Career Coach, Professional Resume Writer, Freelance Writer
When looking for a job, your resume becomes a crucial element. From making a great first impression to showcasing all your achievements and potential, your resume has to portray your professional story in minutes.
Research has found that recruiters spend about seven seconds analyzing a resume before deciding a candidate’s fate. They spend most of that time scanning your resume’s job descriptions for any essential experiences and skills. From there, they determine if you’d be a good match for the job.
That’s why giving your job descriptions the attention they deserve is vital. If you’re unsure of how to write a job description for a resume, you’ve come to the right place. Here we look at why your job descriptions matter. Then, we’ll demonstrate how to showcase your past achievements.
What is a Resume Job Description?
Job descriptions are a crucial part of any resume. They contain information on past work experience, achievements, and any key benefits your work has brought to your employer. In essence, it’s a summary of all your duties and responsibilities. It can also include projects where you’ve gone above and beyond to exceed customer expectations, met harsh deadlines, or helped a team member.
Why Having a Job Description is Important?
Job descriptions are usually the first place recruiters look to get an idea of whether or not you have the required experience. Your work experience is the main part of any resume. It showcases your personality, skills, and key qualities as an employee. Additionally, an applicant tracking system (ATS) often scans resumes for specific keywords. So, your job description is the perfect place to add those keywords.
Important Components of Resume Job Description
Knowing how to write a job description for a resume begins with accepting the fact that writing a job description is about engaging your reader. Job descriptions that are vague, long-winded, or poorly formatted make hiring managers lose interest. In worst-case scenarios, employers may even get the wrong impression of who you are as an employee.
Instead, keep your job description neat and to the point. The essential elements to include are:
- Job title
- Name of employer
- Dates of employment
- Key results and achievements by relevance to the job ad you’re applying for
- Specific problems you’ve solved and how you’ve achieved that
- Specific projects you’ve led or you’ve been part of and the outcomes of those projects
Ensure you use consistent formatting throughout your resume and tailor your job descriptions to each new job.
Likewise, if you’re applying for a job in another city or state, make sure it’s clearly stated in your resume that you’re prepared to move for the job.
How to Write an Effective Resume Job Description
When beginning to write a job description for a resume, getting caught up in all the formalities can be easy. But in actuality, you only need to follow these eight tips to create an engaging job description.
Start with Basic Details about the Job
You can offer a one-line description of your primary focus in each role before going into more specific details about your accomplishments and key outcomes.
Focus on Your Skills and Achievements
Hiring managers love reading what you’ve done for your past employers as that can give them an instant idea of what they can expect to get from you if they hire you. Instead of talking in general terms about your responsibilities, frame them in the context of specific results and achievements.
Give Priority to Your Qualifications
Qualifications are particularly important if you’re straight out of university or don’t have much work experience. If that’s the case, they should go at the top of your resume. On the other hand, if you’re a mid-senior professional with years of professional experience, your qualifications should go at the bottom of the resume.
That said, don’t forget to include additional certifications and accreditations you’ve received post-university. Even if they’re not the most relevant qualifications for the job, they can demonstrate your desire to learn and grow, and that’s always a desirable quality.
Mention Relevant Experience
You may love gardening or writing Harry Potter fan fiction, but the hiring manager doesn’t care about that. Instead, write your job descriptions so that they speak directly to the requirements and job responsibilities outlined in the job ad. If they’re asking for someone who’s results-oriented and not afraid of taking initiative, write down specific examples that demonstrate these qualities in you.
Emphasize Your Responsibilities
It’s important to talk about YOUR specific responsibilities and duties rather than the team at large. If you’ve worked on a bigger project with multiple stakeholders, narrow down your job description to your specific contributions to that project. Questions to ask yourself to target specific, noteworthy information are
- What were my responsibilities?
- What tasks did I complete?
- What soft and hard skills did I have to utilize?
- What was the result?
- What did I learn?
Seventy-five percent of recruiters today use ATS software to sift through hundreds of resumes. These systems scan the resumes for specific keywords from the job ad. So, read carefully through the job specification and see what keywords repeat across the text. Then weave them through your job descriptions.
Add and Optimize Bullet Points
You don’t want the recruiter or hiring manager to struggle reading your resume. Make their job easy by clearly organizing your thoughts and adding bullet points where appropriate.
You may be asked to elaborate on various points in your resume during an interview. So, there’s no point in lying about your achievements. Instead, try to be strategic about what aspects of your achievements you highlight and how you position them in the job description.
Resume Job Description Example
Global Director of Sales – Cisco
January 2020 – Present
- Manage a team of seven account executives and exceed sales targets through pro-active outbound sales and an active land and expand strategy;
- Exceeded sales targets by 15% in 2021 by delivering new sales training and incorporating a new strategy for identifying and qualifying leads;
- Shortened the sales cycle by 30% by updating the pitch deck and delivering more tailored client demos;
- Liaised with product development to improve the functionality of a new product line and spearheaded its launch to market, resulting in 40% market penetration in the first six months
Frequently Asked Questions on Resume Job Description
What Should You Write in a Job Description?
Job descriptions should contain key information on the previous jobs you’ve had including
- Job title
- Name of employer
- Time of employment
- Specific accomplishments and results
How Much Job Experience Should I List on Resume Description
It depends on how long you’ve worked there. If you’ve only worked at a company for a couple of months, it doesn’t make sense to list half a page of tasks and responsibilities. Even if you’ve worked at a company for longer, you want to keep your descriptions to the point and not have your resume exceed two pages (three pages are acceptable for senior professionals with over ten years of work experience). So only include your best tasks and achievements, which should be condensed into 4-5 bullet points.
Why is a Job Description Important for a New Employee?
From an employer’s perspective, their job descriptions can help new employees understand their responsibilities better and uncover any skills gaps and needs for additional training.
In today’s labor market where a single job ad can attract hundreds of applicants, it can be difficult to make yourself stand out. However, there are certain things you can do to increase your chances of getting noticed and landing that coveted job.
Besides an impeccable and error-free cover letter, you also need a professional resume that speaks directly to the job ad you’re applying for. Your job descriptions, in this context, are your gold. They offer you plenty of space to highlight your achievements, skills, and willingness to go the extra mile. Put all these things together and you can rest assured that your diligence won’t go unnoticed.