Friday, August 28, 2009

Simple Resume Tips for Managing Employment Gaps

It is not uncommon for job seekers to have gaps in their employment history. However, for obvious reasons, most employers want to see a stable employment history in prospective candidates. So if you have a gap, how should you best handle it in your resume? Most experts advise the following dos and don’ts:

Do not make a specific statement in your resume to handle larger employment gaps—this should be done in an interview (it may be explained in a cover letter too, but keep it to a sentence or two).

Do not be concerned about small gaps in employment of a few months or less. Small gaps typically do not need to be addressed, since most employers consider this time reasonable for job searching and interviewing.

Do use years and not months to notate blocks of employment history in your resume.

Do use a functional resume (focus is on skills) rather than a chronological resume. A functional resume also allows for aligning skills to a particular job posting, as well as emphasizing the most important or stronger skills.

Do stay networked and connected to your profession by keeping in touch with those in your profession and past co-workers, maintaining your membership in a professional association, and reading up on trade journals/magazines, etc. Be sure to bring these points up either in your resume, cover letter or interview.

Do stay productive during your time off by taking additional training or continued education courses, and volunteering in various organizations or in your community. Definitely include your training and volunteer work on your resume. Training can be listed within an Education & Training section, and volunteer work could go under Work Experience or be its own section called Volunteer Experience.

Employment gaps shouldn’t become a mental block to finding your next job—follow these tips and find others for addressing employment gaps in a positive manner and move on.

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