How to Write a CV: Employment History
Updated: Apr 26
If you are looking for help to write a CV, a series of short articles and related videos by My CV Guide are providing quick and easy tips covering each section of a CV in turn. This is free CV advice that is easy to apply and will strengthen your CV in identifiable and meaningful ways. It goes beyond a lot of the generic CV advice you may have already seen by offering hints and tips you probably haven't thought of or considered before.
This is the fifth article in the series and focuses on how to cover your Employment History in a CV.
· Related: How to write a CV: Contact Details
· Related: How to write a CV: Personal Statement
· Related: How to write a CV: Key Skills
· Related: How to write a CV: Key Achievements
Your Employment History can give a prospective employer a valuable insight into a number of key aspects that will be of interest to them, including:
Roles you have been employed in previously
Level that you have operated at
Career path to-date
Areas of demonstrated competency by understanding what you have delivered and achieved within previous positions
An idea of the contexts that you have worked within.
This is a powerful combination of factors. Depending on your professional background and what you are applying to, you may find some of these will be easier or harder to demonstrate. There are so many ways that Employment History can offer value to a CV though, so there will always be a way of it working for you effectively. The key is to identify and present the details that are going to be of most interest to the reader, whatever they may be.
Top CV Tips
Chose a structure that works for you
There is no single career path that we should all follow. The experience you have, previous roles you have undertaken and your professional journey to date, can all help you decide on a structure that works best for you.
If your Employment History strongly matches the role being applied to then make sure this is a prominent section in your CV. If you have no experience, are changing careers or have moved roles frequently for any reason, then you may consider restructuring to a competency based CV structure or putting in a prominent Key Achievements and/or Key Skills section ahead of Employment History. These sections can be used to evidence your demonstrated competency and Employment History can then act more as a timeline of when and where you have been employed previously.
Don’t just provide a job description
One of the most common mistakes when providing employment history is to just state what you were employed to do; so basically providing a job description.
Instead, focus on what you actually achieved and delivered in role. What is it that you have done or are able to do that separates you from anybody else who has been employed in that role? What shows that you were successful at it? This is far more meaningful and will separate you from other applicants who have a similar Employment History to yourself.
Provide information clearly
Set out clearly the detail of your previous roles by giving job title, name of employer, location and dates of employment. This can be used as a subheading for each role you have had and follow it up with brief detail about the organisational context, department or team set up that you were a part of.
Use recognisable language rather than internal titles or descriptions that wouldn’t make sense to someone who hasn’t worked there themselves.
Provide figures and metrics to help quantify what you are describing.
Don’t repeat yourself
If you have worked in a number of comparable roles before, or have had areas of delivery that could be relevant to a number of previous positions, don’t simply repeat them each time. Some repetition is OK to consolidate the evidence, but only to a certain degree. Once an area of competency has been demonstrated focus on what else you can be highlighting in other roles that will broaden your CV and the evidence that you are providing.
Tailor the emphasis
As you provide evidence from previous roles, tailor the emphasis to focus on the details that will be most relevant to the position being applied for.
This can be in terms of the achievements and deliverables that you reference and the order that you present them, but also think about types of organisations, team structures, processes and legislation or regulations. These are all elements of your experience that may relate and so may have genuine value dependent on what the reader is looking for.
Good luck writing your CV and finding the true value in your Employment History.
For the other articles in this series, visit the My CV Guide Blog and for in-depth advice and guidance on how to write a CV, take a look at our downloadable CV Guide. Professional CV writing and CV review options are also available through our CV Review and CV Consultation services.
If you have any questions at all, take a look at answers to common CV questions on our free CV advice page and don't hesitate to get in touch at anytime. Whatever your CV needs, My CV Guide is here to help.