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    What's Relevant Experience on a Resume? [Meaning + Examples]

    Your friends get new jobs at full tilt, and you can’t get any? Might be of relevant work experience—if you don’t take it seriously, either a recruiter will do.

    Marta Bongilaj, CPRW
    Marta Bongilaj, CPRW
    Career Expert
    What's Relevant Experience on a Resume? [Meaning + Examples]

    You’re looking for a job, and your friend said he’d got one to recommend. He briefly explained key responsibilities for the role and added at the end in haste: “You need to have 2–3 years of relevant experience”.

    So you’re racking your brain trying to understand what did he really mean by this. What does the relevant experience mean? What is it relevant to? And how can you even measure it?

    Wonder no more. Read through the relevant experience definition and examples to unravel it.

    This guide will show you:

    • The meaning of relevant experience.
    • What counts as relevant experience for a job of your choice.
    • How to list relevant work experience on any resume (+ examples).
    • How to check how many years of relevant experience you have.
    • What if you don’t have relevant experience to put on your resume.

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     What Does Relevant Experience Mean?

    Relevant experience is any kind of professional experience that matches a job profile. It’s not only the experience gathered within the exact same industry, but also the expertise gained through other job professions. Adding your relevant work experience to a resume helps a recruiter get a grasp of how it can translate into the company's mission and day-to-day efforts.

    For example, if you’re seeking a marketing specialist position, your relevant experience might include either a social media strategist or a shopkeeper role. It is because both of them fuel your candidate's potential with accurate skills and knowledge. In this case, your portable skills are centered around communication, customer service, and sales, and they fit right in a marketing gig.

    What Counts as Relevant Experience For a Job?

    Let’s imagine this. You’re competing for a job as an English teacher, and you have your Bachelor of English Language and Linguistics. But they want you to prove already at least 1+ year of relevant experience. Can you think of any activities that helped you test yourself in teaching?

    Experience and professional knowledge derive from assorted areas. Here’s where relevant experience can be rooted:

    • Former employment
    • Own small business
    • Part-time gigs
    • Freelance work
    • Volunteering
    • Internships
    • Academic projects
    • After-school activities
    • Private tuition

    So—what about a homework club? Recall times when you spent hours lecturing English basics, slowly growing into the role. Or, what about that summer internship where you performed as a translator? Bingo! It can easily fill in your relevant experience container.

    How to Describe Resume’s Relevant Work Experience?

    Understanding the meaning of relevant experience is already half of the way. The other one is to present it in a manner compatible with a job posting. In other words, the work experience section should answer a hiring manager's expectations and affirm you’re on the same wavelength.

    Here’s how to list the resume’s relevant work experience:

    1. Study the job description

    Reading a job ad thoroughly is step number one. A job offer might look like a chunk of gold, but the requirements determine whether you can own it. Examine the job description concerning demanded skills, job responsibilities, or education prerequisites, and think if they’re akin to your own abilities.

    2. Make a list of matching qualifications

    Once studied the job description, extract the key terms that describe the role and create a whole image of an ideal candidate. To make it easier, write up a listing of qualifications demanded by a recruiter and pair them with your own assets.

    Do they correspond with each other? If you have any on your list that don’t qualify for the role, cross them off. Those that stay are the representation of your relevant experience.

    3. Prepare relevant job descriptions

    So you’ve identified your critical skills and abilities that fit the role. Now, you need to put them into words to make a recruiter immediately know you’re a match. When creating work experience bullets, focus on quantifiable achievements. Just recall the situations when you used your skills and knowledge, and achieved successes that can be expressed in numbers. 

    Examples of relevant experience

    Describing your relevant experience will vary depending on its scope. Let’s take a few examples to illustrate how you can approach it based on former experience.

    Example 1

    Let’s imagine that you’re applying for the role of financial accountant. So far, you’ve worked as an office assistant for over a year. They expect you to set up financial reports and evaluations, analyze cash balances and fund requirements, and conduct internal audits to ensure that expenditures align with contractual obligations.

    Here’s how to put forward your relevant experience:

    Office Assistant

    CrowdStrike, Remote

    January 2022–March 2023

    Key Qualifications & Responsibilities

    • Managed external contracts and identified the primary stakeholders. Acquired 3 key contractors leading to a 35% boost in revenue in the annual settlement.
    • Controlled and settled the company’s and employees’ expenses, ensuring 100% budgeting compliance.
    • Created and completed purchase orders according to the demand and in order to retain maximum profitability.
    • Maintained standardized documents and reports following the company’s standards. Rewarded by Executive Manager for exceptional commitment and reliability.

