We have finally (Phew !) arrived at the climax of the resume-building documentary. Hopefully, we (including myself) have learned a lot more about structuring a quality resume that would attract maximum attention from hiring managers and recruiters.
Gaps and Other Sticky Resume Situations
34. Kill the Short-Term Jobs
If you stayed at a (non-temporary) job for only a matter of months, consider eliminating it from your resume. Leaving a particularly short-lived job or two off your work history shouldn’t hurt, as long as you’re honest about your experience if asked in an interview.
35. Deal with the Gaps
If you have gaps of a few months in your work history, don’t list the usual start and end dates for each position. Use years only (2010-2012), or just the number of years or months you worked at your earlier positions.
36. Explain Serial Job Hopping
If you’ve job-hopped frequently, include a reason for leaving next to each position, with a succinct explanation like “company closed,” “layoff due to downsizing,” or “relocated to a new city.” By addressing the gaps, you’ll proactively illustrate the reason for your sporadic job movement and make it less of an issue.
37. Explain a Long Break in Jobs
Re-entering the workforce after a long hiatus? This is the perfect opportunity for a summary statement at the top, outlining your best skills and accomplishments. Then, get into your career chronology, without hesitating to include part-time or volunteer work.
38. Don’t Try to Get Cute
Don’t try to creatively fill in gaps on your resume. For example, if you took time out of the workforce to raise kids, don’t list your parenting experience on your resume, à la “adeptly managed the growing pile of laundry” (we’ve seen it). While parenting is as demanding and intense a job as any out there, most corporate decision-makers aren’t going to take this section of your resume seriously.
39. Ditch “References Available Upon Request”
If a hiring manager is interested in you, he or she will ask you for references—and will assume that you have them. There’s no need to address the obvious (and doing so might even make you look a little presumptuous!).
40. Proofread, Proofread, Proofread
It should go without saying, but make sure your resume is free and clear of typos. And don’t rely on spell check and grammar check alone—ask family or friends to take a look at it for you.
41. Save it as a PDF
If emailing your resume, make sure to always send a PDF rather than a .doc. That way all of your careful formattings won’t accidentally get messed up when the hiring manager opens it on his or her computer. To make sure it won’t look wonky when you send it off, look at it in both Google Docs and Word, and then attach it to an email and open it as a preview.
42. Name Your File Smartly
Ready to save your resume and send it off? Save it as “Jane Smith Resume” instead of “Resume.” It’s one less step the hiring manager has to take.
43. Constantly Refresh It
Carve out some time every quarter or so to pull up your resume and make some updates. Have you taken on new responsibilities? Learned new skills? Add them in. When your resume is updated on a regular basis, you’re ready to pounce when an opportunity presents itself. And, even if you’re not job searching, there are plenty of good reasons to keep this document in tip-top shape.