CV Work Experience

The work experience section on a CV is probably the most crucial part. When employers look through CV’s, what is the first thing they are drawn to? This would be the “work experience” section on your CV, as they want to hire someone with as many professional qualifications as possible. The way for employers to know if you are the right person for the position is through the employment history on your CV. So, are you really eager to get that interview? Make sure your employment history is outstanding. With these tips on how to polish your work experience section on the CV, you will know how to make the section look professional, attractive, and unique.
It is hard to know what would qualify as good work experience and what to actually write in one of the most important parts of the CV. This is why this article will inform you about what to write in the work experience section of the CV.
 

CV employment history

The CV work experience section, as mentioned, is important because this is where you get to sell yourself and show your key qualities. If the employer is looking at 20 candidates or more, which is most probably the case, then they will likely be selecting candidates with the most suitable experience. To be at the top of the list of candidates to be selected for the interview, you need to outshine everyone else, but how do you do that? Here are some simple steps.

A good CV will show the employer what type of person you are, where you came from and all the relevant information they need to know. But do not make the mistake in story-telling your entire life, instead keep the CV work experience section short and concise. A potential format that you can follow for the work experience section on your CV can be:

  • Job title you held: When you start writing the CV work experience section, you always write down the job title first. The job title should always be as precise as possible, meaning that it should line up with what you actually did.
  • Company name, short description, and location of the company: If the position is interesting enough for the employer they will then go on reading the job description. Write the company’s name and location, and if the company is not well known then you can write a short sentence on what the company does.
  • Date: State the dates when you started your prior jobs and when you ended them. If you don’t remember the exact date when you got hired, you can put an estimation of the approximate time frame. A good example of how to format the date would be: Accountant Assistant at Google 06/09/2005 – present
  • Skills and responsibilities: When writing your skills and responsibilities, add how your prior work experience helped you acquire these skills. For example, tell them about a project you carried out and was really successful for the company.
  • Achievements: Write down your previous positions and add a brief explanation of what achievements you have made throughout your career. If you have a lot of experience, try to write down the most relevant ones that relate to the job you are applying for.

    Furthermore, if you have a lot of work experience, then make sure you place the work experience above your education on your CV, as the format will look cleaner. If you have less work experience and more education experience then you can put the education first and experience second.

 

CV work experience example

Need some visual inspiration for creating the work experience section on your CV? Below you can find some CV work experience examples to have a clear understanding of the format.

Accounting assistant
BMW, Düsseldorf, DE
2010-2016

  • In charge of carrying out financial reports for the managers and constant participation at every team meeting.
  • Using tools such as Quickbooks to file financial statements from different individuals, corporate, and payroll taxes.
  • Managing all the orders and budgets concerning the company’s budget.

 
Make sure to update the work experience section on your CV and tailor it to the job you are applying for. However, if you don’t have much work experience then you can add any relevant experience you have, even if they’re not related.
 

CV with No Experience

But.. What if I am someone with 0 work experience? This might not be the ideal situation, but there are ways to work around a CV with no work experience. First things first, it is always best to try to have some experience before applying to a job, like getting a job at the local supermarket or at a boutique store, simple jobs that you can get with no qualifications and can actually boost your CV.

Writing a CV with no experience is not as hard as you may think. Yes, it is true most employers are first drawn to the work experience section on your CV. But if you have no work experience, for example because you’ve just graduated, there are ways that you can replace work experience with other experiences, such as:

  • Sports you have done;
  • Volunteer work;
  • Fundraising events that you led;
  • Debate club;
  • Working in the library.

 
From these experiences, you can apply your skills and achievements that you got from your extracurricular activities. However, if you are someone who just has zero experience, then you can always write down an internship that you did or even an exchange programme that you participated in. Even if you don’t have any related work experience, you can always add your summer job, university projects, and personal projects that you conducted. University projects can be working on a team to create a sort of product. Or if during your free time you like to code or do some fashion designing, include that too.

A CV with no work experience is not the worst thing, but you can really work your way around it by adding your hobbies such as swimming, piano, football, etc. Or even projects that you did like school projects, personal projects – basically anything. It all counts as experience.
 

CV with no work experience sample

Still struggling to think of what to add to your CV work experience section if you have no experience? Here are two samples on how you could replace your CV work experience in case you don’t have any.

Sample 1:

Professional Experiences

  • Joined Model United Nations club, 2015-2019: During my time in the MUN club at school, I honed my debating skills, public speaking skills and learnt how to draft resolutions. MUN taught me how to look at the world from a diplomatic point of view and fight for the national interests of the country that I was assigned.
  • Co-Ambassador of the NO project, 2014-2017: The NO project raises awareness for sex trafficking and child labour. During the NO project, I organized four schools to promote the sale of fair trade coffee and chocolate in the school lunchrooms.
  • Assistant at the Library, 2012-2015: Being an assistant at the library helped me with my organizational skills as I had to organize the books by alphabetical order and by language. Furthermore, I helped the librarian on a website for international students to show off their talents. This helped my creative skills as I had to come up with ideas such as competitions, tasks, and other things that got students from around the world to participate while showing off their creative side, i.e: organizing a photography contest.

 
Creative Experiences

  • Created a fashion show to help raise money for people in Bangladesh. Organization skills were shown here as I had to get art students to design and sew clothes for a fashion show and get students to wear them.
  • Played football, 2016-2019: playing football requires a lot of teamwork. Therefore, football allowed me to be open to teamwork and adjust myself to that concept.
  • Played guitar, 2012-2020: Teaching myself to learn how to play the guitar which shows my disciplinary skills and self-initiative skills.

 
Sample 2:

Achievements

  • Community And Service Award, 2018: I won the CAS award for being the student that gave most to the community by participating in activities such as helping out the elderly on Sundays, going to the dog pound and walking and feeding the dogs every Saturday, tutoring economics to 9th graders during lunch break.
  • Led an entire project to help give food and basic supplies to the homeless, 2020. I gathered a group of people to raise money and to go around collecting basic food supplies like rice, pasta, eggs, etc., to give to the homeless.

Projects

  • Creating an App, 2016. In IT class I programmed an app that sends students a reminder for when they have their next class and what homework/assignments need to be done and by what day.
  • University project, 2022. Conducted an entire research project and made surveys to gather statistics about political trust in the UK.

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FAQ

  • Can I skip work experience when writing a CV?
    It is advised not to skip work experience, but if you don't have any work experience you can always replace it with skills, projects, and volunteer work. Just add something that will sell you, not sell you out of the job. Everything counts.
  • Can you leave a job off your CV?
    You can definitely leave a job off your CV, especially if it won’t benefit you for the job you are trying to get. Better to remove an irrelevant job than waste space.
  • Can my CV be two pages?
    Yes, your CV should be a maximum of 1-2 pages long. Try to keep it short and straight to the point. Do not ramble on and on as the employer won't read a long CV. Remember that they probably have to read many more applicants’ CVs.