Are you wondering how to handle a time gap or two on your resume? Or maybe you had a couple of jobs that were pretty short in duration, and you don’t want employers to rule you out because of that.
In this competitive job market you want to do everything you can to reassure employers that you are the right person for the job, but if you have a few minor blemishes on your work history, those issues could prevent you from progressing in the selection process of candidates.
This issue of a steady work history has become more prevalent as a result of the economic downturn of the last couple of years. Many executives and professionals who had a solid work history up until recently now find themselves having to explain a lack of full-time employment over an extended period of time.
Here are some practical tips for addressing such issues on the resume:
Group your jobs under one position if you have been doing consulting work. Many people use their first and last names for the name of their consulting organization (i.e., James Smith Consulting Group). It makes the resume much crisper and cleaner to summarize consulting jobs under one position and combine the dates for all of the consulting work rather than listing them all separately.
I had one client who listed every consulting job he had for the last 10 to 15 years. It was nearly impossible to keep the resume to two pages using this method. And of course it had the unfortunate effect of making him look very unstable since he generally did not stay on any consulting project more than a year or two.
Omit positions that lasted only three months or less. The general rule of resume writing is that it is not necessary to list positions of such short duration.
Fill in gaps in the resume by listing volunteer, contract, and part-time work. I have written resumes for several clients who have not had full-time employment in two to three years as a result of the recession. I probe to find out if they have done any type of work-related activities during that time that we can highlight. It is almost the kiss of death to leave gaps on the resume that are unexplained.
If you are actively involved in board memberships, you can put that down as experience. Or maybe you participate in the local chapter of your professional association. It could be that you are one of many professionals doing consulting work until you find that next full-time job. All of these experiences can be listed under your work history.
Only list years, not months for dates of employment. Putting the months along with the years on your resume only emphasizes how long (or how not so long) you were at any given position. Listing only the years can smooth over gaps of a few months between jobs. If someone worked at a job from November of 2008 to June of 2009, for example, putting 2008 to 2009 looks much better than making it obvious that the person only worked at that position for seven months.
To have a professional resume writer present your work history in the best possible light, call 877-743-9521 today!