This post is part of Accidental Recruiter series.

When deciding whether a candidate is worth their time to test and schedule interviews, one of the major factors in the decision is candidates’ previous work experience. Today, we will see do’s and dont’s for this critical section on your resume.

Please note that I’ll be looking from a software developer standpoint, so some points may not apply if you’re working in another field. However, most stuff should be general enough.

Work experience is a list of periods you have been working professionally on things related to the company you are applying to.

Here’s what a recruiter typically expects from that section:

For every position you held, provide the following (best if you can give all these):

Dates of start - end of employment. Year and month is best. Example: Jan 2010 - Mar 2012.

Company name. If you were self-employed (freelancer), please state it as such. Example: Microsoft.

Title. Don’t bother with exact title, but it should give enough of an idea of your primary duty. Example: Senior Software Engineer. Or: Junior Quality Assurance Engineer.

A brief but clear description of your company business or the product you have been working on. Note: unless your customers and target audience are developers, “Java-based APIs” and “Platform scalability” can not be the product you’ve worked on. Good examples: Online brand guitar shop. Or: Flight hot deals search engine.

Now describe specifically your accomplishments and duties at this position. Do include any measurable/tangible business impact you’ve made. Do include skills/tech highlights related to that accoplishments. Do include 3-5 of such highlights. Do not include numbers on something not measurable. Do not include vague statements that don’t give more concrete info of what you’ve been doing. Some examples:

Optionally, include other skills/tech you have excersized/used. Just a brief list is fine. Example: MongoDB, Python, Angular.

Do not include “reasons for leaving”. This is just a lie in 99.99% cases. You’d never say on your resume that you “left” because you haven’t met performance goals or because you had a shitty boss, right?

To summarize the above, include enough to show the company that you have relevant experience and are able to bring tangible value to the business.

Want to learn more about how to increase your chances of getting through resume filters? Read more on my post series Accidental Recruiter.

Future posts will cover:


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