Saturday, June 11, 2011

Presenting work history in the resume
Showcase your work experience in the best light by choosing the right format, the right amount of information and the right wording. Here are some tips.
An important part of any resume, the work history section is your chance to convince the prospective employer that you have the skills necessary for the job, held responsible positions marked with achievements in the past, and that your career has progressed over the years.

So how do you get started?

Organising the information
  • Choosing the right format – Choose a resume format that best describes your years’ of experience and what you are looking for ahead, along with handling any gaps or hops. Select between chronological, functional or combinational resume formats to quantify your career.
  • Career summary – Begin by summarising your work accomplishments and career path in few sentences at the top of the resume to provide a snapshot of your profile.
  • Listing experience – Under the experience section, mention the company names, job titles held, dates of employment, and include briefly the main functions handled by you and further provide the results or accomplishments of each.

Responsibilities v/s accomplishments
Responsibilities outline the job’s description, what you or anyone holding a particular position is in-charge of. Accomplishments, on the other hand, measure the result of your efforts towards those duties. An effective CV will list not just what you were required to do, but the value that you brought to the given function in measurable terms.

An effective way to make your job role stand out is through the use of active verbs like ‘increased sales by xyz percent’ rather than ‘was in charge of sales for the period...’; this makes the resume look more action-oriented rather than plan-oriented.

How far back should you go?
Another major consideration when preparing a resume is deciding to showcase the early years of your career and the extent of detail to be provided. If you are someone with 10 – 15 years of work history, would providing details of your first job add weight to your candidature for upcoming job openings? Here are few considerations in this regard:

  • Long stint in one job – A ten year work experience with the same company calls for a detailed description of the various responsibilities forming the core of the resume.
  • Frequent job changes – For those with numerous job changes spanning the length of the career, it is best to highlight in greater detail the recent job descriptions, while limiting the early career positions to job titles, name of company and employment dates. With the length of the resume under check, it will keep the interest of the recruiter alive too.

Customise work details according to relevancy
A recruiter is most concerned with matching the work experience listed by you with the role requirements that he/she has advertised. Thus, emphasise job positions and achievements that are specific for the role you are applying to. For example, if it is a marketing role, include information on the various marketing initiatives undertaken by you and highlights of the tenure with a company you worked for.

In all, your work experience should project you as the right candidate – the key lies in presenting your accomplishments and skills in the right format and keeping it relevant to the job applied for.

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