Getting a promotion is always a good thing. You need to tout this on your resume. Having promotions on your resume will help make you a more attractive candidate for recruiters and hiring managers. But what is the best way to include promotions on a resume?
Writing a resume can be difficult, and knowing how to include promotions is another aspect that is sometimes tricky to figure out. You want to list promotions without taking a lot of extra space on your resume or making your job history confusing for your potential employers. There are some best practice ways to include promotions, depending on your job history. We’ll cover the basics for each option you can use for your resume-writing efforts.
Why include promotions on your resume?
The four ways to include promotions
In a separate section
For the same company, more than once
Why should you put promotions on your resume?
Getting a promotion is a badge of honor. They show that you are a strong performer, and are considered an asset to the company with the ability to take on extra responsibilities. Promotions also demonstrate you’re a reliable worker who’s able to move up in the company.
Your resume is all about showcasing your skills and achievements. Getting a promotion is definitely an accomplishment. It is also a milestone in your career and should be included as such. Don’t just assume that having progressively different job titles will indicate that you were promoted. You have to spell it out. This will make your resume more impressive and will help you stand out as a candidate with proven skills, growth, leadership, and successful experience.
How can you include promotions on your resume?
There are generally four accepted ways of portraying promotions on a resume.
Stacking. Stacking your promotions on your resume is useful if your progressive roles were very similar.
Individually listed entries. Good when promotions resulted in completely different positions within the same company or for lateral moves.
A separate section. Use a separate section when you have relevant work experience and promotions that are over ten years old.
The same company listed twice. Create an entirely new entry for each position to make them very distinct.
Each method has pluses and minuses. For example, stacking promotions can cause problems for applicant tracking systems (ATS) and may result in jobs or skills not being appropriately taken into account. We’ll look at each method in more detail, so you can decide which one works best for your background.
Stack your titles
When you have progressively moved up through a role or roles, but the job responsibilities were still basically the same, then showing the two or more titles in that job progression can be done under a single company entry on your resume. This is stacking the titles. For example, if you were promoted from a junior to a senior level and the job was basically the same, but with some added responsibilities. Stacking will save space and is a good way to go if you can combine your accomplishments under one company entry.
Place all your accomplishments in a bulleted list under the job description, and include accomplishments for both your pre- and post-promotion roles. Remember to list your most impressive accomplishments during the time you worked in these positions. You want to sell yourself and show why you are the best person for the job.
It is also a good idea to spell out your promotion by calling it out in one of the bullets. For example, you could say, “Promoted within 18 months for successfully completing three major initiatives under budget and ahead of schedule.” This shows you earned your promotion, instead of just getting it because someone quit, or you were in a position for a certain amount of time.
Show each title individually
If you were in very different roles within the same company or division, then you may want to show those as completely separate jobs. For example, if you were promoted from a systems administrator to an app developer, then you could list the company once, but separate the job titles and show them as two different positions, because they had totally different roles and responsibilities.
This method makes it very clear that you had separate duties and achievements for both positions. You will have separate bullet points to describe your biggest accomplishments and experience related to each role. Make sure all your bullets are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
For moves up the ladder, make sure you explain that clearly. Lateral moves still show managers you’re adaptable and have a wide range of strengths and skills. In either case, a hiring manager will notice you’ve had different positions within the same company, and will be impressed to see that you’re a dedicated and high performing employee.
Note: This format takes up more space on your resume, but it works well for ATS because each job title is individually identified and clearly separate from the other title. The experiences and bullets are also clearly related to each title, which also helps with ATS compatibility.
Make a separate section
For people with long careers and lots of jobs and promotions, then creating an entirely separate section is a useful formatting choice. The general rule of thumb is that any experience over ten years old can be summarized and placed in a different section, usually near the end of your resume.
Each entry in this section can be shortened down to just the job title, company, and the dates. Job descriptions and lists of accomplishments are not included. This works well to show how you have had a long and prestigious career. However, it may not clearly show promotions, but this is usually less of an issue for older work history. The most important thing is to show a continuous work history and clear progression upward.
If you do have some great achievements in your past, then you may want to list those in a separate accomplishments section on your resume. Be sure anything you list is relevant to the new job you are seeking because your resume space is limited.
Note: This method can save a lot of space, depending on how many jobs you want to list. It is acceptable to leave off job history that is very old or is irrelevant to the job you are applying for. Just make sure your dates are accurate, and you don’t have any big gaps.
Have the same company listed twice (more than once)
The last method is to list the company’s name and location a second time, but create separate sections for each job title. Otherwise, you follow the same format, including the job description and list of accomplishments. This is a good format to use, especially if you left the company for a time and then came back. It is also okay to use in general because it makes it very clear that each role was different and had its own duties and achievements.
This resume format does take a lot of space, so use it cautiously if you are short on space. On the positive side, it is a very ATS friendly format because it very clearly separates the job titles and has all the details for each (company, dates, etc.).
In closing, moving up the ranks clearly shows you are a great performer. It also demonstrates skills like hard work, perseverance, and dedication. Being recognized with a promotion (and raise) is the ultimate recognition that an organization can bestow on you. You’ve got to put this on your resume to highlight what a great employee you are and could be for your potential new employer. Add those promotions to your resume and get out there and snag that great new role!
Organize promotions on your resume in a way that makes it easy for recruiters, hiring managers, and applicant tracking systems (ATS) to understand your work experience.
The four ways you can list promotions are stacking entries, listing individually, creating a separate section, and listing the same company more than once.
Avoid using fancy formatting, tables, or columns because this can cause issues with ATS software.
Label all your promotions with clear dates.