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How to present your previous employment experience in your CV

cv employment experience

When it comes to crafting a compelling CV, presenting your previous employment experience effectively is crucial. This section of your CV can make or break your chances of securing an interview, as it provides potential employers with a snapshot of your career progression, skills, and accomplishments. At CV People UK, we understand the importance of highlighting your professional history in a way that not only showcases your responsibilities but also emphasises your achievements. In this guide, we’ll explore the best practices for presenting your previous employment experience, provide examples of what to include, and illustrate the difference between listing duties and highlighting achievements.

Understanding the Importance of Your Employment Experience Section

Why Emphasise Achievements Over Duties?

Listing duties provides a basic understanding of your role, but emphasising achievements demonstrates your ability to add value to an organisation. Achievements provide tangible evidence of your skills and contributions, setting you apart from other candidates who may have similar job titles but lack quantifiable results.

How Achievements Enhance Your CV

  1. Demonstrates Impact: Achievements show how you have positively impacted your previous employers.

  2. Showcases Skills: They highlight key skills and competencies relevant to the job you are applying for.

  3. Provides Evidence: Concrete examples of your accomplishments provide proof of your capabilities.

  4. Engages Employers: A CV rich in achievements is more engaging and compelling to hiring managers.

Structuring Your Employment Experience Section

Key Components to Include

  1. Job Title and Company Name: Clearly state your job title and the name of the company.

  2. Location and Dates of Employment: Include the city and country, and the duration of your employment.

  3. Brief Company Description: If the company is not well-known, provide a short description.

  4. Responsibilities and Duties: Outline your core responsibilities, but keep this section concise.

  5. Achievements and Accomplishments: Highlight your key achievements, using quantifiable metrics where possible.

Example of a Well-Structured Employment Experience Entry:

Marketing Manager, ABC Corporation
London, UK | January 2018 – Present

ABC Corporation is a leading global consumer goods company specialising in health and hygiene products.

- Developed and implemented comprehensive marketing strategies to enhance brand awareness and customer engagement.
- Managed a team of 10 marketing professionals, providing guidance and support to achieve departmental goals.

- Increased social media engagement by 50% through targeted campaigns.
- Led a rebranding initiative that resulted in a 25% increase in sales within six months.
- Successfully launched three new products, generating £2 million in revenue.

The Difference Between Duties and Achievements

Duties Without Achievements

Listing duties without achievements provides a static view of your role and fails to convey your contributions. This approach can make your CV appear generic and unimpressive.

Example of Duties Without Achievements:

Sales Associate, XYZ Retail
Manchester, UK | June 2015 – December 2017

- Assisted customers with product enquiries and purchases.
- Managed inventory and restocked shelves.
- Handled cash transactions and maintained accurate records.

Duties with Achievements

Combining duties with achievements illustrates not only what you did but how well you did it, showcasing your impact and value to the organisation.

Example of Duties with Achievements:

Sales Associate, XYZ Retail
Manchester, UK | June 2015 – December 2017

- Assisted customers with product enquiries and purchases.
- Managed inventory and restocked shelves.
- Handled cash transactions and maintained accurate records.

- Consistently exceeded monthly sales targets by 20%.
- Implemented a new inventory system that reduced stock discrepancies by 15%.
- Received ‘Employee of the Month’ award three times for outstanding customer service.

How to Write Achievement-Focused Entries

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Identify Key Achievements: Reflect on your past roles and identify key achievements. Think about projects you led, targets you met or exceeded, and any recognition you received.

  2. Quantify Achievements: Use numbers to provide context and scale to your achievements. For example, “Increased sales by 30%” or “Reduced costs by £10,000”.

  3. Use Action Verbs: Start each bullet point with a strong action verb such as “Led”, “Implemented”, “Achieved”, “Enhanced”, or “Reduced”.

  4. Provide Context: Briefly explain the context of your achievements to give employers a clear understanding of your contributions.

Example of Achievement-Focused Entries:

Project Manager, Innovative Solutions Ltd
Birmingham, UK | March 2016 – Present

Innovative Solutions Ltd is a technology company providing cutting-edge software solutions.

- Led cross-functional teams to deliver complex projects on time and within budget.
- Coordinated with clients to understand their requirements and ensure project alignment.

- Successfully managed a £1 million project, delivering it 10% under budget and two weeks ahead of schedule.
- Increased client satisfaction scores by 25% through improved project management processes.
- Implemented a new project tracking system that reduced project turnaround time by 15%.

