When you are looking for a job, the quality of your resume matters. It markets you to the hiring manager, so you need to make sure your resume stands out from the crowd for all the right reasons.
It isn’t uncommon for parts of a person’s resume to look a bit “scary” to the hiring manager. If you have a recent and lengthy gap in employment, the hiring manager may consider that a red flag. Similarly, if you don’t have everything on the must-have list in the job ad, it may make you look like a less–than-ideal fit.
Luckily, there are things you can do to take your resume from scary to stellar. Here’s how to get started.
Gaps in Employment
First and foremost, it’s important to understand a break in your work experience isn’t always a problem. If the gap was years ago, and you have had a steady employment history since, most hiring managers won’t be overly concerned. Similarly, if you were taking part in another activity that could be viewed as relevant to your professional life – like volunteering or going to college – the gap probably won’t hold you back.
However, if you haven’t had a job (or volunteer position) since the gap began or if there are several breaks in your work history, you may need to take some steps to make your resume more appealing. One option is to seek out a volunteer position, preferably one that is relevant to your target role. This can be particularly effective if you need to find a way to end a gap, as it allows you to acquire some recent experience that will be listed first on a chronological resume.
Similarly, you could go back to school, earn a certificate, or take part in other forms of training that align with your ideal position. This allows you to do something to enhance your skills and effectively close the gap. Then, if you want to bring attention to that activity, you can consider listing the details as an accomplishment in your professional summary at the top of your resume.
If you have several gaps and nothing recent, you can also try the tips above. Alternatively, you could use a functional resume format, instead of a traditional chronological resume. While a functional resume is a risky approach, as some hiring managers find it to be confusing and even a bit deceptive, it allows you to put your accomplishments and skills front and center, which may make you a more appealing candidate.
At times, you might be incredibly confident that you can handle a job. The only problem is you don’t have a particular skill, credential or experience, and that might make your resume seem a bit scary to a hiring manager.
While the issue of the missing must-have might be best overcome by focusing on acquiring the needed skill, experience, or credential, that doesn’t mean you can’t try to land the role anyway. When you craft your resume, focus on your relevant strengths and accomplishments. Highlight valuable soft skills the hiring manager likely wants to find, emphasizing your willingness and ability to learn quickly on the job.
By focusing on what you bring to the table, the hiring manager might be willing to overlook the missing must-have. This is especially true if the must-have list is lengthy, as few candidates will be 100 percent matches.
Ultimately, all the options above can help you improve your resume and land a great new job. If you’d like to learn more, the team at The Advance Group can help. Contact us to discuss your questions with a member of your skilled staff today and see how our resume writing expertise can benefit you.