Wednesday, 22 November 2017 | Login

resumeThe experience or career history section of your resume is a vital ingredient in being selected for an interview. Recruiters and employers are not only looking for experience in specific roles but also what you were able to achieve while in those roles.

There are two aspects to describing your career experience in a resume; a description of the responsibilities that shows the scope and level of authority of the role you held and your key achievements while you were in the role. These two parts are not equal.

Role responsibilities

There are very few unique roles, so most require very little description. An accounts payable team leader for example does not need to describe what accounts payable is. A single paragraph describing the number of team members, volume of processing and size of budget accountability is enough to explain the role.

Key achievements

This is where your effort needs to be placed when illustrating your experience. For every achievement you need to think about the benefit that was delivered to the business and be specific about what that was. For example a statement that you improved the accounts payable process by converting 80 per cent of suppliers to electronic funds transfer is specific but it does not highlight the benefit.

Instead start with the benefit to the business. “Reduced costs by $50,000 by converting 80 per cent of suppliers to electronic funds transfer,” grabs the reader's attention in a way the earlier description does not. It shows the value you can bring in tangible terms that a prospective employer can relate to.

While an employer can work out for themselves approximately what value your achievements would have provided it is more powerful to identify and state the value of the benefit yourself.

Relevance

You do not need to describe every job you have ever had. Limit the description and achievements to your last three roles or 5 years experience, anything prior to that is too old to be of much relevance.

These earlier positions should not be left out entirely. You need to show a complete picture of your employment history but you do not need to describe them in detail. List the title of the role, the name of your employer and the dates you were employed in the role.

Target your employment history to highlight the benefits you have delivered to previous employers and your resume will stand out from the crowd of other resumes clamoring for attention.

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