Resumes: Writing Your Employment History

by Apr 24, 2017

When it comes to resumes, the employment history section often trips people up. How far back should you go? What roles should you mention? Does formatting even matter that much? How many details should you include? With so many questions circling the topic, we thought we’d provide some guidance and help you create an awesome resume!

What to mention

If you’ve had a lot of previous experience, it can be difficult to determine which roles to prioritise when you’re applying for a new position. The easiest way to figure it out is to think back on any roles you’ve had that are most similar to the one you’re trying for. Think about what skills this new job is asking for and which of your previous roles highlight these abilities. Stick to a rough maximum of 3-5 roles that thoroughly show off your skills, and are relatively recent in your employment history.

Aside from simply listing the roles you’ve had, also make a short list of the responsibilities you had for each role. Think of the main 3-5 tasks you were in charge of for each position you’ve held, and see if you can tie them into the skills and experience the new position asks for.

How far back should you go?

If you only have a few years of experience in your industry, then this question doesn’t necessarily apply to you. But if you’ve been working in a variety of industries, or have many years’ experience then it can be a bit tricky figuring out how much of your past work you want to disclose in an initial application. The first thing is to remember that you can always bring up other experiences in an interview, so don’t feel like you’re selling yourself short by leaving some past positions out. If you’ve been in a number of relevant roles in the last few years, include the ones that are most relevant and where you worked for longest.

There’s no need to include jobs you worked in your early teen years, unless that role was your most recent experience. Stick to ones that are the most relevant, held for the longest, and the relatively recent, and you should be set.

What about formatting?

Title the section something easily identifiable like ‘Employment history’, ‘Work experience’, or ‘Career history’ to clearly set it apart. Under this, you’ll want to list your employment history from most recent to least, with each position title and company in bold lettering underneath.

Make sure to mention the period of time you worked at each role as well, alongside the position titles. Underneath each of these, list the responsibilities and skills you built in bullet points, again listing a maximum of 3-5. 

Points on wording

One final note on language: stick to action words as you list your responsibilities. Think of phrases such as ‘developed’, ‘built’, ‘trained’ etc. And stick to the past tense!

Also, use quantitative phrasing where possible. If you managed several client interests, mention how many. If you helped your previous employers make a profit, mention a particular amount. Mentioning quantities helps potential employers as it provides specific examples that show your skills in action.

Are you a UTS Nursing or Midwifery student thinking of entering the workforce? Then the upcoming UTS:Nursing and Midwifery Fair is a must. Giving students the opportunity to meet and network with industry professionals and employers, this annual event is a fantastic way to have your questions answered and curiosity quenched. Don’t miss out – register now!


Featured image courtesy of Pexels.

By Mia Casey

By Mia Casey


Mia is a Sydney-based copywriter and content creator, who ran the UTS Careers Blog for five years since its conception in 2016.
Her freelance work focuses on branding development and helping companies create a cohesive identity narrative tailored for each of their platforms.
She enjoys piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.