Making your work history more meaningful to a hiring manager

The Resume: Work History

by Stephen Baker


Everyone has a work history and everyone questions how to format this information in a way that will be meaningful to a hiring manager. Here is my proposal. There are many, but this one has worked for me and others. Life experience and opinions are a lot alike. We all walk to the buffet of life and take what will work for us. Take whatever you want from the following.

The Format:

Program Director
ABC Global 1998 05/2007
Tampa, FL

Accomplishments:

  • Completed a three-year program that provided…
  • Developed and directed a…
  • Streamlined…

Duties:

  • Reported to the Senior…
  • Identified disparate and conflicting…
  • Responsible for the strategic…
  • Advised on and implemented a number of high-impact…
  • Developed operating budget for…

Job Highlights: Success was dependent upon the management of schedule speed to market, new technology, business alliances, and cost. Hands on leadership of internal and external supply chain was crucial.

The Basics: Every job should have at least three accomplishments and five duties listed. Each one should start with an action verb. The action verb should be something that is easily related to that industry. For example, "Led" is always a winner, but the verb "create" is special to those creative industries. "Engineer" is meaningful to others.

The Seasoned Professional: You have decades of work history, but do not list every single job in detail. Continuity of employment is important but so is the mental well being of the hiring manager. If you drive them crazy, you will never get the interview. Focus on your current or last job. Then use the standard format for the "next" pertinent job that will strengthen your chance for the interview. All others get a Job Highlights summary under the job entry.

The Options: Have three versions of your work duties. Accentuate particular strengths or responsibilities. Keep these various formats in a word doc. When you venture upon a job opportunity that focuses on a particular strength, you will not have to revise your entire resume. Simply cut and paste. And above all be honest. (Article to be written)


Stephen Baker is a Program Director with 15 years of experience in the Fortune500. Over the years, he has been on both sides of the job hunt and offers straight advice on improving one's chances with getting that first interview. You can find more of Stephen's work at The Topeka Examiner.

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