RESUME WRITING BLOG SERIES - Part Three: Employment History

Posted by Amanda Wencel on Monday, June 13th, 2016

In this 4-week blog series, I have been breaking down each component of writing a marketing resume to provide practical tips on how to catch the employer’s attention, create interest in your abilities, and increase your chances for an interview.  This week, Part Three, discusses how to create a results-centered employment history section.

Much the same way as you completed your Selected Accomplishments section, you want this section to be very achievement-based, to quantify your results as much as possible, and to support how these results impacted your employer or company in a positive way.
Employers are looking for a number of things in the employment section of a resume. 

1. Do you have a steady flow of employment recorded with few to no gaps or short stints in employment?  If there are multiple short periods of employment, what were the reasons?  If they were contract or casual, through temporary agencies, etc. then it is important to list that so that you are answering any red flags right from the start.  If you have a large gap in employment, you should address that in your cover letter and reduce any possible concerns.
2. Have you demonstrated your experience in a way that proves you can accomplish results?
3. Have you highlighted a diverse range of skills that you’ve accumulated through each place of employment?
4. Have you focused on recent and relevant employment within the last 10-15 years? 
5. Are your employment entries filled with key words that are reflective of the job posting or the position that you are trying to achieve?

The most common type of resume is Chronological.  In this style, the focus is on skills and experience and the experience is listed in reverse chronological order (the most recent position first).  You will list your position title, the name of the company that you work for, and the years of employment with that company.  Then underneath, in bulleted form, you will include several high impact achievement-rich statements explaining responsibilities and results that you’ve achieved at that place of employment.  Ensure that you tailor these bullets to the position that you are hoping to achieve, to make it as relevant as possible and show the recruiter/hiring manager that you’ve previously accomplished the desired skills.

It is important to not think of your resume as a list of your duties, as someone with the same job title as you will generally perform the same duties.  It is, however, your job to differentiate yourself by establishing how you performed the duties and how that impacted your company. 

In using my resume as an example, here is how I’ve listed my first employment entry, with a few experience bullets for you to review as a sample.  If the space is available, I like to include 5-6 for each employment entry.  After this entry, you will do the same for each place of employment up to approximately the last 10-15 years of your work experience:
Certified Resume Strategist/Career Transition Consultant
                                   2007 – Present
Contact Coaching and Training Services, London, ON

• Demonstrated success rate as a Certified Resume Strategist; strategizes and creates valuable and dynamic cover letters and resumes that result in interviews for clients.
• High success in providing interview preparation techniques, mock interviewing and behavioural-based practice that results in job offers for clients.
• Designs and executes contemporary skills assessments that assist clients in understanding their key work and personality styles, positioning themselves for effective job search or career transitions.

To decide on your accomplishments, you can look back at the 2nd week of my blog post and follow the same theory as you did for your accomplishments section.  Use strong and varying verbs to start each bullet and follow through with a clear description of what you did and how you performed.  For some great ideas on verbs to use, visit this site:

Be sure to include only the essential points that make you a qualified candidate by selecting the most relevant skills, work experiences and accomplishments that support your suitability for the positions you are applying for.  Employers usually spend less than 30 seconds scanning your resume.  Your resume has to catch their attention and first impressions are everything. 

In the last blog of this Resume Writing Series, Part Four, we’ll discuss the Education section of your resume, as well as some general tips of what else you can include to tailor or highlight your unique skills and experience. 

Stay tuned on my business Facebook and LinkedIn weekly!

“Be so good, they can’t ignore you!”  ~ Steve Martin



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