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Résumé Help for the Experienced Candidate

Remember the last time you laid eyes on your résumé? Perhaps it was five, eight, or more years ago. In your quest for new employment you will now “update” the document by simply inserting an entry for your most recent position. STOP RIGHT THERE.

In the high-stakes game of job search, a résumé updated this way is the equivalent of pairing a trendy pair of pants with a shirt that screams 1980’s. (Reality check: The clothing won’t look good and neither will the résumé.) The experienced candidate needs to take a critical look at his or her résumé and be ready to rewrite, or omit, as much as necessary.

Here are some hints:

  • If your education section is still at the top of the document, it shouldn’t be. In the marketplace of employment, experience always trumps education. Unless you are a brand-new graduate with virtually no work history, lead your résumé off with the experience section.
  • Does your résumé still include an “activities” or a “personal interests” section? This was acceptable when you were a young person—it may have even helped fill up the page—but that space is valuable real estate now and you’ve got better things to share.
  • Ditch minutia like your GPA from eons ago, a list of courses that date back more than 10 years, and outdated or obvious computer skills.
  • Pare down your prior employment entries. The write up of your most recent jobs should be more extensive, and occupy more space on the page, than jobs further back in your history.
  • Create a summary or profile section, if you don’t already have one. Whereas the résumé for an entry-level candidate typically includes a general objective describing the opportunity desired, experienced candidates should have a more sophisticated beginning that brands them. Lead off by telling the reader who you are:

    10 Years of Experience in Fortune 5OO Environments

  • Don’t limit your résumé to one page. Veteran employees often have enough relevant accomplishments and long enough work histories to warrant two pages of text.

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