How to Write a Resume: The Work History Section
Tip 1: Offer Brief Job Descriptions
The number one complaint employers have about resumes are the long, detailed job duties and descriptions offered by the majority of job seekers. Some of our clients present us with resumes that offer such long and detailed job descriptions that they are five or six pages long!
A good rule of thumb is to summarize three or four of your most important job duties and focus on accomplishments since the person reading your resume is probably familiar with what job duties a person in your field does on a routine basis. For example, if you are a software engineer, the reader is familiar with the routine job duties that a software engineer performs, and therefore, it is a waste of space to list all the job duties commonly performed by software engineers. Instead, a software engineer should focus on how he made a difference performing his job, e.g., his special achievements and projects.
Tip 2: You Don't Have To Offer Your Entire Work History
Most employers are only interested in the work you've been performing for the last 15 to 20 years, so if you want to leave off older work history, feel free to do so. If you're over fifty and think you might be facing some age discrimination, omitting older work history will make you appear younger on paper and help get your foot in the door.
Tip 3: Use Your Accomplishments to Make Your Resume Stand Out
As mentioned in Tip 1 above, employers don't want to read a boring, long list of routine job duties. What they really want to find out is what you can do for them, which means telling them how well you performed in past jobs. Therefore, tell them not just what you did, but how well you did it.