How to outline work experience in a resumé (with examples)

How to outline work experience in a resumé (with examples)
SEEK content teamupdated on 30 April, 2024

You’ve got the job experience to back up your suitability for a role – but what’s the best way to add it to your resumé? To stand out against other qualified applicants, it’s important that your work experience section highlights your strongest points. 

In this article, we explore how you can effectively display your professional journey, highlighting past positions, key responsibilities and relevant achievements. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting out, wording your resumé experience correctly can make all the difference in landing your next role.

Why is work experience in a resumé so important?

A well-written work experience section can be one of the most important elements of your resumé. It gives the hiring manager a quick look into your employment history, including previous employers, dates of employment, skills and responsibilities.

Detailing your work experience is important as it demonstrates how you use your qualifications, skills and level of experience handling various tasks. It can also help showcase your work ethic and commitment, and highlight your career progression. 

How to include work experience in a resumé

The work experience section should be the main focus of your resumé. Here are some quick steps on how to write experience in a resumé. 

Step 1. Identify your resumé format

The right resumé format depends on the job and what’s normal practice in your industry, so it’s worth taking time to decide which one best suits this application. Having a consistent format ensures your resumé looks professional and presents your information clearly,  while showcasing your attention to detail and organisation skills. 

The 3 most commonly used resumé formats for your work experience section are:

1. Reverse chronological format 

This is the most commonly used format, where you list your jobs in reverse date order. Start with your most recent job first, then the job before that second, and so on. It’s a great option if you’ve got at least a few years of job history in a related field.

2. Functional format

This format focuses on what you do rather than where you’ve worked. Your skills and abilities are grouped into categories (rather than spread out across different jobs) with quantitative examples of how you demonstrated these qualities in previous roles. The categories can be tailored to the role you’re applying for by using the keywords and skills listed in the job description. 

For example, categories could include:

  • Complaint-resolution skills
  • Management skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Sales skills

A skills-based resumé is a good format to consider if you have gaps in your work history, are changing careers, or have limited work experience. 

3. Combination format

A hybrid of chronological and functional formats, the combination format highlights both work history and relevant skills. Start with a summary of your most relevant skills first, before listing your work history. This format is useful for those who want to emphasise specific skills, while also showing a steady work history. 

Choose the format that best highlights your skills and experience for the job you’re applying for.

Step 2. Discuss achievements instead of responsibilities

To give insight into what makes you the best choice for an employer, highlight your achievements that had a positive impact on the business. This lets an employer know how well you performed your job, not just the mechanics of the role itself. When giving examples of your accomplishments, make sure to use action verbs and quantifiable achievements (backed by numbers) whenever possible.

Here are some examples of responsibility-based vs achievement-based sentences, so you can see the difference:

  • Responsibility based: sales of travel products
  • Achievement based: increased sales revenue by 20% in the first quarter
  • Responsibility based: managed customer enquiries and resolved issues in a timely manner
  • Achievement based: increased customer satisfaction by 20% through efficient issue resolution
  • Responsibility based: developed marketing campaigns for new product launches
  • Achievement based: lead marketing strategy, resulting in a 30% increase in product awareness year on year

Tip: Don’t list every job duty you’ve had. Stick to transferable skills relevant to the role you want, and use bullet points to keep your resumé clear and concise.

Step 3. List relevant job titles 

When putting together an employment history, it’s common practice to start with the most recent position, following a reverse-chronological order. This puts your most recent experience upfront, while allowing your resumé to be easily read by ATS software used by hiring managers. 

You should also include:

  • Specific job titles (especially ones relevant to the role you’re applying for)
  • Company names
  • Company locations (city and state)
  • Dates of employment for each position

An example of this might look like:

01/2018–11/2023    Manager at ABC Company, Melbourne, VIC

Always use the full name of each organisation, be as specific as you can regarding job title, and use the MM/YYYY format so the dates can be easily read by an ATS.

Step 4. Begin each bullet point with an action verb

Your accomplishments speak volumes about your work ethic, commitment and abilities. Make your accomplishments impactful by starting each bullet point with an action word. Use words like:

  • Developed
  • Implemented
  • Managed
  • Increased
  • Streamlined

Avoid industry jargon and overly complex terminology.

Instead of: Responsible for workplace safety 
Say: Implemented comprehensive safety protocols, reducing workplace incidents by 20%. 

The latter sounds more active and engaging, highlighting the impact you had on your company.

Step 5. Highlight quantifiable achievements 

Your resumé speaks on your behalf, so you want it to be as persuasive as possible. Using quantifiable achievements helps prove your successes by adding measurable results like numbers, percentages or other metrics. It’s a great way to clearly demonstrate your ability to deliver above and beyond the KPIs set. 

Instead of: Video production and editing 
Say: Produced 25 x 2-minute videos per week

Here are more quantifiable achievements examples:

  • Increased social media following by 30% by creating more engaging content.
  • Decreased production costs by 15% by implementing new efficiency measures.
  • Boosted sales revenue by 25% through a targeted marketing campaign.

Step 6. Tailor your bullet points to the job you want

Before submitting your resumé, read through the job description and make note of the specific skills and work experiences that are mentioned. With this in mind, tailor your work experience descriptions to highlight these same key skills and qualities, while choosing workplace achievements that demonstrate your ability to put these skills into action.

How to format your resumé work experience section

Here are some tips on how to format your work experience on your resumé.

1. Create a dedicated section for your professional experience

Create a clear section entitled Work Experience or Professional Experience underneath the Resumé Summary part of your resumé. This makes it easy for the hiring manager to quickly see where you’ve worked. You can also add a section called Additional Experience or Volunteer Experience if you have relevant knowledge or transferable skills from outside the workplace that you want to highlight.