Examples of Poorly Written Employment Experience vs. Achievement-Focused Career History

Poorly Written Employment Experience

A poorly written employment experience section lacks detail, context, and quantifiable achievements. It fails to engage the reader or demonstrate your impact.

Example of a Poorly Written Entry:

Administrative Assistant, Office Services Inc
Liverpool, UK | January 2017 – Present

- Answered phones and directed calls.
- Managed office supplies and inventory.
- Scheduled appointments and meetings.

Achievement-Focused Career History

An achievement-focused career history provides a comprehensive view of your role, responsibilities, and the impact you made.

Example of an Achievement-Focused Entry:

Administrative Assistant, Office Services Inc
Liverpool, UK | January 2017 – Present

Office Services Inc is a provider of administrative support services to small and medium-sized businesses.

- Answered phones and directed calls, ensuring professional and efficient communication.
- Managed office supplies and inventory, maintaining optimal stock levels.
- Scheduled appointments and meetings, coordinating with various departments and clients.

- Streamlined the scheduling process, reducing appointment booking errors by 20%.
- Implemented a new inventory management system, cutting supply costs by 15%.
- Recognised for exceptional customer service, receiving positive feedback from clients and colleagues.

The Importance of Including Tangible Achievements

Sets You Apart as a Candidate

Incorporating tangible achievements into your CV sets you apart from other candidates. While many applicants may have similar job titles and responsibilities, your achievements provide unique evidence of your capabilities and successes.

Demonstrates Value

Achievements demonstrate the value you bring to an organisation. Employers are looking for candidates who can contribute to their success, and showcasing your achievements proves that you have a track record of making a positive impact.

Provides Evidence of Skills

Achievements provide concrete evidence of your skills and competencies. For example, stating that you “Increased sales by 30%” shows your effectiveness in sales and your ability to drive results.

Engages Employers

A CV that highlights achievements is more engaging and compelling. Employers are more likely to be interested in candidates who can show they have made significant contributions in their previous roles.

Tips for Identifying and Writing Achievements

Reflect on Your Career

Take time to reflect on your career and identify key achievements. Think about projects you led, goals you met, challenges you overcame, and any recognition you received.

Use the STAR Method

The STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) is a useful framework for writing achievements. Briefly describe the situation, the task you were assigned, the action you took, and the result of your efforts.

Example Using the STAR Method:

Achievement: Implemented a new CRM system

- Situation: The company’s existing CRM system was outdated and inefficient.
- Task: Tasked with finding and implementing a new CRM system.
- Action: Researched various options, selected a suitable system, and coordinated the implementation process.
- Result: Improved customer relationship management, resulting in a 20% increase in customer satisfaction scores.

Quantify Your Achievements

Whenever possible, quantify your achievements with numbers, percentages, or other metrics. This provides context and scale, making your accomplishments more impressive and concrete.

Highlight Relevant Achievements

Focus on achievements that are relevant to the job you are applying for. Tailor your CV to highlight the skills and accomplishments that align with the job description and the employer’s needs.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Being Too Vague

Avoid vague statements that lack detail and specificity. Instead of saying “Improved sales”, specify how much you improved sales by and how you achieved it.

Vague Statement:

  • Improved sales.

Specific Statement:

  • Increased sales by 25% through targeted marketing campaigns and improved customer engagement.

Overloading with Duties

While it’s important to include your responsibilities, don’t overload your CV with a long list of duties. Focus on key responsibilities and balance them with significant achievements.

Using Passive Language

Use active language and strong action verbs to describe your achievements. Passive language can make your CV sound weak and uninspiring.

Passive Language:

  • Was responsible for managing the project.

Active Language:

  • Led and managed the project, delivering it on time and within budget.

Including Irrelevant Information

Ensure that the information you include is relevant to the job you are applying for. Irrelevant details can clutter your CV and distract from your key achievements.


Presenting your previous employment experience effectively is essential to creating a compelling CV. By emphasising achievements over duties, you can demonstrate your value, engage potential employers, and set yourself apart as a standout candidate. At CV People UK, we specialise in helping you craft a CV that highlights your professional history and showcases your accomplishments, ensuring you make a lasting impression. Follow these guidelines to transform your employment experience section into a powerful testament to your career achievements.


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