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Your Résumé Problems – Solved

When you’re seeking employment, your résumé will make or break you. You could be the best candidate for the job, but if your résumé isn’t impressive or is problematic, you’ll never even get called in for an interview. There are lots of reasons people’s résumés fail. Here’s how to fix some of the most common problems.

If You Were Fired from a Job for Poor Performance…

You should never mention so on your résumé. If the job was long-term, such as close to a year or more, you should include it to avoid a long gap in employment history. If it was short-term, you may consider leaving it off your résumé altogether. If you leave it out, title the section Relevant Experience, not Work or Employment History, to account for it being only a partial list of jobs you’ve had.
If You’re a Recent Graduate with Little or No Experience…

Instead of including an Employment section, include an Experience section that highlights any qualifying experiences you’ve had, including volunteer work, extracurricular activities, and internships. You may also consider including an additional Skills section to list things like computer skills or language skills. If you have nothing else, consider listing significant coursework or school projects.
If You Have Short Employment Gaps…

Do not include the starting and ending months of your positions. Only include the year. This will stop your short employment gaps from being revealed. For example, list that your first job was from 2001 to 2007, and your second from 2007 to 2012. No one will be able to tell the first job ended in January and you were unemployed until December.
If You Have Long Employment Gaps…

Try to account for those gaps by listing what you did in the meantime, even if it’s vague. For example, include your volunteer work for that time period, or just say that you were doing “independent travel.” Don’t make something up, of course, but get creative. Never include information that could be construed negatively, such as an illness. If you’re reentering the workforce after a break of more than a year, such as to raise a family, briefly address it in your résumé.
If You Had Only One Job…

Break it up and list each of your positions with the company separately. If you were never promoted during your time, break your job up into different responsibilities and describe your skills in each. Be sure to highlight any training, education, or volunteer work in that time period. Do not say why you are leaving now the job, but be prepared to say so if you get called for an interview.
If You Had Too Many Jobs…

Only include jobs that gave you experience relevant to the job you’re applying for, and consider leaving off jobs you held at the beginning of your career. If you had many short-term projects as a freelancer, try to organize them by skill or category, not individually in chronological order. Highlight the most significant projects, and consider listing smaller ones briefly in an Additional Experience section.

Charlie Adams is a marketing professional and resume writing expert who loves to blog about anything from the benefits of using grammar checkers to job searches.

Photo Credit: CharlotWest

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