If you’ve finished your Education section as directed in our post “How to Write the Education Section of Your Resume,” you’re ready to create your Work History section.

Nothing is better proof of your skills and abilities than past work experience. That’s why, if you have some work experience under your belt, this will be the most important part of your resume. If done right, your work experience should show how you’ve progressed and what you’ve accomplished.

This section can go by many names: work history, work experience, job history, professional history, and more. This section will have a subheader with the name of your choosing and then a subsection for every job you’ve held, starting with your most recent position and ending with your first job.

[Note: if you’ve held so many job that they won’t all fit on one page, you might consider leaving your earlier jobs out, as they are probably less impressive than your more recent positions.]

Subheader

As you begin your Work History section, hit enter twice to give a nice break from the section above. Then type ‘Work History’ in large bold letters or all caps. This tells the employer that this new section is beginning.

Company Name

For each subsection, indicate which company you worked for. If you want to make this information stick out to the employer, you can bold or italicize the company name, as seen in the example above.

Position

For each subsection, tell them what position you worked at each company. Again, you can use bold or italics to make this information more eye-catching to the employer. Also, you can list position after company name or before company name depending on which one you think is more impressive. You want the more impressive one to go first.

For example, if you worked for Tom’s Feed and Hay as a department manager, you would probably put your position before the company name.

But, if you were sales associate for Apple, you would probably put Apple first and your position second.

Important note: whatever order you choose, you must keep that in every subsection. So if you put your position before the company name on the first subsection, you will put the position before the company name on every subsection. This is to avoid confusing the employer.

Location

Following position and company, simply enter the city and state in which you worked. It should look something like this:

“General Motors, Assembly Line Operator, Dayton, OH”
“Assistant Manager, McDonalds, Phoenix, AZ”

Dates

After listing the location, you’ll want to include the dates you worked in that position. The easiest way to do this is to enter the year you start and the year you ended, like this:

“General Motors, Assembly Line Operator, Dayton, OH 2009 – 2012”
“Assistant Manager, McDonalds, Phoenix, AZ 1998”

Notice that I included only one year in the second example. This is what you would do if you worked there only within one year, in this case, 1998. So if you worked in that position from March 1998 to August 1998, you would just enter ‘1998.’

If you are still working in this position, you would use the word ‘present’ to indicate this, like so:

“General Motors, Assembly Line Operator, Dayton, OH 2009 – present”

It is common to space the dates away from company name, position, and location, as seen in the example below, but this is up to your preferences:

Description

In one line, you will describe the position in concise, active terms. This should be based on what you’ve read in the company’s job description, written in terms that connect the jobs you’ve worked with the job they’re looking to fill. If you managed others, you want to include that here. Check out these examples:

“Oversaw team of six accountants in processing large volumes of purchase orders”
“Received and processed customer orders to ensure timeliness and maximum satisfaction”

Notice that I used active, dynamic verbs, like ‘oversaw’ or ‘received,’ at the beginning of each description. This draws the employer’s eye much better than something like:

“Worked on hydraulic pumps”

Typically, this description will come right after the position, company name, location, and dates, in this fashion:

“General Motors, Assembly Line Operator, Dayton, OH 2009 – 2011
Optimized work processes for efficiency and quality in the assembly of automobiles”

If this same job were still continuing to the present, I would put my verb in present tense, instead of past tense, like this:

“General Motors, Assembly Line Operator, Dayton, OH 2009 – present
Optimizing work processes for efficiency and quality in the assembly of automobiles”

Writing strong, concise descriptions takes some practice. Take the time to do a few drafts until you get a description that catches the employer’s eye and shows them that your work experience is exactly what they’re looking for.

Accomplishments

After mastering your description, continue on with your accomplishments at that position. The best way to do this is to name specific examples of times you excelled. This may include stats to back up your claim, like so:

“General Motors, Assembly Line Operator, Dayton, OH 2009 – present
Optimizing work processes for efficiency and quality in the assembly of automobiles
• Decreased assembly time by 12 percent with innovative welding technique
• Minimized worker error by 25 percent by implementing new accountability measures”

This may take some thought on your part. Not everyone has single-handedly increased company revenue by 500 percent. But most people have something impressive that they can display on their resume.

Two to three accomplishments per position is usually enough to show employers how impressive you can be. As seen in the example above, they are best displayed using bullet points.

Some Examples

Now that we’ve gone through the basics of the Work History section, you can take a look at the following examples for inspiration. Pay special attention to how they use horizontal lines, bolding, italics, alignment, and bullets to display information in an easy-to-read fashion.

Done with your Work History section? Continue on to our post “How to Write the Skills and Accomplishments Section of Your Resume.”

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