Make your work experience an exciting read

Position

The outline of your work experience should normally begin on the first page of your CV. If there are no specific reasons against a chronological order of your work history (see my notes on exceptions below), make sure to put your current position (if you are out of work, your most recent one) at the top, below the one before etc. This way, together with your contact information, your current “overall” job title and your summary, the most important information is all displayed on page 1.

Format

Even though it is still widespread and I’ve done it myself in the past, I now advise against using a tabular layout. You would just lose too much valuable “advertising” space, especially on the first page of your document. The example further below demonstrates that you can clearly place the duration of the jobs you had in other formats without having to waste an entire column.

Content

As you already know, the mere presentation of previous tasks and responsibilities is NOT sufficient here, even if this is common and unfortunately often implied in many sample documents and templates. For a truly selling representation of your relevant experiences, you must also convey the respective achievements and thus always show the benefit of your work for your former employers (and / or customers). In other words, how you personally contributed to the success of the company. If this difference is not yet 100% clear to you, please read this page first: Gain interest through your previous achievements.

Here is a positive example of a corresponding entry:

10/2011 – 04/2018 | iShoppers Paradise S.A., Madrid, Spain
Team Lead E-commerce in Management Accounting
Tasks and responsibilities

  • Day-to-day management of a team of 3 additional management accountants: Allocated tasks and resources and maintained quality control.
  • Sales reporting: Generated complex reports in an Infor-based management information system (MIS) according to management specifications normally within 1 working day.
  • Gave monthly performance presentations to vice presidents.
  • Sole representative of the entire management accounting department in the IT project steering committee: Ensured effective communication between the management accounting teams and the IT department for larger IT projects.
Further education

  • Internal user training for Infor Mingl.e, 1 week, 01/2017
  • Conference “OLAP tools for e-commerce in direct comparison”, 3 days, 11/2016
  • Communication seminar: “Conflict resolution in companies”, 2 days/month, 01/2011 – 12/2012 (privately funded)
Major achievements

  • Delivered more than 1,500 individual reports with the team in 2017, with an average turnaround time of less than 2.75 hours.
  • Got award as the most popular team leader in management accounting 2016.
  • Contributed significantly to the company-wide implementation of new software to analyze customer behavior in a webshop in just 5.5 months in 2017.
  • Qualification as “Trained Company Conflict Counsellor” of TeamPower Training S.L., Barcelona, Spain, 12/2012

Exceptions

There are situations where a chronological order of your employment history should not be used or should only be used with caution. This is the case, for example, if you are a first-time job entrant or want to change industries. It also applies to all other situations in which such a presentation would not paint the best possible picture of you.

Even if a chronological order was requested, in the end, the CV is YOUR document and not that of the hiring manager! And only YOU decide what it should look like. You should always choose the best option for YOURSELF and, if necessary, ignore the wishes of the hiring company as to what your document should look like. Here is why: How high is the chance of being invited to an interview if your CV portrays you in a less than positive light? Very likely, there is none at all. So, just go for a better option!

In most such cases, however, you can get away well with a combined version. The really relevant aspects are presented as interesting as possible in another, more suitable format on the first page and the chronological list is left short and rather boring on page 2.

Scope

Generally speaking, it makes sense to present your recent jobs in more detail and the older ones somewhat shorter. However, it is important that personal development can be identified over the entire period. In your presentation, the responsibility transferred should therefore grow steadily, the projects should become larger and larger, sales volume or similar should increase etc.

References to all kinds of general job training can, but do not have to, be included in the employment history. If there is no specific reason why you would like to mention a course etc. there, the category “Education and qualifications” is usually better suited. Whichever of the two options you pick, make sure you do not include these entries twice!

Special case: Multiple positions with the same employer

If you were employed by the same employer for a long time, or if you held different positions within the same company, you should present this development in the company as if you had worked for several different employers. It should still be clear to see that you worked for the same employer the entire time, but you should present the individual positions separately. In such a situation it is not a good idea to simply mention the most recent position. That could convey the wrong image that you started in it a long time ago already but unfortunately have not developed further despite the length of time.

Do you want even more tips and tricks for your own CV?

Now that you know what to pay attention to when writing your CV, here are two more ways to really go for it and not just write your CV but actually “design” it! 🙂

> Email course “How to Write a Power CV”

Book my email course “How to Write a Power CV” now to implement these and many other tips and tricks step by step in your own CV in a very convenient way. In each lesson, my concrete examples, instructions and tasks will help you to put theory into practice. This way, you can create a persuasive CV for yourself quickly and easily.

> Is your situation particularly difficult?

I will be happy to coach you in person if my already demanding workload allows it. If you are interested, feel free to contact me.

On August 30th, Ms. Veronika P. from Einbeck wrote to me:

»In spring we had discussed the idea of making my CV clearer and easier to understand. That’s what I did and it was very well received: One application – TWO invitations to interview!«