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How To Write A Resume – Skills And Experience Section

Fact #1: Most resume’s are boring. The average resume reads like an outline for a term paper. A,B,C, 1,2,3. BORING.

Fact #2: Most of us are not born writers and writing about ourselves is extremely hard.

So how do you outline all your great skills and assets in an interesting (if not exciting and dynamic) way? In this article we’ll give you a resume sample to get you started. Let’s begin with the basics and perhaps if you discover the “hidden writer” within you might work up to exciting and dynamic.

Professional Experience

The experience section is where you really get to shine. This is where you break out what you did for your last employer(s) and tell that prospective new employer exactly what an awesome employee you’re going to be.

This is also where most people fall really flat. By just outlining job duties in a paragraph (typed letters, managed inventory, made coffee, ran errands, shot myself in the head from boredom . . . ) you are virtually guaranteeing that your resume will be put in the “round file.”

Before you begin grab a pen and paper and do some real, deep down, thinking about your last job. Were you given goals to achieve? Did you exceed them? Did you do anything above and beyond? Where and how did you “stand out?” Did your prior job contain elements that the new employer is looking for? For instance, if you did the payroll for your last employer is the new employer looking for someone experienced in payroll?

Resume Sample Of A BAD Experience Section

”General bookkeeper for small construction company.”

”Managed day to day activities and schedules.”

”Reconciled books and did payroll. Paid quarterly taxes.”

”Kept track of inventory and supplies.”

”Paid bills.”

Why is this bad? Because while you MAY have done all those things, you don’t tell the employer how you stood out from the crowd! Lots of people have the skills outlined above. What can you bring to the job that someone else might not?

Resume Sample Of A GOOD Experience Section

”Maintained all accounting and bookkeeping records for multiple construction sites.”

”Implemented new cost accounting and inventory control that saved the company $1 million dollars on one single construction site alone.”

”Generated payroll for over 100 employees in 5 states.”

”Maintained accurate books and paid quarterly taxes – that used to be done by professional CPA firm.”

”Created new cost-accounting system that tracked all costs associated with construction site and saved company over $100,000 by eliminating duplicate reimbursements to construction sites.”

Use action words and positive phrases. In the sample resume piece above “Saved, Implemented and Created” are a few action words an employer might look twice at.

At this point you’re probably saying, “but I didn’t do anything special at my job.” Well, yes – you did (unless you’re a slug, then I highly suggest you start thinking about how you might perform above and beyond at your next position). Most people get “writers block” when it comes to bragging about themselves. Don’t be nervous. Take a breath and start thinking.

Were you hired for one job and before long you were given 10 others too?

Why did they give you those extra jobs?

Were you were more efficient than your co-workers?

Did you create a special tracking spreadsheet? Because you were more organized?

Did you train any other employees? Even just through mentoring?

Did you reorganize something or streamline it in some way?

For instance, A long, long time ago I reorganized an entire filing system and created a color-coded key for it. This saved people a lot of work trying to find the right files. You bet I mentioned that on my resume for future executive assistant positions!

NOBODY just sits like a lump and does only what they are initially hired for. We always take on extra jobs. Problem is that after a while we are so comfortable doing them we forgot that we weren’t originally HIRED to do those.

So, think hard about what you started out doing and what was added to your position and think about how you can “brag” about it.


Skills can be broken out in two ways. You can use them to brag about yourself more by stating things you’ve achieved. For instance:

Successfully managed 15 accounting employees processing over $1 million dollars a day in billing.

Or you can actually list your skills:

MS Office • QuickBooks • Photoshop • ABC Accounting Program

And then list your certificates:

”HR1 Certificate”

”Certified bookkeeper through the ABC College of Accounting”

Education should be kept simple:

If you have a college degree then don’t list your high school. That’s implied.

Spell out the name of your college. With the hundreds of colleges out there it’s impossible for everyone to know their initials. Plus it just looks more professional.

DO NOT exaggerate or lie about your education. Most companies hire professional background checking companies and you WILL be found out.

You do not need to put the year you graduated down (this gives them a hint at your age) but you may have to list it on the background check information if you’re hired.

DO NOT list your GPA – unless you’re fresh out of college and the job you’re applying for is in the field you studied.
DO NOT list college clubs or activities unless they apply to the job or show some sort of leadership ability (for instance being on the student government or donating your time to, or founding a charity)

Be careful to not list any political activities you might have been involved in. You never know the politics of the person you’ll be interviewing with so don’t give them an opportunity to exclude you before interviewing you.

So that’s it in a nutshell! I hope these resume samples have helped. Now sit down with a pad and paper and put your thinking cap on! You know you were a stellar employee, now all you have to do is make your resume show it!

Please keep in mind that these lessons are for the person just entering the job market or in entry-level or lower-level management. If you’ve been in the workforce for a while and are on the rise in your field then you definitely will want to consider hiring a professional resume writing service.

Leslie Kearney is a web author and owner of Resume Help Blog. If you are looking for help finding a professional resume writer, or learning how to write your own resume we can help! We also have up-to-date lists of top companies that are still hiring and helpful information on job searching and interview tips.

Image taken on 2006-01-05 03:39:01. Image Source. (Used with permission)

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