Author: Natalie Severt Source: Undercover Recruiter
Job hunt not going according to plan? Can’t figure out why you aren’t getting called in for interviews? Perhaps you’re one of five types of job seekers whose resumes just seem to tank with hiring managers.
Think about it. Maybe you change jobs a lot? Or have gaps in your career history? Some very commonplace things can raise red flags for employers. The good news is that there are a few easy solutions that can get your resume back on track.
Whether it’s learning how to write a resume summary or figuring out where to explain a layoff, the hardest part is simply knowing where weaknesses in your resume lie. Find out if you’re one of the five types of job seekers that have a harder time writing resumes and what you can do to fix it.
1. The Job Hopper
There is an ongoing debate about whether the stigma attached to job hopping is disappearing. That’s because Millennials (those of us born between 1982 and 2004) don’t see a problem changing our jobs frequently.
A recent Gallup poll shows that 21% os millennials reported changing their jobs in the past year; a figure that is three times higher than non-millennials who did the same. If everyone is doing it, then it must be okay, right? Well, we all know the logic behind that kind of statement. While job hopping trends, companies are companies. They will always want a return on their investments. And even if that weren’t true – which it is – frequently changing your job means you’re less likely to stick around, resulting in a repeat recruitment process for your hiring manager.
So, what can you do?
You’ve got to assure the hiring manager that you’re worth the risk. And you can do that by adding achievements to your resume. Follow the X,Y, Z approach when you add an achievement: In situation X, I did Y, which resulted in Z. To increase company-wide participation in CSR initiatives, I created an internal marketing campaign that boosted employee turnout by 50% at the next in-house event. You’ve gone from “risky, average member of a marketing team” to an individual who can increase company-wide participation by half. That’s real value. Place your achievements next to the corresponding responsibilities in your experience section.
Pro Tip: Some experts will tell you that you can alter dates by removing months. One month of work becomes a year. But tampering with dates is a no-no. You may think you’re tricksey, but hiring managers are in the know.
2. Mr. Complicated Career Progression
Mr. Complicated Career Progression starts out as a manager and gets demoted. Perhaps it was a voluntary downgrade, perhaps not. Getting demoted isn’t lethal, but you do have to consider how to present it on your resume without deterring hiring managers.
So, what can you do?
If it’s a simple case of voluntary progression reversal, all you need to do is provide a brief explanation. The best place to do that is in your cover letter, resume summary, or as a side note in your experience section. But let’s say you were straight up demoted. In that case, you’ll need to sacrifice the emphasis you’d typically place on your management skills. You can try to omit the job from your resume as long as it won’t create a black hole in your experience section. If that’s not feasible, draw attention to the transferable skills from that job and your accomplishments instead of featuring your managerial skills and responsibilities.
Overall, try redirecting attention to your current role and skill set and place your managerial skills in less prominent places on your resume. In the end, the best thing to do is to remain positive when you talk about the situation. Don’t use the word “demotion” and don’t badmouth your past employer.
3. The Chronically Unemployed Candidate
Currently, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are over 7 million unemployed Americans. And four million of them are involuntarily stuck on the unemployment merry-go-round. There are endless scenarios that result in chronic unemployment. Perhaps you were laid-off and can’t find work. Maybe you are a stay-at-home parent who wants to rejoin the workforce. Either way, your resume has to tackle the gaps in your job history.
So, what can you do?
Resist the temptation to use a functional or skills-based resume format. The format takes the pressure off your job history while showcasing your skills, but these skills aren’t backed by proof. You may need to get creative with the layout, but it’s best not to kill the experience section altogether. Instead, kick off your resume with an introduction to yourself and lead with an activity in your experience section – be it non-profit work, freelance work, or volunteer work – notice how all of those things are still called “work.” Finish with your education or your previous work experience – even if you gained it years ago.
Pro Tip: Try to keep your hands busy. If you’re chronically unemployed, staying busy is healthy both for your mind and your resume. Occupy yourself with freelance or volunteer work.