Tag Archives: Resume Questions

5 Ways Jobseekers Can Address Employment Gaps—Positively

Everyone’s story is different. Maybe you got your first job when you were still in high school, and have been working steadily ever since. Then again, maybe you left the workforce for an extended period of time— whether to go back to school, to raise a child, or to contend with some medical issues.

There’s nothing wrong with any of that, of course—but it can lead to some resume complications. How can jobseekers address gaps in their employment history? Here are a few positive, pragmatic tips from our resume writing team.

Addressing Employment Gaps on Your Resume

Whatever You Do, Don’t Apologize

First and foremost: Remind yourself that there is nothing wrong with taking time off for pursuits as noble as raising a kid or going back to school. It may give you an unconventional career trajectory, but it is nothing to feel ashamed or sorry about. Avoid taking any sort of an apologetic tone on your resume—because frankly, that can scan as negativity, which is the last thing you want on your resume.

Use Your Cover Letter to Your Advantage

Your resume doesn’t have to do all the heavy lifting! If you have a year or two where you weren’t working, you can bring it up in your cover letter—noting succinctly (and unapologetically!) that you briefly detoured out of the workforce to care for an ailing parent, seek medical attention, or whatever else. Don’t be timid about offering a quick and direct explanation, then moving on.

Consider an Alternative Resume Format

Most of the time, we recommend a chronological work history—but if your work chronology is a little weird or wonky, you may benefit from a functional resume, one that’s laid out by skills/competencies rather than a straight job history. This can be a smart way to emphasize your strengths while being discreet about your absence from the workforce.

Avoid Complaining About Old Bosses

Sometimes, an absence from the workforce is all because you had a really bad wok experience, and just couldn’t stick around any longer. That’s fine, but make sure you never lapse into complaining about a former boss—no matter how bad the boss was! Simply put, nobody wants to hire a complainer. Don’t brand yourself that way.

Keep the Emphasis on Your Achievements

If you missed a few months or a few years of work, it’s important to let employers know that you didn’t lose your mojo in the interim. Make sure you include plenty of strong, specific achievements from before and after your time off. And if you’ve not yet returned to the workforce after a long absence, include some details about what you did during your time off—such as volunteer work, freelance projects, or continuous education. Just make it clear you weren’t sitting idly by!

Get a Tune-Up for Your Resume

Could your resume do a better job of addressing an employment gap? Ask our resume writers to help. Give us a call and schedule a resume consultation—www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

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6 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Resume

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You’ve found an online job posting that’s gotten you really excited. You’ve filled out the online form. Now it’s time to upload your resume, hit submit, then sit back and wait for your phone to ring.

But wait: Before you do that, why not take an extra five minutes to double and triple check your resume? You’ve probably looked it over a hundred times before, but it never hurts to verify that your resume is spotless, professional, and appealing.

Read through your resume just one more time before you send it off, and as you read it ask yourself these quick questions:

Is your contact information accurate, complete, and up to date? Yes, this seems like a no-brainer—but you would be amazed at how many resumes we see where digits in the phone number are transposed, or there is a typo in the e-mail address, or there is no physical mailing address listed at all. Read through your contact information caaaaaarefullly to ensure it says what you want it to say.

Does your resume have keywords that mirror the job posting? If the job posting itself emphasizes “customer relations” or “social media strategy,” well, you probably want to make sure those phrases appear in your actual resume. Tweak your document to include as many pertinent keywords as you can.

Does your resume list actual accomplishments? Employers don’t just want to see what your previous job responsibilities were; they want to see what you achieved. Are there places you could add specific numbers or other figures to prove your effectiveness?

Does your resume convey an actual narrative? Your resume should tell the story of your career—which means denoting a clear trajectory, showing promotions, proving that each job held builds on the last, and not including any employment gaps.

Is your resume scannable? Can a potential employer skim your resume with relative ease? Remember that these are busy people, and a resume that can’t be skimmed may not get considered at all. Things to look for: Plenty of white space, clearly marked sections, a bulleted list of core competencies, and a resume that doesn’t go too long (one page is often enough, two is usually the max).

Does your resume include anything superfluous? Take one more look to see if you included hobbies or other personal information that doesn’t factor into your employability—and if so, axe it!

If you look over your resume and don’t like what you see, never fear: The Grammar Chic resume team is here to help! Reach out to us today at www.grammarchic.net or 803-831-7444.

 

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4 Formatting Blunders That Can Wreck Your Resume

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Writing a decent resume is part art and part science, and there are aspects of it that require real skill. That’s why more and more jobseekers are entrusting their resume writing to trained professionals, like the Grammar Chic team.

Yet there are other aspects of resume writing so basic that the pros aren’t really needed. For instance, formatting mistakes are common, and can wreck an otherwise solid resume—but it’s easy enough to learn these blunders and to avoid them.

And they may not seem like much—but trust us: They buck both aesthetic and resume conventions in such a way that may make you seem unprofessional or amateurish to a recruiter. It is no exaggeration to say that messing up one of these trivial details could cost you your job.

So as you work on your resume—either solo or with a pro—keep these potential errors in mind:

Error #1: Mix-matching your fonts. Some jobseekers use different fonts in different sections of the resume, thinking it adds a dash of style or simply helps them keep their sections separate. Actually, all it does is give the reader a headache. Pick one good, professional font and stick with it. (Grammar Chic favorite: Calibri.)

Error #2: Using inconsistent formatting. This should really go without saying, but when you’re listing employers, job titles, and dates, consistent formatting is essential. Double and triple check your resume to ensure that you’re doing things with uniformity.

Error #3: Overdoing it with bold text. We’re not going to say that you should never use bold font to emphasize certain words on your resume—but you need to make sure you have a very good reason for doing so, and if you see a lot of bold all over your page then you’re probably overdoing it. (In fact, we recommend erring on the side of no bold.)

Error #4: Submitting a page-and-a-half resume. It isn’t possible 100 percent of the time, but we really encourage people to aim for either one full page, or as close to two full pages as possible. A page and a third just looks awkward and incomplete.

These points may all sound basic—and they are. That’s why it looks so bad when you get them wrong—and why it’s simple enough to master them on your own. But for any help or more complex resume writing needs, don’t hesitate to call Grammar Chic at 803-831-7444; or visit us online at www.grammarchic.net.

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