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Tweaking Your Resume - Part 2
By Gina Watson
Tweaking your resume to downplay gaps in employment:
People take time off from their jobs many times for various reasons including traveling, studying, recovering from an illness, or simply taking care of loved ones. Sometimes people are laid off or quit their jobs.

No matter what the reason, when you sit down to write your resume, the gap in employment surfaces as a huge obstacle. This needs to be taken care of intelligently, and without lying on your resume, you need to tailor it in such a manner that the gap is downplayed and more important factors like skills, achievements, and contributions are showcased.
  1. Format: In order to minimize the gaps in your resume, it is recommended that you keep certain formatting issues in mind. For instance,
    1. Use a Functional format: Below the profile section, include sections such as 'Career Highlights' and 'Areas of Expertise' and then have an experience section where you may include your work experience according to the various fields you have worked in. After this, in the 'Work History' section, mention only the names of the companies you have worked in along with your positions and the tenure. This way, the gap in employment is not really apparent and the reader's attention is more on what all you have done in the past and what all you are capable of.
    2. Do not mention dates in bold and do not tab them: Below the name of the company or firm, place the position together with the date.

  2. Other work experience: It is indeed a matter of worry when there is so much of explaining required for a gap in employment. However, you need to really understand what the real problem is and where you are lagging. Employers wish to see on your resumes that you have had a consistent work history, have utilized your skills, and that you have made contributions in some way or the other. Hence, you could mention things such as:
    1. Volunteer work: Any volunteer experience that you may have been involved in during the period of unemployment can be mentioned on the resume.
    2. Freelance or part-time work: Although this does not speak as much as a full-time job, it does display the fact that you have been engaged in work and have contributed your efforts and time in a productive manner.
    3. Additional training: Any additional training or courses that you may have taken up during the gap should be mentioned either in a section which says 'Additional Training' or in the Education section.
A red flag such as a gap in employment is a serious matter and can pose as an obstacle in your job search pursuits. Take care of it in the best possible manner on the resume as well as utilize the cover to provide any explanation for the gap if necessary. The bottom line is to be smart at tailoring your resume in order to highlight other aspects of your credentials and at the same time to maintain authenticity. Instead of providing false information, you should do everything within your power to use existing information to your benefit, so that you get the interview call you have been waiting for.

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Article Title : Tweaking Your Resume - Part 2

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