Learn how to showcase your professional journey to impress employers

Documenting your work experience on your CV to showcase your talent to prospective employers is no mean feat - especially when you have only two pages to battle with. But no fear! In this article, learn what qualifies as work experience and follow our step-by-step approach to crafting the work experience section for your CV, complete with examples and a template.

What is work experience?

Work experience is any time spent in a work environment, in any sector or industry, where you've gained first-hand skills from working on the job. Most people acquire work experience via their professional experiences, i.e. formal employment. However, volunteering, internships, and work shadowing all count too. 

Types of work experience

In addition to professional employment, there are eight other forms of work experience that you can add to your CV. They include:

  1. School work experience placements

  2. Coursework placements

  3. Work shadowing

  4. Internships

  5. Sandwich university courses

  6. Insight events or open days

  7. Employment workshops and classes

  8. Volunteering

Why is work experience important on a CV?

Employers need to understand what your experiences have been in a work setting, to gauge your professional capabilities. They are looking to see if you have any experience related to the role you're applying for which would suggest you have the skillset to do the job. 

Your previous work experience may have been directly related to the role you're applying for, so you can show off your hard skills and achievements on your CV. You can also showcase your soft skills or transferable skills, which are extremely valuable in all forms of employment, regardless of the job title or industry.

How to write work experience on a CV

It's all very well having work experience of some form, but writing it incorrectly on your CV is equal to not having any at all. Here's a step-by-step approach to collating, organising, and writing work experience on your CV:

Document your employment history

Regardless of whether you've had zero formal jobs or 10, it's good to start by collating all work experiences that could contribute towards your employment history. Start with your most recent position and work backwards through your experiences documenting:

  • Job title

  • Company name

  • Dates of employment (month and year)

  • A short summary of the role

  • An overview of your key responsibilities

  • A handful of your accomplishments and successes

Reversing the timeline of employment history will be a straightforward exercise for most people. But if you're in a position where you've had little-to-no work experience, it can be tricky to select what's appropriate. 

Reflect on experiences from education or hobbies that demonstrate your professional growth and capabilities, like leadership in student organisations, academic projects, or personal projects and interests.

Select what to include in your work experience section

Once you have a list of your work experiences, make a shortlist to include on your CV. 

If you've been in professional employment for a number of years, it's likely you'll choose a traditional CV format, which lists your work experience in reverse chronological order. Add the last 10 to 15 years of work experience, or your last five to six positions within this time frame, to keep your CV hyper-relevant to the prospective employer. 

If work experience is thin on the ground you can opt for a functional CV format instead, which is designed to highlight skills and competencies instead of job titles and experiences. Read through the job description and write out the skills that you have, which are essential to the job, to be included in your functional CV. Then prove that you have these skills. 

Tailor and format your work experience for the role

Now that you have a draft version of your work experience section, take the time to tailor and polish it. 

Start the section with a clear heading, like “Work Experience,” “Employment History,” or “Professional Experience.” Then include a subheading for each role, including:

  • Job title

  • Company name

  • Dates of employment (month and year)

Using the short summary and the responsibilities you listed during the planning phase, concisely describe the remit of your role in two to three sentences. This is so the prospective employer gets a flavour of the scope and level of your role.

Under this, bullet point three to six of your key achievements and accomplishments that demonstrate your value. Tailor your CV to the role as much as possible, so the employer can distinctly see how your talents align with their requirements. Don't forget to bolster each point with numbers and statistics to add tangible weight to your claims.

Typically, your most recent job contains the most detail as it's often the highest point of your career to date and demonstrates your peak skill set. As you work your way back through history, you can reduce the detail - but make sure you leave what's most relevant and will impress the prospective employer.

Add your work experience section to the right part of your CV

The structure of a CV starts with your name and contact details, followed by your personal statement, key skills, and then your work experience. 

However, if you're writing a CV for your first job, then you ought to consider moving your education and qualifications ahead of this section, as it's likely to be a stronger representation of your abilities.

Example work experience section on a CV

Here's an example of a work experience section on a CV for a candidate applying for a Head of Digital Marketing role at an ecommerce store:

Work experience

XYZ Furniture Co., London                                                                        Jan 2018 – Present

Digital Marketing Manager

Overseeing all marketing initiatives and strategies, managing a team of three Marketing Specialists, and collaborating with cross-functional teams to drive brand awareness and increase online sales.

  • Implemented a new social media advertising campaign resulting in a 30% increase in website traffic and a 20% rise in sales within the first quarter of 2023

  • Launched a targeted email marketing campaign that led to a 15% boost in customer retention and generated £100,000 in additional revenue 

  • Revamped the company website, optimising SEO and improving the user experience, leading to a 25% increase in organic search traffic and a 10% increase in conversion rate

ABC Digital Solutions, London                                                               Jun 2016 – Dec 2017

Senior Marketing Specialist

Managed lead generation campaigns, collaborated with the sales team to drive conversions, and analysed marketing data to optimise campaign performance.

  • Developed and executed a content marketing strategy that increased website traffic by 40% and generated 500+ new leads

  • Led a successful product launch campaign, resulting in £1.2 million in sales revenue and surpassing the initial sales target by 15%

  • Used A/B testing on landing pages, leading to a 25% improvement in click-through rates and a 10% increase in lead-to-customer conversion rate

DEF Advertising Agency, Reading                                                        Jan 2015 – May 2016

Marketing Coordinator

Collaborated with clients on marketing strategies, managed social media accounts, and coordinated promotional events.

  • Coordinated a successful influencer marketing campaign that reached 1 million impressions and led to a 12% increase in brand followers on social media 

  • Assisted in the organisation of a high-profile product launch event, resulting in 200+ media mentions and a significant sales boost for the client 

  • Implemented a customer feedback survey, gathering valuable insights that helped to optimise marketing strategies and led to a 15% improvement in customer satisfaction 

Work experience section CV template

Here's a simple CV template to help you to draft your work experience section:

Company, Location                                                                                                          date – date

Job Title

Day to day explanation of the role. Sell the relevance of the role towards the customer's goal. Three or four sentences should be plenty. 

  • Key Contribution or Accomplishment 1 - remember to quantify wherever possible

  • Key Contribution or Accomplishment 2 - remember to quantify wherever possible

  • Key Contribution or Accomplishment 3 - remember to quantify wherever possible

Writing work experience on a CV is not difficult when you know how. However, you only get one shot to show a prospective employer that you're the best candidate for the job and enlisting the help of our professional CV writers might be your surefire way to head straight to the top of the interview list.

Recommended reading:

Related Articles: