Let’s keep it 💯
The work experience section of your CV is the first place employers look when reviewing your CV.
When processing the many (and in some cases thousands) of applications employers receive for an open role, they often compare your past work experience to the job description to determine suitability.
The work experience section is therefore the best place to show that you’re a perfect fit for the role you’re applying for.
And similar to real life, you’ve got one shot to make a great first impression. So the way you present your work experience will greatly influence your likelihood of getting called back for an interview.
But don’t stress, here are 3 tips to stand out from the crowd and nail the work experience section of your CV.
1. Adapt and personalise your CV for each role
When it comes to your CV, one size does not fit all.
Employers want to see that you’ve tailored your CV for their role. They want to be able to quickly identify how your skills and experience match the job description they’ve advertised - and they can spot a generic CV a mile off! 🕵
The great news is personalising your CV doesn’t have to be hard. Next time you’re applying for a role just try the following:
- Read the job description carefully and draw parallels between your old roles and the one you’re applying to
- Pick out keywords and phrases from the job description and include them when describing your past experiences. If the job description ask for ‘strong attention to detail and good teamwork skills’ then make sure you’ve got those phrases in your cv
- Rejig your CV to highlight your most relevant experiences and skills. You want to make a strong impact so lead with the things most likely to catch the employer’s attention.
2. Focus on you and your strengths 💪
If you’re applying for a role that’s quite different from your past experiences then using the standard ‘work experience’ heading and listing your past roles in order of most recent to oldest may not be the most effective option.
Instead, try using the heading ‘relevant skills and experience’ and draw attention to the most relevant experiences you’ve had (both career-wise and personal). We still recommend sharing the rest of your work history with dates but that can be saved for a section further down your CV. Remember, the aim is to show employers that you’re the perfect fit for the role.
This approach also works well if you’ve got gaps in your work experience or if you’re a recent graduate with limited experience.
3. Brag about your accomplishments
Let’s face it. Many of us write our CVs like job descriptions. We list the duties we performed and the responsibilities we had. But we fail to highlight the results we achieved and the impact we had.
Avoid falling into this trap by making your achievements a key feature in your work experience. If you had measurable targets which you regularly achieved, mention them. If managed or trained teams, state how big the team was. And if you implemented processes and policies, mention the impact they had. For example:
- Since joining ABC Company as a Sales Development Representative, I regularly hit the quarterly sales quota, surpassing it on average by 114%
- Managed and coached a team of 12 customer service assistants, overseeing a reduction in average case handling times by 20% and an increase in the number of cases resolved during first contact
- Since taking over the client billing function, over 90% of long overdue invoices have been recovered, some of which had been overdue for more than a year
Want some inspiration to help you write the perfect cv? Check out our CV examples