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Relevant Experience: Why You Need it On Your Resume

You can always hear from HR specialists that job seekers should focus on relevant experience when writing a resume. Even though relevant experience sounds easy to define, many candidates have trouble aligning their criteria for a job they apply for. Unfortunately, they can't correctly identify which previous experience is relevant to their new job position. This article will dive deeper into the concept of relevant experience and how you can craft your resume considering your relevant experience.

What is a relevant experience?

Relevant experience is any past work experience that is somehow relevant to your target job you're applying for based on your gained skills and knowledge. For recruiters, this is one of the most crucial parts of your resume. So, be careful when writing it. Accordingly, it would help determine which job experience and skills the recruiter is looking for in job candidates. Of course, you can never read the recruiter's mind, especially if you've never met them before. But several tips will help you identify the company's needs and requirements.

Tips for finding out relevant experience for a new job position

1. Look through the job description

A job description is the best source for discovering what experience the recruiter is searching for. Here are a few steps you can carry out:
  • On a document, create two columns, one related to skills and the other duties or responsibilities.
  • Open the job description and read all the lines highlighting each responsibility and skill. 
  • Write them down in the created document.
  • Read your resume and highlight all the previous jobs that are somehow related to the written skills and responsibilities.
  • Create a list of those jobs and write a resume based on the list.
  • Don't forget to mention keywords from the new job description.

2. Delete irrelevant experience

You should take away the job experience that has nothing to do with the discovered skills or requirements. If you keep the irrelevant skills in your resume, you'll sound unprofessional. If you aren't sure if a particular skill is relevant to the current job or not, just include a new section called "Other skills" and add all of them there.

3. Focus on quality

Don't try to exaggerate and write the definition of relevancy more than it's supposed to be. Recruiters care about the quality of your relevant experience and not the quantity. Remember that the goal of the recruiters is to find out whether you have a particular skill or not. They don't care if you gained the relevant experience at one job or worked at 10 offices to get it.

4. Pay attention to achievements and tasks

Relevant work experience on resume Sometimes you may feel that the job title doesn't coincide with the job responsibilities you have. But stop here! Make the title relevant to the skills you have! For instance, you're a junior software developer who isn't familiar with Kanban and Scrum, but in the job descriptions, it's a requirement. In this case, write in your resume that you're familiar with Agile methodologies.

5. Paraphrase your current skills and professional experiences

For the relevant work experience, try to paraphrase your already gained skills if you don't have the ones mentioned in the job description. Keep the job title the same but rephrase its responsibilities to match it with the current job requirements. 

6. Use keywords in your resume

Use keywords in relevant experience That is one of the most critical steps as many recruiters implement applicant tracking systems. Find the main keywords related to the required skills and demonstrate your relevant work experience mentioning these keywords in your resume.

Examples of relevant experience

Example 1:

There are various ways to show your relevant experience on a resume. Whether you have years of experience in a required skill or not, emphasizing your relevant qualifications or making the existing ones relevant to the current job is of utmost importance. Below you can find a few examples to help you with this process and have more chances for an interview. Suppose you have extensive professional experience in another area but have decided to change your career. In that case, you can highlight the skills you already have, making them more relevant to the desired job description. For instance, you've worked as a project manager in the IT-sphere for more than 4 years, and you now want to start a career in UI/UX design. You attended a few courses but haven't worked as a UI/UX designer before. Here is your current professional experience: Project Manager Trust, Inc. September 2017- June 2020 Responsibilities: Planning projects with the Kanban and Scrum Organizing and motivating a project team Managing relationships with clients and stakeholders Participating in various processes of the project, i.e. design, submission and review   The recruiter of the company you are going to apply for is looking for a UI/UX designer who can work in an Agile atmosphere with international clients. Here's how you can make your resume relevant to the current job description: Project Manager Trust, Inc. September 2017- June 2020   Responsibilities: Implementing Agile methodologies during the planning process of the projects Organizing and motivating a project team Managing relationships with international clients  Being an active part of projects processes, i.e. design, submission and review

Example 2:

If you already have professional experience in a relevant area, creating a relevant experience won't take a lot of time. For instance, you worked as a software developer and now decided to move to another company. Here's your current resume: Software Developer MobiTech LLC. October 2016- August 2020   Responsibilities: Researched, designed, implemented and managed software programs Developing internal and external projects Working closely with other UX designers, developers, business and systems analysts.   The HR specialist is looking for a software developer who worked on more than ten projects and can work remotely with international team members. Here's how you can make the resume relevant to your skills: Software Developer MobiTech LLC. October 2016- August 2020 Responsibilities: Researched, designed, implemented and managed 20 software programs Working remotely with other team members in a multicultural atmosphere Good knowledge of English, Russian and French

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