Alberta Work Experience Record Right Length

Length of  Work Experience Record (WER)

In each of your employer write-ups, you’re constrained to 4,000 characters (professional level) and 1,400 characters (technologist level).   That works out to about 940 words (700 Professional Engineering/Geoscientist Level + 240 Technologist Level).   If you're not sure what I'm talking about, here is a picture to show you exactly.

length of experience record

Here is what I recommend filling up that space with for each employer:   
Professional Engineering/Geoscientist Level box:

  • Application of technical theory  (4 x 100 words examples)
  • Practical Experience  (3 x 100 words examples)
  • Total = 700  words (or about 4,000 characters)

Technologist Level box:

  • Management of Engineering  (1 x 80 words examples)
  • Communication Skills (1 x 80 words examples
  • Social Implications of Work Performed (1 x 80 words examples)
  • Total = 240 (or about 1,400 characters)

Now you can vary from this a little, but this is a great way to maximize your writing of all the 5 sections while conforming to the 940 words given.   Also, APEGA has made it clear that Application of Theory is the most important criteria and Practical Experience is the second most important criteria.   The above approach will ensure you provide the reviewer with what he/she is looking for. 

Now, let's say you work for 24 months at a company and you believe that this should all be counted at the Professional Engineering/Geoscientist Level.  What I recommend is putting 24 months in the 'months claimed' box beside 'Professional Engineering/Geoscientist Level' and 0 beside 'Technologist Level'.  But you still split up your writing so that Management, Communications and Social Implications are put in the Technologist box.  
From reading and reviewing hundreds of ‘situations’ from dozens of aspiring engineers I have seen some that are too short, too long and those that are just right.   Allow me to show you:
This is too short:

An experience record example that is too short

You can see that we have a word count of 37.  It is impossible to explain the WWHO formula (What you’ve done, Why you’ve done it, How  you did it, and the Outcome) in 37 words.  The WWHO formula covered in an earlier post if you need to refer back.

Short examples like the one above give me the impression that the applicant didn’t do anything meaningful.  This is not where you want to find yourself.

Now Here is one that is simply ‘too long’:

An experience record example that is too long

The above 304-word project example and the vast majority of long examples tend to have the following problems: 1) they bore the reader;   2) contain definitions and useless facts;  3) are not concise;   4)  it will quickly eat into your 700 or 240 word limit.
Remember that APEGA reviewers are volunteers.  They don’t want to spend an entire weekend on your application so make it concise and specific to your contributions.  No definitions and no babble please. 

About 100 words for more technical situations (Application of Theory & Practice Experience) and about 80 words for less technical situations (Management, Communications, Social Implications) will suffice.

If your write-ups are shorter than the recommendations above, you might be leaving an element of the WWHO out.  If it is longer, try to reword to make it more concise.  

Your action:  Review the situations you have written so far.   If they are not around 100 (technical) or 80  words (non-technical), here is what you do:

  • If they are too short ask yourself:   Am I missing an element of the WWHO?  Is my How detailed enough?
  • If they are too long ask yourself:  Did I include definitions that are not really needed?  Did I ramble on too much?  Did I combine more than one idea/situation that could be split up into another situation?  

For sample work experience records and step-by-step help including lessons on all the best practice, common mistakes and frequently asked questions, register for our Work Experience Record - Rapid Submission Course.