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How to Handle a Spotty Work History

How to Handle a Spotty Work History

Kim Isaacs | Monster Resume Expert

• You don’t need to include every job you’ve ever held. Short-term positions that don’t do anything for you can certainly be omitted. Keep in mind: A resume is a marketing piece, but you will need to provide a complete work history if you are asked to fill out a job application, which is a signed legal document.

• Employers might be leery of hiring candidates with a history of job-hopping due to recruiting and training expenses. Use your cover letter to explain your work history and put a positive spin on your circumstances. Also, indicate your interest in a long-term position.

What About a Functional Resume?

Many hiring professionals say they prefer chronological resume presentations to the functional format. They are often suspicious of functional resumes, which are usually used to hide something. Only select this format if you have an extremely poor work background with extended gaps or a terrible history of job-hopping.

Accentuate the Positive

There’s nothing you can do to change your work experience, so the best strategy is to develop a forward-looking resume that shows the value you offer potential employers. If you are sticking with a chronological resume format, lead with a Qualifications Summary, a narrative profile summing up your key qualifications for the position. This will draw attention to your strengths.

Layoffs and Downsizing: Quick Tips to Improve Your Resume

• Update your resume right away and be sure to showcase your recent achievements no matter how you may feel about your employer.

• Ask your former employer or colleagues to supply you with written reference letters. Consider including a positive quote from a reference letter in the Qualifications Summary or Experience section.

• Read as many job openings as possible to evaluate the skills and experience employers find desirable. Incorporate your matching credentials into your resume.

• Don’t misrepresent your employment status by indicating “to present” on your resume.

• Don’t write the reason for leaving on your resume, but do use the cover letter to explain your circumstances.

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