2. List your most recent work experience first

While there are different ways you can format your resumé, most ATS and employers tend to prefer reverse chronological order. So list your most recent experience first, followed by your previous positions in descending order. This allows hiring managers to quickly see your most relevant and up-to-date experience.

3. Consistent formatting and clear concise points 

Maintain consistent formatting throughout your work experience section. This makes it easier for the hiring manager to read, while also making your resumé visually appealing. Use the same professional font, font size, spacing and bullet point style for each entry, and ensure your bullet points are clear and concise.

Resumé work experience examples

If you don’t know where to start, it can help to see how others in your line of work put together their work experience. To give you a head start, below are work experience resumé examples for a variety of different work backgrounds. Use this as a base to form your own work experience section in your resumé. 

Example resumé work experience for fresh graduates with no experience

As a graduate, you may not have any relevant work experience yet. If you’re applying for your first job, you can include things like volunteer roles or extracurricular roles you had at school. Below is an example of how you can list these roles on your resumé.

02/2023–present    Intern at The Bridge Company, Sydney, NSW

  • Organising events and meetings as assistant to the PR manager.
  • Analysing e-commerce data in the developer team.

07/2020–12/2022     Volunteer at Helping Hands Charity, Sydney, NSW

  • Managed social media accounts, boosting engagement by 20% on 6 months.
  • Organised fundraising events as assistant to team leader

Example resumé work experience for a mid-career switch 

If you’re making a career change from one industry to another, it’s important to focus on showing transferable skills. You can also highlight the parts of your previous experience that are relevant to the new role. For example moving from a career in sales to a role in human resources.

06/2021–present     Account Executive at Salesby Ltd, Adelaide, SA

  • Develop marketing campaigns and promotions with ad sales team
  • Negotiate client contracts to consistently meet revenue targets

08/2017–03/2021     Business Development at Sei, Hobart, TAS

  • Develop proposals and presentations to pitch products and services to potential clients.
  • Identify new business opportunities and partnerships, expanding the client base by 40%.

Example resumé work experience for professionals

If you’ve been working in your industry for awhile, you may have multiple relevant roles to add to your work experience section. Make sure you avoid adding too many previous roles, instead stick to the most relevant. 

02/2022–present     Marketing Manager, Biotech, Perth, WA

  • Develop and execute marketing campaigns to increase customer engagement by 25%.
  • Collaborate with cross-functional teams to launch new products, driving a 15% increase in sales.

06/2019–02/2022      Communications Specialist, Treehill, Perth, WA

  • Managed internal communications, improving employee engagement by 20%.
  • Strategised content for the company website and newsletters, increased website traffic by 40%.

Example resumé work experience for managers 

Leadership and management roles will often require some level of management experience. It’s important to highlight your experience in similar roles, or skills that may be transferable from other roles. 

05/2023–present     Hotel Manager at Brydges Hotel, Cairns, QLD

  • Manage hotel budget and expenses, achieving a 15% cost reduction.
  • Implement training programs for staff, resulting in improved customer satisfaction scores by 20%.

08/2019–04/2023     Assistant Manager at Oaks Inn, Cairns, QLD

  • Co-managed day-to-day hotel operations, including guest check-in/check-out and room reservations.
  • Resolved guest complaints in a timely and professional manner.

Showcasing your work experience in your resumé is more than simply listing previous job titles. It’s highlighting your achievements, skills and career progression, relevant to the job you’re going for. Make a strong impression by using action verbs and including any quantifiable achievements, and choose a format that best highlights your skills and experience, keeping it consistent throughout. With the above in mind, you can create a work experience resumé that stands out and gets you to the next step in the hiring process.  


Can I just put years on my resumé?

Yes, you can just put years on your resumé. However, it’s best to also include the months, preferably in MM/YYYY format. This provides a clearer picture of your work history for the hiring manager, and matches the format that ATS software is programmed to read.

How long should a resumé be for a job?

Your resumé should be one page, or two pages at most, if you have a lot of relevant experience. If your resumé is in multi-page territory, consider whether you have gone for quantity over quality. Check if you’ve been clear and concise, removing experience not relevant to the role, and consider limiting quantified achievements to two to three bullet points per job or skill category.

What jobs should you put on a resumé?

Include relevant jobs and experience that showcase the skills and qualifications required for the position you’re applying for. Focus on roles that demonstrate your ability to perform the job you're wanting to get.

What order should work experience be listed on a resumé?

List your work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent job and working backward. This format highlights your most recent and relevant experience first and is the most commonly used. Other format types include functional and combination formats.

Can you leave jobs off your resumé?

If they’re not relevant to the position you’re applying for, there’s no need to include every job you’ve ever had. If you have a long work history, only include the most relevant roles. If an employer wants an explanation about any employment gaps, then they may ask you this during the interview.

How to address maternity leave on your resumé?

Maternity leave can simply be included in the date range you worked for a company. If however you were not employed during your maternity leave, then the best approach is to list this in your work experience section as ‘Parental Leave’.  

How to overcome an employment gap in your work history?

Be upfront about gaps in your employment by including these as you would a jobs in the work experience section of your resumé. There can be many reasons for gaps in your work history, such as health problems, job loss, study, caring responsibilities, or taking time off to travel. You don’t need to give an explanation, but you can include any relevant skills or experience you gained during your employment break.

How many years of work experience should be on a resume?

You should include all work experience relevant to the job you’re applying for, but focus on the most recent 10–15 years unless earlier experience is highly relevant to the position. Highlight accomplishments and skills gained throughout your career, remembering to keep it clear and concise so your resume is only a page or two long.

More from this category: Resumes

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