Career advice

How to list your job descriptions in your resume (with examples)

For most people, unless you are just starting out in your career with very little work experience, the bulk of the content of your resume will be your work history. This is the main section of your resume where you describe your previous jobs and what you did for each employer.

After your name and the title at the top of your resume, this is the section that potential employers reading your resume will scan first. When evaluating applicants, most will want to see where you have worked most recently and what your job was. Since employers spend very little time on their initial scan of each resume before deciding to consider the candidate or move on to the next one, it is in your best interest to make the information they're looking for easy to access.

In reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent employment, list your job title, the name and location of the company, and the dates that you worked there.

Follow this with a few short sentences about what you did for that particular employer. This is the description of your job. However, in most cases, you do not want to take up a great deal of valuable resume space describing the job. That isn’t the information that will impress hiring managers and land you a job interview – which is the purpose of your resume.

For example, if you were a Sales Representative for ACME Co., you wouldn’t want to describe the job in your resume as:

Duties included selling products and services to clients. Maintaining client relationships to ensure future sales. Communicating product features and benefits to potential clients.

Because that is what every Sales Rep does. They sell products and services and maintain client relationships. Future employers will already know that you did those things based solely on your job title. Two words never to use in your resume are ‘duties include.’ That was a traditional format people used for listing what they did in past roles, but it is not an effective way to impress potential employers.

A far better use of the space describing your past work on your resume is to highlight your specific accomplishments on the job. How did you excel in the role? What did you achieve that others given a similar opportunity might not?

For example:

Sales Representative – ACME Co., Boston, MA - January 2020-June 2022

Hit and exceeded sales targets by 30% for the final two quarters of 2021. Was the top salesperson of the year for ACME Co. Implemented a customer retention program that reduced churn by 40%. Spearheaded new online and social media selling methods, increasing the company’s profits by 20% and opening up new revenue streams.

Obviously, the typical duties of a sales rep were performed by the candidate in the above example, but the stand-out accomplishments in the resume are far more compelling for hiring managers looking to add a new employee to their sales team.

The implication of what you have accomplished in the past is that you can deliver similar results for employers in the future.

In the example of a sales representative, the natural accomplishments to highlight involve increased sales and customer retention. For many other roles, deciding what to focus on in your resume might not be as clear-cut.

Because the potential employer will be looking to your past achievements to illustrate what you could do for them, it is best to make the content of your resume as relevant as possible to the needs of the job you are applying for.

How to list your accomplishments in a resume

Data helps. Whenever possible, use numbers or stats to quantify your achievements. For example:

- Maintained a 95% customer satisfaction rating as a Client Services Representative.
- Increased email communications open rate from 4% to 35% through optimized subject lines and distribution times.
- Trained a team of six new hires into a high-performing team that exceeded targets by 25% in the first year.

Your accomplishments may focus on how you made your employer more successful. These can include revenue or sales you increased for the company, money or time saved through efficiencies or innovations, problems you solved, or productivity increases you spearheaded.

Other achievements to note in your resume could be awards or recognitions you received on the job. Promotions where you were given a better job title, more staff, or more responsibility also look good on a resume. These show that your previous boss recognized your ability and acknowledged your potential to take on more.

Accomplishment words

Avoid using phrases such as 'worked on,' 'helped with,' or 'contributed to' in your job descriptions in your resume. Try using stronger, more inspiring action verbs to highlight your achievements. For example:


Just don't go overboard. As much as action words can impress hiring managers, they are likely to raise an eyebrow at candidates who 'obliterated' their targets or 'demolished' a challenge. Keep it professional.

The job descriptions in the employment history section of your resume show hiring managers where you have worked and what unique value you bring to the table as a potential hire. While they typically know what duties and responsibilities are associated with most job titles, they want to learn how you stood out. They have many candidates to choose from, and they want to determine which one is the best option.

You can impress hiring managers by proving what you can do for them using the evidence of what you have achieved at your previous jobs along the way.

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