How to Showcase Your Past Experiences

The job market is hot right now. Opportunities are plentiful in a wide range of job categories—from skilled trades and administrative roles to accounting, IT, and HR positions.

But you still need to convince recruiters and hiring managers that you have “the right stuff” to land the job you want!

What’s the best way to make a great case for your candidacy? Whether you’re updating your resume or preparing for a job interview, here’s a simple formula for highlighting your past experiences to position yourself as the best candidate for the job:

Describe the job in terms that matter to an employer. While you need to explain your primary responsibilities, move beyond a laundry list of job duties to clearly demonstrate how your value translates into a potential employer’s specific needs.

Highlight where you excelled. If you want to make it onto an employer’s shortlist, you need to show how and why you’re a cut above other candidates. When describing your experiences, focus on:

  • Challenges you accepted and met.
  • Problems you solved.
  • How you went above and beyond what was expected of you.
  • Positive feedback from performance reviews.
  • Measurable results you achieved.
  • Recognition you received.

Explain what you learned. Employers want to hire individuals with a track record of career growth and progress. Consider these questions to determine things you learned that will help you thrive in the job you want:

  • What transferable job skills have you gained? Things like organizational skills, time-management skills, software proficiency, communication skills, supervisory/management skills, problem-solving abilities, and customer service skills are all examples of transferable skills. Look for opportunities to highlight ways you could apply your existing work skills in the new setting.
  • What courses have you completed?
  • What certifications have you acquired?
  • What soft skills have you gained along the way?
  • What other lessons have your work experiences provided? Consider what you’ve learned from your mistakes as well as your successes.

Special circumstances:

The formula above works well if you have consistent, substantial work experience. But don’t worry, you’re not automatically out of contention if you don’t.

  • If you’re an entry-level candidate: Provide examples of school projects, volunteer roles, internships, or other experiences that have helped you build skills that transfer to the workplace.
  • If you’ve worked several short-term assignments through a staffing agency: Structure your resume to focus on your work, and provide your dates of employment for the staffing agency (not individual assignment dates). Group similar assignments together under one heading, highlighting the skills you acquired, your responsibilities, and accomplishments.
  • If your work experience doesn’t follow a logical path: Focus on your transferable job skills. In addition, highlight the ways your varied experiences have made you adaptable and well-rounded while providing you with diverse perspectives in the workplace.

Need help finding a great job?

Whether you’re an entry-level worker or an experienced professional, PrideStaff’s team of employment experts can match you with an opportunity that’s a great fit. Contact the PrideStaff office in your area or search jobs here.