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CV Work Experience Section: Organizing, Tailoring, Examples To Use

CV Work Experience Section: Organizing, Tailoring, Examples To Use

Getting the work experience section wrong can seriously hurt your chances of securing a job since it’s an employer's first impression of your qualifications and suitability. But as always, we’re here to show you the secrets to writing a spectacular CV.

Have you ever wondered how important the work experience section on your CV is? Recruiters spend about 7 seconds reviewing each CV they receive, and it's one of the first things they judge you on – so it’s important!

Your work experience tells potential employers about your professional background, skills, and accomplishments. It also lets you showcase your qualifications and suitability for a specific job.

Getting this section wrong can seriously hurt your chances of securing a job since it’s an employer's first impression of your qualifications and suitability. But as always, we’re here to show you the secrets to writing a spectacular CV.

In this guide, we’ll cover:

  • Precisely what the work experience section is and why you need one.
  • How a strong one can boost your chances of finding work.
  • Which info to include to impress a potential employer and what to avoid.
  • We’re also including a few bonus examples to help you get started.
  • Plus we answer our Top 10 FAQs on CV work experience sections!

What is the work experience section, and why do you need one?

A work experience section is a dedicated segment of your CV where you provide details about your past employment history. It typically includes information about your previous jobs, like:

  • Job titles
  • Company names
  • Employment dates
  • Responsibilities
  • and Achievements.

Of all the sections in your CV, it may be the most critical one. Employers look to this section to understand who you are professionally, what you've accomplished, and how you can contribute to their organization.

Your work experience is the evidence of your expertise, and it's often the primary factor in their decision to consider you for a job. A well-crafted work experience section can:

  • Showcase your expertise: It's the platform to highlight your achievements and skills.
  • Build credibility: It demonstrates your track record, proving you're a capable professional.
  • Match job requirements: Tailoring this section for each application shows how you’re an ideal fit for a particular role.
  • Set you apart: A good work experience section will distinguish you from other applicants.

Organizing your work experience in a reverse chronological order

The work experience section of your CV should have a clear structure and format. Start with essential details, including job title, company name, location, and employment dates.

Then use bullet points to identify key responsibilities and achievements in your  job descriptions. This structure provides clarity and helps employers quickly grasp your professional history and skills.

Like this:

Senior Software Engineer, InnoTech Solutions

January 2018 – Present

  • Led cross-functional team in developing complex software solutions.
  • Implemented Agile methodologies, improving team productivity by 20%.
  • Designed a scalable cloud-based application, reducing infrastructure costs by 12%.
  • Updated legacy CRM system to modern platform ahead of every milestone deadline.
  • Recognized with "Innovator of the Year" award in 2019 for technological advancements.

It’s also standard to list experiences in reverse chronological order. This means going from your most recent employment at the top of the section down to the least recent.

Certain resume types, like functional resumes, group work experience differently, in which case it’s okay to shuffle the order. But with a standard chronological resume format try to keep a continuous and complete history going back to avoid the dreaded employment gap!

Job titles and companies

When listing job titles and company names in your CV's work experience section, maintain clarity and consistency. Place the job title first, followed by the company name.

Incorporating a company's location in your CV's work experience section provides valuable context, letting employers assess the markets you’ve worked in previously. For example, work experience at a marketing firm in London would be viewed differently than the local marketing company in a sleepy hamlet.

It offers insight into your adaptability, your experience in different locations, and the calibre of that experience. Also, a work history that’s rich in varied experience can be advantageous in a global job market, so let recruiters know if you have it.

It can even be worthwhile to include a short description of the company if it’s not widely recognised or if you’re switching careers. A brief sentence can highlight the industry and how your experience there aligns with the employer's needs

For example:

UX Manager, Red Desk, London, UK

January 2018 - Present

Red Desk is a leading technology consultancy firm with a global presence, specializing in innovative software solutions for businesses.

Depending on what info you include, use bold or italics sparingly to highlight the essentials. Also, use consistent formatting across your entries so recruiters can quickly find what they’re looking for to assess your fit for their company.

Employment Dates

Accurate employment dates are crucial for establishing credibility and reliability as a job applicant. Potential employers rely on these dates to verify your work history, track your career progression, and assess whether you meet the experience requirements for a position.

Inaccurate or misleading dates can break down trust and raise questions about your integrity, jeopardizing your chances of landing the job. So, accurate and truthful employment dates are essential for presenting yourself as a desirable employee.

It's also smart to consider ATS when adding the dates in your work experience section because these systems are used by employers to efficiently evaluate applications. To ensure your CV is ATS-friendly, use a standard “Month Year" format and avoid using unique date formats or abbreviations

ATS-friendly format:

June 2017 - Present

Examples to avoid

Jan '17 - Aug '19

01/17 - 09/19

2017/01 - 2019/08

Sticking to the “Month  Year” format will increase the likelihood of your CV being correctly processed by ATS, improving your chances of getting noticed by potential employers.

Key responsibilities and achievements

The core content of your work experience entries should be your job descriptions, which focus on your responsibilities and accomplishments. Avoid including your ‘duties’ since the recruiter likely already knows these, and it says nothing about whether you did them well!

When describing your responsibilities, use action verbs to convey your proactive role in each position. This creates a more engaging and dynamic description.

For example, instead of saying: "I was responsible for managing a team,"

You could use: "Managed a 6-person team."

Additionally, to make your achievements stand out, provide measurable results. Using specific numbers and outcomes helps quantify your contributions and demonstrates your value to potential employers.

For instance, this is more impactful: "Increased sales revenue by 20% in six months."

Than a vague statement like this: "Contributed to sales growth."

But don’t think numbers are the only way to illustrate your professional success Consider including any of these achievements to show employers how you’ve excelled in previous roles:

Awards and recognitions

Mention any awards, honours, or accolades you received during your time in that role. For example, if you were named "Employee of the Month" or received a "Team Player of the Year" award, include these to demonstrate your excellence.


Highlight any promotions or advancements you achieved within the company. This shows your ability to take on increased responsibilities and your value to the organization.

Successful projects

Describe specific projects you were part of or led, emphasizing the impact and outcomes. This could include completing a critical project ahead of schedule or within budget.

Innovations or process improvements

If you introduced new processes, systems, or methodologies that enhanced efficiency, quality, or cost-effectiveness, mention these to showcase your problem-solving and innovation skills.

Client testimonials or feedback

In a lot of industries it’s actually pretty rare to receive positive feedback from clients or customers. Mention or incorporate relevant comments or testimonials to illustrate your customer service or relationship-building abilities.

Skills acquisition

Highlight certifications or new skills that benefit your role if you acquired them during your tenure. This showcases your commitment to professional development.

Leadership roles

Mention any leadership roles, such as leading a team or heading a project. These demonstrate your ability to manage and inspire others.

Published work or presentations

If you published articles, reports, or gave presentations related to your role, include these to show your expertise and thought leadership in your field.

Including any of these specific achievements alongside your job responsibilities will help paint a full picture of your contributions, making your CV more compelling to potential employers.

Tailoring your work experience

Tailoring your work experience for specific job applications is essential to demonstrate your suitability for the role and increase your chances of being noticed by recruiters.

When applying for different positions, aligning your experience with the specific job requirements is crucial. Aligning them involves 2 essential steps:

First, review the job description and identify the necessary skills, qualifications, and responsibilities.

Second, adapt your work experience section to highlight relevant accomplishments and responsibilities that match those requirements.

This tailored approach shows potential employers that you've taken the time to consider how your skills and experience fit their needs. It’s a foolproof way to make your application more compelling to a recruiter and increase your chances of securing the job.

Using keywords and ATS optimization

Incorporating relevant keywords for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) is crucial nowadays. Employers of all kinds are increasingly using ATS to automatically filter and screen resumes.

These systems scan CVs for specific keywords related to the job, skills, and qualifications needed. Including these keywords can help your CV pass through the initial automated screening and reach human recruiters.

That said, balancing keyword optimization with readability and authenticity is equally important. Too many keywords can make your CV seem clichéd and inauthentic.

Honesty and authenticity

Honesty and authenticity in presenting work experience are paramount because employers seek candidates who are transparent about their qualifications. To ensure this, accurately portray your achievements and responsibilities.

Be truthful about your contributions and accomplishments, and avoid exaggerations or misrepresentations. Present specific examples of your successes while maintaining humility.

Highlight your skills, but always within the boundaries of your actual experience and contributions. This approach builds trust and credibility with potential employers and can lead to meaningful and sustainable career opportunities.

Avoiding common mistakes

A handful of common mistakes get missed when applicants don’t pay attention while writing their CV experience sections. But avoiding them or catching them in your reviews and edits is essential.

The top three culprits are:

  • Using vague language that doesn't clearly describe your contributions
  • Failing to proofread for grammatical errors and typos
  • Omitting important details that could strengthen your CV.

Additionally, steer clear of using generic or overused phrases. Instead, focus on specific achievements and responsibilities that make you stand out.

It’s also crucial that you review your work experience critically and be meticulous in removing any unnecessary details. Getting a second opinion from a trusted friend or colleague helps, too.

Proofreading and editing

Thorough proofreading and editing are the final touches that can make or break your work experience section. Meticulously review your entries for spelling and grammatical errors, ensuring everything reads smoothly and professionally.

Additionally, ask for feedback from peers or mentors to gain valuable insights. A second set of outside eyes will catch missed mistakes and help identify any obscure language, unclear entries, or overused clichés you might have missed.

When refining your work experience, focus on clarity, conciseness, and relevance. Remove any redundant information and ensure that each bullet point effectively highlights your accomplishments and responsibilities.

Dedicating time to editing your work experience section will pay dividends because any missteps can be reason enough for a recruiter to turn you down. And you’ll only catch those missteps through careful revision.

Sample work experience entries

Now that we've shown you the steps toward perfecting a CV work experience section review these samples to get a head start on yours!

