5 Ways to Explain a Spotty Work History
Liz Ryan | Monster
Is your employment history the kind we used to call “checkered”? Well, you’re not alone, or even in the minority. People bounce around between jobs, industries and locations like crazy these days — but the result can be that your resume makes you look confused, finicky or otherwise undesirable.
Here are five ways to smooth out your career storyline and help employers understand the genius behind your meanderings:
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1. Tell a Story in Your Resume Summary
Most of our resume summaries (or resume objectives) trot out the same say-nothing language: “Results-oriented professional seeking challenging assignment in yada, yada — whatever.” No one cares about that. You should instead use your resume summary to get across the power behind your story:
“I started out in accounting before discovering my love for customer problem-solving and making the move to sales. I grew a natural-foods vendor from launch to $20M and then started an online boat-sales Web site with a childhood friend. We sold that business last year, and I’ve been consulting with sales VPs and writing a sales-training book since then. I thrive in small- and medium-sized sales organizations where the products or services justify a 10X larger audience.”
Put your personality into the paragraph, along with your story.
2. Use Your Resume Bullets as Segues
Most of us use dusty resume bullets like “Supervised a staff of six” and “Prepared reports for our controller.” For each job you’ve held, use your last bullet to tell why you left, so the reader can stop wondering. “I was recruited to join a startup software firm” is a lot more appealing to employers (“they went after this guy!”) than an abrupt jump from one job to the next.