Monday, September 26, 2011

Back to Work Resume: Address the Gap

We’ve touched on the resume before, it's a bit old school in today's connected world but it’s still a necessary evil. Set aside some quiet time to work on it, and:

  • Old or New? Make the decision to either start with your last professional resume or start from scratch. There are pros and cons to each, but either way you’re essentially creating a new document- and it has to be perfect.
  • Format: I’m still a fan of the chronological resume format, but there are some real benefits to a functional resume format. There’s a good template on our website, and this format essentially calls out key skills and experiences in bullet points and merely lists employment dates below. This is the right format if you’ve had a very long paid employment gap, if you’re looking to switch job families or industries or if you’re looking to leverage volunteer or community experience in your job search.
  • Professional Profile: Or Career Objective or Summary, call it what you want but at the top of your resume, right below your contact information, say who you are, what you do and what you want in 2-3 sentences or key bullet points. Employers are inundated with resumes, a recruiter spends approximately 14 seconds reviewing yours, make it stand out.
  • Contact Information: This might be the most important part! List home and cell phones, your LinkedIn profile name for easy connection and review and a professional email address. We’ve seen some doozies over the years, and your mail job search email should not be cutesy, a shared family or spousal email address, just
  • Relevant: If you’ve been out of college for 10-20 years, your resume could easily be 3 pages long. Remember, recruiters aren’t getting past the top half of the first page. The key here is to include only relevant information. List all of your employment dates and organizations, but call out only the most important information for the job to which you are applying. This means you’ll have several versions of your resumes, it’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it.
  • Ditch the Cutesy Titles. Believe us, we know firsthand just how hard you’ve worked raising your children, running your household and heading every darned committee the school handed you. But please do not put “Domestic Manager” or “Household CEO” on your resume. Just don’t.
  • Address the Gap: What (besides the obvious) have you been doing while out of the paid workforce? Hopefully you’ve done something that is related to an eventual return to the land of the W2 employee. If you’re an attorney that has taken CE classes to maintain a bar license, list “Continuing Education” with course titles and dates. If you’ve had community or volunteer experience that’s relevant to your career goals, list those. For example, we had a candidate who correctly listed her role as a volunteer Red Cross Fundraiser just as she would a paid job (most recent work experience, key accomplishments, dates) because it was absolutely relevant to her desire to return to the Major Non Profit Development World. If you’re in Human Resources and you were on the committee to select and interview the school’s new Headmaster, or if you’re a CPA and you were the PTA Treasurer with a $25K budget, list those!
  • Review. Let me say it again: review, review, review. Ask your spouse to read it. Ask three friends to read it. Ask your former assistant who’s now working as a manager to read it. Make sure it’s relevant to current market conditions, most recent industry trends and typo-free. That's an opportunity killer.

1 comment:

Shaik said...

Wonderfully helpful article! Lovely to find your blog, thanks for creating and sharing it!

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