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How to Describe Your Experience

One of the most difficult parts in writing a resume is composing the descriptions of your jobs, volunteer, projects, and other relevant experiences. Each description should be clear and concise, yet descriptive. After reading your description, a prospective employer should know exactly what your responsibilities were, what skills you have developed, where your strengths lie, and what you have achieved.

Here are some tips to help you write a concise and informative description:

Begin each item by stating the name of the place, location, dates, and title (e.g. manager, volunteer.) List experiences in reverse chronological order.

Describe your responsibilities in concise, abbreviated statements led by strong action verbs. Focus on those skills and strengths that you possess and that you have identified as being important to your field. Try to incorporate industry specific key words. Show potential employers exactly how you will fit their position and their company. Click here for Sample Action Words (PDF).

Be sure to vary your action verbs. You do not want all your descriptions to sound the same. Use present tense for those activities which are ongoing and past tense for those with which you are no longer involved.

Avoid using "I," "and," "the," and the use of any pronouns and prepositions.

Whenever possible, quantify. That is, use numbers, amounts, dollar values, and percentages, (e.g., “Increased monthly sales by forty percent . . .”, “Supervised and trained five new employees . . .”, “Handled daily receipts totaling $3000 . . .”, "Designed 14 costumes for local production of ...")

Limit your description to the three or four most important points.

Example:

The Swim Club, Anywhere, PA
Assistant Manager/Head Lifeguard
Summers 20XX-20XX

  • Ensured safety of patrons and guests; resolved patron concerns
  • Supervised and trained six lifeguards
  • Developed and maintained schedules for lifeguards, private swim lessons, and pool functions using Excel
  • Assisted manager in overall swim club operations

View resume samples.