Relevant Resume Employment Experience

by Professor Manie Spoelstra

Learn how to make your employment resume stand out by knowing how to use the most relevant qualifications and experience that applies to the job or position

Can a C.V./Resume make a difference?

Naturally, the best response to this question would be to say; "It depends". Your C.V. (Curriculum Vitae, Resume or Personal Details) will not make the cut if you've presented a prospective employer with the 'wrong' information.

Since the human resource department receives many applications for a position they will usually scan the C.V.'s very quickly and will react to even the smallest positive or negative salient point in your C.V!

Clearly, you have to do it right and ensure the most impressive and applicable information leaps out and grabs their attention!

Let's begin by learning what you should not do:

  1. Never submit a resume written by hand or in a fancy but difficult-to-read font with too much information crammed into too small a space.
  2. Read and understand advertisement! Never apply for a position if you do not possess the necessary qualifications.
  3. Do not list any employment experience where you did not work more than six months within the last 10 years.
  4. Never say you are "Unemployed".
  5. Do not tell them that: "Left employment because of a personality clash with my boss".
  6. Never indicate: "Any salary".
  7. Do not give references such as: "Pastor Pete Starbull, Church of the Golden Moon, mobile: 065 788 6777" - It is even better in fact if you don't provide any references at all. Simply indicate that references can be supplied upon request. This provides you the opportunity to ask them what kind of references they would prefer to see.
  8. Should you apply for a specialised position such as chief buyer, don't bother the employer with irrelevant courses like: Certificate in Fly Fishing, Certificate in Jazz Music, Passed the Senior Diploma in Horse Breeding - always present relevant information only..
  9. Beware of noting particular hobbies that could evoke strong negative sentiments or suggest a lack of work focus, such as: "Represented the county in golf(handicap 2) on three overseas trips in 2003; Earned 9 silver medals in rare game hunting, Chairman of the 'Legalise Marijuana' campaign".

What you SHOULD do?

The Essentials

Arrange a unique C.V. for each position you are submitting an application for and make it look conventional. Practically every H.R. Recruiter in the world prefers you do this. Most recruiters are conventional people, and they have a very clear notion of what they expect to see when they read a C.V.

Scanning through a resume or C.V. is similar to walking into a restaurant - we know what to expect. In a restaurant, you expect there will be tables and a menu. They will ask to take our order, and that the food will have to be paid for before you leave. They will likely also expect a gratuity. Receiving an unusual resume or C.V. could be compared to walking into the restaurant and seeing no tables or serving staff. We might just walk out!

  • Full name
  • Home address
  • Telephone number
  • Mobile number
  • Fax number
  • Email address

(Always include your name, address and telephone number on the first page of your C.V.).


Take a close look at the ideal candidate required from the job advertisement. Ask yourself this question -What qualifications is this potential employer looking for? These are the qualifications to focus on.

Do not waste their time listing every qualification you've obtained as you must keep the information relevant and impressive.

There are some qualifications, like a university degree for example, that are regarded as relevant information in most circumstances. Then there are other qualifications, such as a first aid course, may be seen as useful and even relevant for some jobs, but would look odd being listed for others as it is not relevant to the position.

Your number of years you have been working will also help you decide what to include and what to leave out. Individual who are still in their first five years of work should note that their educational background is very important and should be listed in reasonable detail. For this with more than five years of employment experience, you should be a bit more selective about what you use. The reason is because some qualifications become outdated quickly. For example, would it make sense to claim to be a computer expert on the basis of a computing degree obtained 15 years ago? You will not look very convincing. In this instance, the evidence you provide about recent work in the field will count for a lot more.

Be clear, concise and always use the job ad as reference to make sure your information is relevant.

The order in which you list qualifications is normally:

  • Highest postgraduate qualification
  • Highest undergraduate qualification
  • Secondary school qualifications

There is one point to keep in mind even though it may not apply to many people. Should you possess a PHD, keep in mind that the title of PHDs can often appear to be so obscure or trivially narrow as to detract from a great achievement. If you do possess a very specialised title that is not going to be directly relevant to the job applied for, then stick to the general subject discipline name (such as Chemistry, Physics, English, or Psychology).

If you have a post secondary degree, the majority of employers will credit you with a certain degree of intelligence. It would be useful to list a few subjects you covered at secondary school as it could indicate a sense of your versatility. For example, should you posses an arts degree, it is probably worth listing "mathematics, chemistry, statistics" or other numerate subjects studied at secondary school, as this gives an indication of rounded abilities. The opposite can be said for science graduates, who might list English and Political Science if applicable.

You certainly mention and list any special thesis topic or aspect of your studies that is particularly relevant to the position.

Never assume that the HR specialist or employer will understand all qualifications. For instance, what do the following mean?