Senior Marketing Manager, BrightStar Media, Brighton, UK

March 2017 – Present

  • Spearheaded an 8-person marketing team to execute comprehensive campaigns that increased customer engagement by 15%.
  • Introduced data-driven decision-making processes, resulting in a 13% boost in lead conversion rates.
  • Launched a highly successful influencer marketing strategy, leading to a 10% rise in brand visibility.
  • Oversaw major rebranding effort, achieving a 20% growth in market share within one year.

Why it’s good

This is an effective work experience entry because it quantifies achievements, showcasing a significant impact on customer engagement, lead conversion rates, brand visibility, and market share growth.

It also highlights strong leadership skills, as the individual spearheaded an 8-person marketing team, demonstrating their ability to manage and collaborate effectively. It’s important to demonstrate effective leadership when you reach the management level.

Example # 2

Senior Sales Representative, Serene Gardens Nursery, Hampstead, UK

March 2017 – Present

Renowned nursery and landscaping service provider, offering a diverse range of high-quality plants, garden supplies, and expert landscaping solutions

  • Achieved a 25% increase in personal sales revenue by nurturing tailored client relationships.
  • Implemented targeted advertising strategies, resulting in a 15% growth in the customer base.
  • Spearheaded training initiatives, enhancing the team's product knowledge and sales techniques, resulting in a 20% improvement in team-wide sales performance.
  • Recognized as the "Sales Star of the Year" in 2020 for outstanding contributions to individual and team sales success.

Why it’s good

This employment entry stands out for its quantifiable sales achievements. They highlight significant growth in personal sales and an expanded customer base.

It also highlights effective leadership and training initiatives that employers love seeing. And, of course, including awards shows that other people value your work, which lends your CV credibility.

This entry also showcases where a company description benefits the entry because the name Serene Gardens Nursery could just as easily suggest a nursery for infants since it’s not a  recognisable brand. The description avoids potential misunderstandings before they arise.

Example # 3

Server, Riverside Bistro, London, UK

May 2019 – Present

  • Delivered exceptional dining experiences to customers by providing attentive service, resulting in an average of 20% gratuities.
  • Efficiently managed section in a high-volume restaurant, achieving a 95% order accuracy rate.
  • Demonstrated strong product knowledge, promoting specials and upselling items, leading to a 10% increase in average check amounts.
  • Mentioned by name in 12 positive online reviews for Riverside Bistro.

Why it’s good

This entry is strong because it highlights specific customer service skills, like delivering exceptional dining experiences and efficient management in a high-volume restaurant. This is more effective than simply saying ‘strong customer service skills’.

The use of specific percentages, like a 20% gratuity average and 95% order accuracy rate, quantifies the applicant’s achievements. Also, being mentioned by name in 12 positive online reviews further emphasizes their positive impact on the restaurant.

Top 10 FAQs about the CV work experience section

Given how important the work experience section is on a resume, it’s no wonder we hear so many questions about them. Here are our Top  10 FAQs and our no-nonsense #TLDR responses for each.

How far back should I go when listing work experience on my CV?

Focus on the last 10-15 years, but include older relevant experiences if necessary.

What if I have employment gaps in my work history?

Be honest and list years, not months. Explain extended gaps briefly in your cover letter.

Should I include every job I've ever had in my work experience section?

No, prioritize relevant positions with notable achievements.

How can I make my work experience section stand out to potential employers?

Emphasize achievements, awards, and promotions with quantifiable details.

Is there a standard format for listing dates in the work experience section for ATS systems?

Use "Month Year" format (e.g., "Jan 2020 - Jul 2021") for clarity and ATS compatibility.

Should I include unrelated part-time jobs in my work experience section?

Only include part-time jobs that showcase transferable skills or are directly relevant to the job you're applying for, or if you’re just starting out in the workforce.

Can I list volunteer work in the work experience section of my CV?

Yes, include volunteer work that's relevant to the job or demonstrates skills and commitment.

How do I address work experience that's from a different industry or unrelated to the job I want?

Focus on transferable skills and achievements. Emphasize how they can benefit your target job.

Should I include internships in my work experience section?

Yes, include internships, especially if you acquired skills and experiences relevant to the job.

How do I handle work experience gaps due to parenting or caregiving responsibilities?

Acknowledge gaps without going into too much detail. Focus on skills gained during these periods and highlight relevant experiences before and after the gaps.


  • A well-structured work experience section is a crucial part of your CV.
  • Job titles and company names should be listed clearly, consistently, and in a format like "Marketing Manager at XYZ Company."
  • Accurate employment dates are vital to demonstrate transparency and reliability.
  • When describing responsibilities and achievements think of all your accomplishments
  • Use action verbs and measurable results for impact.
  • Tailor your work experience to highlight relevant skills and experiences for specific jobs.
  • Include, but don’t overuse keywords.
  • Thorough proofreading and editing are essential for a polished CV.

Make your move!
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Volen Vulkov
Volen Vulkov is a CV expert and the co-founder of Enhancv. He applies his deep knowledge and experience to write about a career change, development, and how to stand out in the job application process.
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