To craft a winning job application, it’s not enough to simply have lots of impressive job experience. You also have to know how to write about that job experience in a way that is both strategic and effective. Show off your experiences efficiently by learning how to summarize your work experience.
For each one of your previous jobs, you should include a brief caption explaining what you did in that role. Avoid just listing your titles and employers. A concise description of what you did in each job helps employers gain a sense of the skills you’ve achieved, and what you’ll be able to bring to the table as a potential new hire.
Here are a few fundamental rules to keep in mind when summarizing your work experience on an application or resume.
People tend to have a “set it and forget it” mentality when it comes to resume writing. Once it’s written, they don’t update it until they have something relevant to add or a title to change.
It’s understandable. Job hunting is hard enough without micromanaging every tiny detail. However, there is a lot to be gained by tactically adjusting and updating how you talk about your job experience to best fit the job you’re applying for.
If you know that an employer is looking for certain types of experience, highlight and – if need be – rewrite your job summaries to cater to their preferences. For example, if you know that they’re looking for someone with sales experience, and you have a job description with the word “retail” in it, change that to “retail sales” or just “sales.” This usage of a keyword will help you stand out and increase your odds of getting hired. Plus, updating your experience will help you to see if you need to summarize it more!
Word choice is crucial when summarizing your job experience for several reasons. First, you have limited space, so you have to make each word count, and when you’re faced with such a tight economy of words, you may as well make them powerful. Secondly, using strong words will elicit an emotional response from the person reading it, thus making your application stand out. A power word is essentially any word that triggers a powerful feeling. Leave them with something to remember!
Examples: Leadership, responsibility, success, passion, accomplishment, expert, etc.
It may seem counterintuitive since you’re writing about yourself, but you should never (or at least very rarely) use the word “I” on your application. For instance, instead of writing, “I oversaw the day to day operations of the sales team,” you should write, “Sales team leader.” Or, simply remove the “I.” Again, It all comes down to a smart use of words and a firm tone of voice.
Employers, particularly managerial types, like to see statistics. So, whenever possible, make sure that you include quantifiable stats in your job descriptions. Using our previous example, instead of writing, “Sales team leader,” you should write, “Leader of a 30-person salesforce managing 150,000 square feet of retail space driving $100,000 in revenue per day.”
The ideal number of bullet points beneath each entry into your “work experience” section is three. Using three bullet points is a great rule to follow when you are trying to summarize your work experience. State your job title, where you worked, and for how long. And then, write three descriptive bullet points detailing what you did at that job (following the guidelines noted above). This will make your resume more readable, and it will save precious space on your application.
How is your application process going? Check out our blog for more tips on job searching.