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What Counts as Work Experience on a Resume? — Solved

What Counts as Work Experience on a Resume? — Solved

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The work experience section on a resume is arguably the most vital one, as employers measure employee’s skills based on their past job experiences.

There are more types of work that can be included in this section than traditional jobs, so which ones are the most appropriate to include? 


What Counts as Work Experience on a Resume?

Work experiences on a resume can include traditional jobs, volunteering, internships, babysitting, research, and more. If an experience included the completion of a task, payment, working under supervision, or following instructions, it can be counted as work experience on a resume.

Work experiences can vary incredibly depending on who you ask, and at what stage of life they are at. For students, work experiences on a resume may be quite different from those who have been working for ten or twenty years.

Any task you complete on a deadline and see it through until fruition may be considered a job. If you have a schedule and are expected to show up or to be working on certain days, this could certainly be considered a job. If you earn money from it, it is likely a job! 

Even work done on your own time or remote work count as work experience.

A potential employer wants to see you dedicated your skills and time toward something, and there were expectations of you that you met. There are many ways besides traditional jobs you can show this, so let’s look at a few! 


Do unpaid jobs count as work experience on a resume?

Unpaid jobs such as volunteering, research, babysitting, or internships can count as work experiences. These types of tasks should be listed in the same way as paid work experiences. Do not include the words ‘unpaid’ in the listings, as it is unnecessary and can damage your chances.

Unpaid jobs can still require the same amount of hard work and skill necessary to complete the task. Especially in the case of unpaid internships, this experience is thorough enough that it is deserving of being listed in the work experience section. 

Once you have paid professional work experience, it is best to replace the unpaid work on your resume. Employers will value company employee experience over volunteer or sporadic experience, so only include these if you do not have other relevant experience that you can list.


Do university classes or educational experiences count as work experiences?

University classes and educational experiences do not count as work experiences, though there are a few exceptions. Post-graduate research and teacher’s assistant experiences can count, as well as official tutoring. Only include these experiences if they are relevant to the desired job. 

Although many skills can be acquired from a class, ultimately these are not work experiences. Classes should be listed in either the education section or the skills section, and only if they resulted in a necessary skill to do the job you are applying for.

Research can be considered work experience so long as it is post-graduate research, and not undergraduate.

It involves a good amount of task management, meeting deadlines, and is almost always conducted under the management of a professor.

For these reasons, post-graduate research fits well in the experience section.

Being a TA (teacher’s assistant) is excellent experience to list in the experience section because it is usually a paid job. There are many documents to keep track of and grade, it often involves e-mail correspondence, and you are given tasks by someone directly.  


Do short-term or temporary jobs count as work experience?

Both short-term and temporary jobs can count as work experience on a resume. Regardless of length, these two things meet all the requirements of being a job. The question becomes ‘should you put these on a resume?’ to which the answer depends on the situation.

Short-term jobs, even as short as one-month, can be included in this section. This is especially true for those who do not have much work experience, as it could be the only experience they have.

It’s recommended to replace this experience once you’ve held a more steady job in the future, however.

Temporary jobs are considered work experience because most temporary jobs are contract-based or seasonal. It is no fault of the employee that the work duration ended, and there are great ways to signal the employer to this fact.

Including these on a resume is perfectly acceptable, but replace them with longer-term work once you have that experience.


How can you format different types of work experience on a resume?

The work experience section should always remain uniform, with every experience contained formatted in the same way. Each experience should include the employer name, job title, the dates worked, and a description of responsibilities and accomplishments. 

An example of a current internship listed in the work experience section is as follows: 



St. Mary’s General Hospital – Medical Intern (3-2020) – (Present)

  • Managed the reception area of the emergency department
  • Ordered and analyzed the results of diagnostic tests
  • Updated and stored patient charts in accordance with HIPAA policies

An example of a volunteering position could be formatted to fit the work experience section like in the following example:



Greenville Humane SocietyVolunteer Animal Caretaker       (12-2014) – (5-2015)

  • Assisted in the care of a variety of animals in a medium-sized animal shelter
  • Groomed animals’ fur and nails, ensuring they were healthy and presentable
  • Kept records of and made appointments for animals up for adoption


As for how to list research on a resume goes, this can be a little bit different. In this listing, you want to make assess how relevant the specific research you were conducting is to the desired job. If it is truly relevant, you may include a sentence in italics detailing the research you were conducting. 

This can be seen in the following example:



Department of Economics, Winchester University — Research Assistant (6-2019) – (4-2020)

Assisted in researching, writing, and publishing information about the economic trends of income status within the last thirty years in the city of Winchester. 

  • Collected data through surveys on income and economic status
  • Compiled samples and cross-referenced academic data of previous years
  • Completed data analysis and co-published findings in The Journal of Societal Economics

If the research is not specifically relevant to the desired job, then you may still include the research position in the work experience section. Do not include the sentence describing the type of research.

You can expand upon this if asked in the interview, but always try not to draw an employer’s focus to unnecessary things.