How to describe your experience in your CV? Should all existing positions be entered there? Read about it in our article! Experience is probably the most important item in your CV. And because the most important, it is often and the most problematic. We are here to help to make it easier for you to describe this experience on your CV. Here are some tips, tested on real people.
Research shows that about 50 people respond to one position offered. It is true that the recruiter spends an average of 4 minutes reading the CV, but it is that the first 6 seconds decide whether the application will be rejected or read further.
1. The classic way
So, just like mom taught. Or a teacher. Or a guide from the internet, well, whoever explained it to you.
It should look like this:
company name – positions you held in it – employment period
01/2020 – 12/2020
Junior High School No. 3, Kraków
Position: Polish teacher
Most important duties:
- conducting the subject in accordance with the core curriculum;
- periodic checking of the level of knowledge by postcards, tests, knowledge tests;
- assessing and arguing grades;
- encouraging and motivating students to be more active and self-improvement;
- preparing gifted students to participate in mathematics competitions and contests;
- discussing learning progress with students’ parents;
- participating in Pedagogical Council meetings.
Write about what the employer requires of you. Don’t focus on competencies that are irrelevant to the position. Remember that usually the most important obligations for a given employer should be presented first.
2. Extra information
Whatever your experience is, it’s worth telling more about it. Information about where you worked and who and for how long is essential. But it’s cooler to describe your experience more precisely.
It’s cooler because:
- You show yourself as a person who understands his tasks – because you can describe what you did and why
- You are responsible – because you know your responsibilities
- You make the recruiter aware of how much you’ve been doing – even as a waiter whose main task is to serve guests, you do a few things – you take orders, settle them, take care of order in the restaurant, service the cash register, take care of contact with the customer …
Recently, during a recruitment interview, I was explaining what I was doing as a copywriter.
But what about for example a copywriter? Or a community manager? Or a barista (when you apply not to a cafe, but a restaurant that serves drinks, among others)? It is not always possible to give a Polish name of your position. But it’s always worth a try. Your experience won’t suffer!
3. Do not skip other experience such as volunteering
Work experience is not only what they pay us for. Work experience is what we have experienced and what we will need in the profession.
- journalist – may enter student internships in the editorial office, and may also enter being the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper
- carer – can include taking care of younger siblings, school volunteering (where she helped younger children with their homework), being a scout and working with children
- catering worker – you can confidently include in your CV the experience of organizing school fairs, organizing meetings “kitchens of the world” or selling cakes together with the Student Council
Such describing is especially important if you have experience with very specific activities. E.g. school and church volunteering – their tasks are quite understandable. But being an animator for children for a birthday party is different from being an animator in a church community, and the job title is supposed to be the same. Scouts also have a difficult task with describing their experience in their CV, they only have these strange terms.
Why is it worth writing about volunteering, school projects, university? Because it taught you what you will do there. You don’t have a cash register when selling muffins in the school hallway – but you serve the customer, you have contact with food. And so on.
4. One-time project also counts
Did you work for three years or half a year, or a month – you enter it into your CV as experience without much thought. Hardly anyone thinks about one-off actions. Why? After all… You organized one Charity Run and you were mainly involved in coordinating activities and acquiring sponsors and external partners – what was the experience, what did you learn? Something for sure. You found at least one thing, e.g. project management or a team of people – or courage to public speaking. And look at what experience you have.
5. Don’t talk about the project but the experience and advantages
You helped in organizing the concert, let’s say at your university’s juwenalia – you were doing promotion on Facebook. What did it get you? – experience in event promotion, knowledge of the music events industry; social media support; building a fan community; doing research; creating a communication strategy, content publication plan; delegating tasks (e.g. to a graphic designer); creativity, punctuality…
It worked a lot, huh? And it sounds quite professional. Just after asking WHAT I DID, you will ask yourself another one – what did it give me?
Work experience can be many things. Working for the company, as well as volunteering, and individual actions. When a recruiter has a choice of a person who works in the industry and has experience in a similar position, e.g. a waiter with 2 years of experience, and a person who has been doing something within the school circle – he will probably choose the former. But when he has a choice of a person who has done nothing in his life but you can see that he is willing to act – the choice is just as obvious.
Remember – you already have experience. Maybe not enough for a given position, but definitely enough to describe and talk about it. Just know how to do it!