When writing a CV, you need to know the difference between certain experiences. Not all experiences are relevant and equally important, and you need to be aware of that. Relevant experience represents experience closely connected to your desired job position.
Let’s explain the meaning of relevant experience more closely, so you know what to pay attention to.
What does relevant work experience even mean?
When writing a CV, you might need to include all of your previous experience. In light of that, there is a certain experience that needs to be highlighted, and that is your relevant work experience.
Relevant experience is the experience that is relevant for your desired job position. For example, if you are looking for a job position in the administration, having worked as an office administrator is considered relevant work experience. Every experience closely connected to your desired job position is relevant.
Furthermore, relevant work experience shows that you have all the necessary skills for being successful in the desired sector. As soon as the employers see the word relevant, they develop a positive attitude towards you because they automatically assume you have all the skills and knowledge they’re looking for in a candidate.
How can you know which work experience is relevant?
If you are not sure whether you have the relevant experience needed for a certain job position, research the desired job position in detail.
First, do research on the duties and skills of your desired job position. This means you need to search for job descriptions online, and it’s fairly easy to do. Simply type your desired position + “job duties” or “job description” or “skills needed”.
If we take, for example, the office administrator position, your search would be like this:
- office administrator job duties
- office administrator job description
- skills needed for an office administrator
Once you have done a thorough research of the desired job position, it’s time for the next step. Your next step is to look for overlaps between your previous jobs and the desired job position. What this means in real life is, you need to dissect your desired job position and compare it to your previous roles. Whatever matches or is very similar, that is your relevant work experience.
If you worked as a retail assistant and now want to move to an office assistant, some of the overlapping duties & skills needed would be:
- ability to work in a team
- inventory management
- ability to handle pressure & queries
- familiarity with the office equipment
- payment processing: issuing receipts, handling refunds, giving back change
- keeping accurate (sales) records
So, what you need to do in your CV is highlight those relevant skills and duties. That’s your relevant work experience because those overlaps represent your competence in the desired sector so make sure to highlight them!
How should you present relevant work experience?
Having relevant work experience in your CV is what attracts the employer’s or the recruiter’s attention. In light of that, relevant work experience should always come at the first half of the page in your CV. This is because it is the most important experience – after all, it is relevant. Moreover, you should only include duties relevant to the desired job position.
Putting relevant work experience in the first half of your first CV page makes the relevant experience stand out. Make sure to highlight it since you can often find it in the requirement section of job ads!
How to properly highlight your relevant work experience?
Employers make hiring decisions based on your relevant experience, skills, knowledge, motivation, and attitude. In your CV, you can demonstrate your relevance for the role by properly highlighting your work experience.
Explain your duties and mention the skills you possess. Make an effort to show that you are an experienced candidate who possesses all the necessary skills and knowledge.
Do not fall into trap of providing too much information! While describing a relevant job position, keep in mind that the reader only wants to see what they are looking for in a candidate. Therefore, focus on those things that are mentioned in the job ad. In addition, you need to describe those duties in a precise and clear way.
Only by doing so will the reader understand you truly possess relevant work experience, skills, and knowledge.
Keep in mind that quality is more important than quantity!
Describing relevant job responsibilities in long sentences will not make you look more competent. Similarly, accuracy and precision in describing relevant job positions are what employers care for.
It is not enough to just have relevant work experience. The proper description is what attracts the employer’s attention so keep an eye on that!
More useful advice
Check out our other blog posts on CV writing and feel free to contact us if you feel like you don’t have time to deal with CV writing. That’s what we’re here for – to help people get ahead.