When talking about a past job experience, can we use present perfect tense?

For example; "after I started working for x co., i have had experiences on ... (I want to emphasize that i stil have these qualifications, but I am not working for that x company now. Or should I use past tense?

  • Does this answer your question? Between Present Perfect and Simple Past, which tense indicates a finished action?
    – Cascabel
    Nov 20 '20 at 18:53
  • In general, Present Perfect works with since, but not with after. And if you're not still working for X, it would probably make more sense to say Since leaving X, I have had [experience with Y, whatever]. Nov 20 '20 at 18:59
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    Does this answer your question? When do i use "I" and "I have"?
    – LPH
    Nov 20 '20 at 19:53
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    In resumes, all verbs are past tense, including all the crap I am doing right now as I write. Why? Because as soon as you hire me, it will all be in the past: Experienced in, worked on, drew from, designed, led, coordinated, developed, resolved, and above all, "saved 22%". Nov 20 '20 at 20:20
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    @YosefBaskin Indeed. Although I have not found it necessary in over 20+ years to post a CV, this still sounds like sensible advice.
    – Cascabel
    Nov 20 '20 at 21:31

The present perfect means that you are choosing to present the events as having some present relevance: the exact meaning of that relevance is variable.

I have had experience on ... generally means that your experiences are over a period that includes the present.

A likely interpretation is that you are still in the relevant job:

Since I joined XYZ, I have had experience on ...

sets up a strong presumption that you are still there.

However, you could be using it over your career (a period that includes the present). If so you would need to choose words to make it clear that you were not referring to a single job, eg

From the time I was at XYZ, and subsequently, I have had experience on ...

But if you are talking about experience at a job that is in the past, the past simple is much more natural.


"after I started working for x co., i have had experiences on ... "

That is unidiomatic. Present perfect expresses what has happened up to the current time. When it's used to discuss a duration after some point in time, "since" is used, rather than "after". Also, in this context, "experience" should remain singular, and it takes the preposition "in", rather than "on".

In this context, "experience" refers to the state of having done a certain type of work. The work happened in the past, but the experience is present tense: you currently are in the state of having done the work. So you can say "I have experience in X from my position Y". You can also say "I gained experience in X from doing Y" or "I have gained experience in X since starting Y".


You can, but simple past is more concise and more forceful.

For example: After I took this position, I obtained the Microsoft cert and the Cisco Networking cert.

People will assume that any certifications that you have obtained are still valid; if they were no longer valid, you would not mention them, right?

  • This a comment. You have the rep to post comments.
    – Cascabel
    Nov 20 '20 at 19:13

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