    Example 2

    Now, put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Let it be an enthusiastic student seeking a fitness instructor job. You have a Bachelor’s in Health and a summer internship experience where you took on an animator role. They want you to have exceptional communication skills, run high-quality classes, and assist participants in their training development.

    Take a look at how you can adjust your previous job description to the new role:

    Hotel Animator

    Good Story Vacations, NJ

    July 2022–September 2022

    Key Qualifications & Responsibilities

    • Conducted regular training sessions for diverse groups of participants, recording 95% attendance during the whole duration of the program.
    • Prepared various exercises: strength training, aerobics, balance and stability, coordination, and mobility.
    • Led morning yoga classes and recorded exceptional flexibility progress in 8/10 participants.
    • Received 100% positive feedback in which attendees highlighted the instructor’s clear communication and classes adjusted to personal capabilities.

    Example 3

    And what if you have vast experience in one industry but strive for a role in the other? Let’s take an experienced marketing leader who wants to pursue a new career as an HR assistant. A job posting dictates: assists with day-to-day operations of HR functions and duties, compiles and updates employee records, coordinates HR projects, and manages communication processes.

    Here’s how you can reply to these requirements by making use of your relevant experience:

    Marketing Lead

    PanelPlace, Remote

    June 2020–March 2023

    Key Qualifications & Responsibilities

    • Served as a key marketing leader for 5 team members, providing day-to-day support and guidance. Attained regular positive feedback on clear communication and mentoring.
    • Led and coordinated diversified marketing projects at once, maintaining 98% on-time executions and 20% better results on average than estimated prior to implementation.
    • Identified and assessed strategic business opportunities for company development. Rewarded 2 times by a marketing director for outstanding flexibility and open-mindedness.
    • Prepared and analyzed team evaluation reports, ensuring a growing trend in overall team performance. Reported 10% higher task efficiency on average monthly.

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    How Many Years of Relevant Experience Do You Have?

    To understand how many years of relevant experience you have, check how is your former experience pertinent to a role you’re applying for. Besides key responsibilities, consider if demanded job skills overlap with your capabilities. Remember that some of them are transferable, meaning you can take them from one job to another. A great example of this is communication skills valued in many positions.

    What if You Don’t Have Relevant Experience?

    There are two instances in which you might rag on having a little relevant experience—you’re either a fresh graduate or going through a career transition. Believe it or not, you already have some relevant experience to look back on. 

    As a university student, you might have had a chance to participate in some extracurricular activities, projects, and initiatives. All of these qualify for the relevant experience if you can only find common ground between them and your chosen job. 

    If you’re about to make a career move, you likely have transferable skills that appeared useful in your former position and can be leveraged in a new job. These are usually soft skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, time management, or decision-making.

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    Key Takeaway

    During recruitment processes, much emphasis is placed on relevant skills and achievements to hunt a candidate already prepared for a new role. The good news is that many professions convey responsibilities and skills versatile for a great range of positions.

    If you want to prepare a work experience section that is relevant to a chosen position, keep in mind the following:

    • You can source relevant experience from different areas, whether jobs, internships, voluntary work, freelance projects, or even your own side business.
    • Examining a job posting is key to understanding the hiring company’s expectations. Extract their job requirements and compare them with your former duties.
    • It’s important how you talk about your relevant experience. Focus on quantifiable achievements rather than beating around the bush.
    • Go as far as your cleverness can take you. If you can’t find relevant responsibilities, check if the two jobs share the same skills. If you’re short on ideas, think about soft skills.

    Need help with relevant experience and how to incorporate it into your resume? Not sure what counts as relevant experience? Share your thoughts in a comment. We’ll be happy to assist you.

    About ResumeLab’s Editorial Process

    At ResumeLab, quality is at the crux of our values, supporting our commitment to delivering top-notch career resources. The editorial team of career experts carefully reviews every article in accordance with editorial guidelines, ensuring the high quality and reliability of our content. We actively conduct original research, shedding light on the job market's intricacies and earning recognition from numerous influential news outlets. Our dedication to delivering expert career advice attracts millions of readers to our blog each year.

    Marta Bongilaj, CPRW
    Written byMarta Bongilaj, CPRW

    Marta Bongilaj is a career expert and a Certified Professional Résumé Writer. She's a member of the National Career Development Association and the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. She has a vast marketing background, which helps her give relevant advice on bringing out candidates’ strongest points and making their resumes a compelling read. In her articles, she underlines the importance of showcasing the most prominent skills, experiences, and qualifications in a resume to stand out in increasingly competitive job markets. Marta provides on-point tips on how to promote one’s candidature efficaciously at every career stage. Holding a philology degree, she believes that concise, persuasive language lies at the core of a successful resume. If you seek advice on marketing yourself to employers, no matter your recruitment stage, you’ve come to the right place.

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