  • SNVQ

If have any doubt then explain what they mean.

If you are applying for a job in another country, you should especially never assume these employers will understand what your qualifications mean. Explain your grades in accordance to the employer's local grading or educational system.

Your work history

Employment history is the most "wordy" part of the C.V. This is where you have to influence your reader by carefully crafting your writing style, the words you use, and the manner in how you describe yourself.

Normally, you should list your most recent job first, and then move backwards in time chronologically. Should you have a very extensive work history with many different jobs, it is recommended you limit listing full details of the positions held in the past ten years. If there are some prior jobs that are particularly relevant to the application then these should be included.

For each job you should list:

  • Dates (in years) of employment
  • Job title
  • Employer's name and city location if appropriate
  • Your responsibilities (keep it brief)
  • Your achievements in the job

Modify the C.V. to suit the requirements of the job post and always mention you achievements (not just duties), because your achievements are what will really sell you.

Achievements, the last point on this list is possibly one of the most important. Providing a job description is simply not enough. Keep in mind that if a recruiter has to review a lot of similar backgrounds like the one you possess, they may become bored to tears and may not even read your C.V. What makes you stand out and appear different, more employable, are all of your achievements

Tip: Turn your responsibilities into achievements!

For example: Rather than simply indicate the major responsibilities in this role, expand them to note:

  • Overall accountability for the product, merchandising and promotions for the 120 stores throughout Europe
  • Financial control of the purchasing budget
  • Managing a team of 12 buying and merchandising staff


In constructing your C.V., begin at the top of the first page and put your full name. It should be in bold type, at a size of 20 points, and centered. Leave plenty of white space beneath this heading.

  • Education details should come next, followed by
  • Professional associations
  • Work history and
  • References


Headings must be consistent in appearance. They should all be the same font and size.

You must leave plenty of white space on your C.V. so it will not appear cluttered. If you put too much writing on a page, your C.V. will be hard to read, unappealing, and not recruiter friendly.


Use the same font consistently throughout the C.V.. Bullet points are quick and easy to read, and appear both professional and attractive on a page, but so long as there are not too many of them and overdone. If you are going to use bullet points you should make sure they make sense.

Other important layout and presentation issues

  • Don not underline headings as they tend to look messy
  • Do not write on both sides of the paper.
  • Have your C.V. laser-printed.
  • Do not use colour in your C.V.
  • Do not use clip-art, cartoons or other illustrations on your C.V.
  • Use high-quality white paper
  • Do not fold or crease your C.V.

Good 'selling' words

  • Presented, Attracted
  • Persuaded, Transformed
  • Supervised, Accredited
  • Managed, Illustrated
  • Implemented, Compiled
  • Finalized, Development
  • Engineered, Established
  • Expanded, Demonstrated

Words that can boost the power even more include

  • Competently, Effectively
  • Assertively, Enthusiastically
  • Cooperatively, Enthusiastically
  • Selectively, Decisively
  • Consistently, Creatively
  • Flexibly, Innovative

Words with negative connotations should be avoided if possible. they include

  • Avoided, Failed, Dismissed,
  • Withdrew, Abandoned, Relinquished,
  • Conflicted, Argued, Struggled

The Covering Letter

Every C.V. must be accompanied by a covering letter. The covering letter must be taken seriously. The covering letter should include the following information:

  • Your (typed) name, address and phone number
  • The name of the person to whom you are writing
  • Their job title
  • Their address
  • The initial greeting
  • The job you are applying for
  • Reference number
  • Where you saw the post advertised
  • Eye catching statements e.g. ( I have over five years experience as a machinist with Peters and Stone, and have experience of a wide variety of pattern techniques.)
  • A couple of sentences about the reason you selected this employer
  • A polite request for a response
  • Your signature and your name typed below it

What do recruiters like most in C.V.'s?

  • Relevant experience
  • Layout
  • Qualifications

What do recruiters dislike in a C.V?

  • Lack of experience
  • Previous employment history is not the right mix for the position your are applying.
  • Academic, little experience. Lacks ambition and enthusiasm, no continuity of employment.
  • Layout of C.V. is unappealing to the eye because it's a little difficult to read.
  • Mainly research experience
  • Poor layout

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Writing Your CV - 2018 Sep 19
Commentator: Prateek (India)

"This is the height of desperation and although it may work in very instances, but it is a big myth that should be done away with. For those who have got a job by lowering their salary demands have often become frustrated after a few months about their salary. There are certain expectations from the job and the salary that you are getting. Here is useful website that tells us about the best cv writing service in delhi"

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7 of 10 people found the following comment useful:

Resume writing tips are essential - 2013 Jan 30
Commentator: Pravin Dalal (India - Oslo)

"I have gone through the article and found it practicle. It is really helpful to represent ourself in such compitative world.


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