When you’re writing your resume, you may find yourself facing a number of tricky situations that you’re unsure how best to handle. Maybe some of these sound familiar to you?
- There are a number of gaps in my employment history.
- I’ve had a large number of jobs in a relatively short amount of time.
- I’m looking to change my career.
- Am I too old for this job?
- Am I overqualified for this job?
- I don’t have the right qualifications for this job.
- My entire career has been spent working for one organization.
- I was fired from my last job.
If you share any of these concerns, don’t worry! These are all quite common and are also pretty easy to overcome if you follow these helpful tips:
1. There Are a Number of Gaps in My Employment History.
Recruiters may well be suspicious of any noticeable gaps in your employment history and can even automatically reject your application as a result. If the gap is just a temporary one, this could be made less obvious by just listing years, not months, for each job role. If, however, the gaps are longer and not so easily concealed, you need to consider the reasons for the gap and if they can be handled in a constructive way.
If a gap in your employment history is due to further training or education, this will invariably be considered a positive thing by recruiters, so you should cover this period in the employment section and the education section of your resume.
Raising a child or caring for another family member is a reason that is actually pretty personal, so you don’t need to go into any great detail about this in your employment history. Just a few brief words will be fine.
Many people have gaps in their employment due to travelling, and recruiters may view this positively or negatively. If you did any temporary or part-time work during your travels, this should be mentioned in your resume to show recruiters that it wasn’t just one long holiday! Just keep any explanations of time spent travelling brief as it shouldn’t be the main focus of your resume.
Gaps resulting from simple lack of employment or ill health are, unfortunately, not generally well-received by recruiters, so you should avoid drawing attention to them if you can. Hopefully, recruiters won’t even notice in their initial glance at your resume and it won’t become an issue.
2. I’ve Had a Large Number of Jobs in a Relatively Short Amount of Time.
There can be many reasons why someone takes on a large number of jobs in a short space of time. Even though this may cause concern for recruiters, your resume is not really the place to explain your reasons for this. In this case, it’s about turning a potential negative into a positive by emphasizing the skills and knowledge you acquired as a result of each job, and using this to highlight the true extent of your experience.
You may find that a functional resume is more appropriate here—one that includes a “key skills” section with just a brief summary of your employment rather than full details for each role. This can be an effective way of highlighting what is relevant to the position you’re applying for and discreetly leaving out what isn’t.