An Effective Resume Despite Job Gaps?


This posting is a guest entry from the Career Doctor, Randall S. Hansen, PhD: SEH writes: How do you build a ‘”good resume” if you have LOTS of gaps in your job history? I know that in order to get in to explain to someone face to face, you need a way to get your foot in the door, and trust me, with my resume, I’m not going anywhere!
The Career Doctor responds: Employment gaps are always a challenge when developing a resume. Small gaps are not that unusual anymore as the employment landscape has changed over the last decade or so. If you have a large gap — or multiple gaps — however, you will need to be a bit creative in dealing with the issue. The ideal situation is when you can show you were doing something productive during your employment gap — getting additional training, education, certifications or working part-time, freelancing, consulting, or volunteering. If you were ill or dealing with a family emergency, or simply out of the workforce by choice, your best bet may be to develop a functional resume. A functional resume is organized around three or four skills areas (such as communications, leadership, customer service, project management, etc.). You then list key accomplishments from all your experiences within each skills cluster (such as, directed marketing campaign that doubled annual sales over a three-year period while industry growth remained stagnant). Be forewarned that employers and recruiters look suspiciously at chrono-functional resumes. However, for some job-seekers, a chrono-functional resume is really the only choice; thus, the key is then developing a superior resume that wins over even the most diehard skeptic (and keeping your chronological resume handy in case the chrono-functional version isn’t effective). For more tips and advice, read this article from Quintessential Careers: How to Handle a Gap in Your Job History.