work in the hospitality industry you would need to demonstrate how you are great with people. So no matter what industry you work in you should be able to show off your achievements and results. This can be with numbers and figures, graphs and charts, pictures, links to websites, or anything else you feel would demonstrate what you are capable of.

Avoid generic, over-used phrases such as ‘team player’, ‘hardworking’ and ‘multitasker’. Instead, provide real-life examples that demonstrate all of these skills.

Prospects.ac.uk

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