Lake Superior State University
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Resume Help for the Experienced Candidate

Returning to or Changing Tracks in the Work Force

Remember your first resume, the one that served you well, producing interviews for your first job? Now you're ready to pull it out again and update it for a new employment campaign.

If you plan on just updating your old resume, don't be suprised if hiring managers are not especially impressed with it. Just as the job market has changed since your first job, so too has the resume.

Experienced professionals must present to employers a slate of accomplishments that are entirely different from those a new graduate would offer. New graduates provide a general resume, heavy on collegiate experience, allowing for consideration in many positions.

This is not the case with experienced candidates' resumes. More and more employers are now searching for candidates with proven track records in solving specific problems unique to their organizations. Today the experienced candidate must be prepared to research the needs of an organization and tailor his resume to show how past accomplishments meet the employer's criteria.

Consider these items when re-writing your resume:
1. Summary, not objective:
The resume for an entry-level position typically includes a general objective describing the type of opportunity desired. The experienced candidate will be better served by summarizing three or four skills that match the employer's needs. These highlights can appear in a short paragraph or quick "bullet" format.
2. Lead with experience, not education:
There are other differences, too. Typically, new grad resumes provide education information after the objective. Although one should include this information on your resume, it is better to place it toward the bottom. Actual experience is more important than education and should lead the resume.
3. Accomplishments, not just responsibilities:
When detailing job history, don't fall into the trap of just listing responsibilities. Think in terms of what you have accomplished by completing those tasks. In other words, don't just tell employers what you did; also tell them the outcome of your actions. "Responsible for developing departmental budget" could be a duty. "Proposed and tracked annual $500,000 departmental budget. Only division to meet deadlines and operate within budget during past three years" is a statement that details the results of your problem-solving abilities and clues the employer to specific problems you can solve.
4. Include relevant activities, not hobbies:
Clubs, organizations, and outside interests--a staple for entry-level candidate resumes--should be approached with caution by the experienced candidate. Activities that relate directly to your self-improvement efforts, e.g., continuing education, and the position you are seeking are important to include. Don't include hobby-type activities.
5. Your resume isn't limited to one page:
The length of the resume may also be different for the experienced candidate. Whereas a two-page document might not be appropriate for a new graduate, it can serve a valuable purpose for the veteran employee. Often, the candidate has enough relevant accomplishments and experiences to warrant expansion to a second page.

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