Resume and Cover Letter Tips

The following resumes tips are exclusive for the experienced candidate (alumni, graduate or professional student with three plus years of experience). If you have less than three years experience see the resume tips located in our general tip section.

Summary, not objective

Whereas 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.

Lead with experience, not education

There are other differences, too. Typically resumes of recent graduates provide education information after the objective. Although you should include this information on your resume, it's better to place it toward the bottom; your actual experience is more important than your education and should lead your resume.

Accomplishments, not just responsibilities

When detailing job history, don't fall into the trap of just listing responsibilities. Think in terms of what you accomplished by completing those tasks. In other words, don't just tell employers what you did; also tell them the outcome of your actions. "Developed 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 in the employer to specific problems you can solve.

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're seeking are important to include. Hobby-type activities should not be included.

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 seasoned professional. Often, the candidate has enough relevant accomplishments and experiences to expand to a second page. Content is more important that length.

Resume and Cover Letter Samples for the Experienced Candidate