10 Formal Synonyms for “Hands-on Experience” on Your Resume

Are you trying to mention the “hands-on experience” you’ve received at work?

Maybe you’re trying to spice up your resume, but you’re worried the phrase is a bit repetitive.

If you want your CV to stand out, you’ve come to the right place.

This article will explain how to mention “hands-on experience” on a resume in different ways.

Is It Formal to Say “Hands-on Experience”?

It is formal to say “hands-on experience.” It’s a very common choice in resumes and shows that you’ve got a lot of practical experience surrounding a subject.

It’s a good resume word and is important to mention. Employers will be thrilled to learn that you’ve already got a lot of experience relating to whatever they’re trying to do with their company.

This example will show you how to write “hands-on experience” on a resume:

I have hands-on experience in this field. Therefore, I know that I’ll be able to bring a lot of knowledge with me.


  • It’s professional.
  • It’s a great resume word that shows you know what you’re doing.


  • It’s quite repetitive.
  • It doesn’t allow you to stand out from the crowd of other applicants.

“Hands-on experience” is a great phrase to include in a resume. However, it’s not the only suitable choice. It’s time to explore some alternatives.

So, keep reading to learn what to say instead of “hands-on experience.” We’ll show you what options are available and how to implement them.

What to Say Instead of “Hands-on Experience”

  • Practical experience
  • Active participation
  • Direct involvement
  • Real-world experience
  • Firsthand engagement
  • Practical familiarity
  • Applied expertise
  • Operational experience
  • Ground-level experience
  • Practical skill development

1. Practical Experience

You may benefit from writing “practical experience” instead of “hands-on experience.”

This is a great way to show that you’ve had a lot of hands-on knowledge before. We recommend using it to show you get stuck in and know how to handle yourself.

It’s a good formal synonym for showing you have hands-on experience. Honestly, it doesn’t get much clearer than that.

You can also review these resume samples:

My practical experience from previous jobs has set me up perfectly for this role. I’m certain that I’ll be a good fit.

I have a lot of practical experience to fall back on. Therefore, I already know a lot of the things you’re asking about.

2. Active Participation

Another way to say “hands-on experience” is “active participation.”

We recommend using it because it shows how you get involved with previous companies.

Generally, this will help you to explore your options in the workplace. It shows you can take a lot of knowledge with you, which is usually quite impressive to a recruiter.

Here are some great examples to help you understand it:

I have active participation in these areas. I’m excited to bring it to the workplace and see what I can achieve.

My active participation helps me to understand jobs in this sector. Therefore, I believe I’m a good fit for this role.

3. Direct Involvement

Having “direct involvement” in something suggests that you’ve handled it yourself and know what you’re doing.

Therefore, when you apply for a job that you’ve had “direct involvement” in before, it shows you’re clued in.

This helps the employer to know that they won’t need to train you as much. It also shows you’re passionate and already invested in the role you’re applying for.

Also, these cover letter examples will help you with it:

My direct involvement in this field will help me move forward in this area. I know I’ll be a good fit for this role.

I have a lot of direct involvement in this sector. So, I’m certain that I’ll be a great candidate here.

4. Real-World Experience

Try using “real-world experience” when you’d like to relate your experience to things outside of the office.

It’s a great phrase that shows you can take what you’ve learned at work and apply it to your life and other ventures.

This shows proactivity and diligence. Both of those traits are great to take with you to any workplace, so there’s really no reason to avoid using them.

Employers will be impressed. They’ll be more impressed if you can prove how you’ve received real-world experience relating to the things you’re speaking about.

If you’re still unsure, refer to these examples:

My real-world experience helps me to understand more about what’s expected in a role like this. I’m certain you’ll be very impressed.

I have a lot of real-world experience in this field. I’m more than happy to train my peers if you need someone to help.

5. Firsthand Engagement

Try using “firsthand engagement” to mix things up a bit. It’s another word for “hands-on experience” that helps to keep your resume interesting and worth reading.

Most of the time, recruiters will look for phrases like this when they’re keen to see your work history.

It shows them that you’ve already got a lot of experience and engagement working with similar ideas or in similar roles.

Generally, this is a great way to show that you work hard and learn quickly. It’s ideal when you already know a lot about the field you’re applying for.

Here are a few great examples to show you how to use it:

My firsthand engagement is really useful here. I’m confident that I’ll be able to impress you at the interview.

I have a lot of firsthand engagement here. Please let me know if you’d like to see my portfolio and what I can bring to the table.

6. Practical Familiarity

We also recommend including “practical familiarity” to show you have gained hands-on experience in the past.

Generally, having practical familiarity means you know how to handle yourself in specific situations.

It shows you’ve got stuck in before and know what you’re doing. It implies that you already have the skill set that a job is asking of you, and you’re more than happy to bring it along.

Also, you can refer to these examples to see how it works:

I have practical familiarity with these systems. Therefore, I’m sure I’ll be able to bring something new to this workplace.

My practical familiarity will help me move forward in a role like this. I’m sure I’ll climb the ladder very quickly.

7. Applied Expertise

Another synonym for “hands-on experience” is “applied expertise.”

This time, using “applied” shows that you’ve already put your experience to work. It’s a great way to let recruiters know that you’re already experienced in the field they’re hiring for.

Generally, it’s a great choice that shows you know what you’re doing. Experience pays the bills, after all.

We recommend referring to these CV samples if you still need help:

I would like to use my applied expertise to get ahead in this company. I’m sure I’ll be a good fit here.

I have a lot of applied expertise to offer you. Please refer to my cover letter to learn more about what I’ve done.

8. Operational Experience

Try writing “operational experience” to show how your experience relates to the real world.

When something is “operational,” it means you have used it in the workplace. You can then include that in a resume to show how you’re bringing your experience with you.

It’s a great way to be honest and direct about what you’re bringing to the table. Employers will appreciate you using a phrase like this to keep things engaging.

If you’re still stumped, you can check out these examples:

My operational experience helps me to stand out from my peers. I have a lot of experience that I’d like to share with you.

I have operational experience in this field. So, I won’t need nearly as much training as you might think.

9. Ground-Level Experience

Another formal way to say “hands-on experience” is “ground-level experience.”

It works really well in a job application. Most cover letters benefit from using a phrase like this because it shows how you developed your skills.

Saying “ground-level” usually implies that you’ve worked at the lowest level and built yourself up over the years.

Here are two great examples to help you if you still need it:

I have a great deal of ground-level experience here. I’m very thankful that I’ve received the training that I have.

My ground-level experience has helped sculpt me into the person I am today. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to apply for a job like this.

10. Practical Skill Development

Feel free to include “practical skill development” to help you mix things up.

It’s a great way to replace “hands-on experience” that shows you’re happy to work practically and learn skills on the job.

It’s formal and direct. It lets employers know that you’re happy working in practical situations and developing yourself to help improve your prospects.

Here are some great examples to show you how to include it on your CV:

My practical skill development helps me to stand out from the crowd. I’m certain that I can bring it with me to this office.

I have a lot of practical skill development from my previous jobs. I’m so excited to show you what I can do.