Monday, June 11, 2007

Career Change - Resume Problems

What can I do about gaps in employment?

There isn't much you can do about your work chronology—what's done is done. However, there are a few ways to present your work history so that the gaps are less apparent:

- Consider including only years worked (rather than months and years).

- Place employment dates next to job titles in parentheses.

- Never showcase employment dates around large areas of white space—this draws attention to your chronology.

-Think about other activities that you pursued during your employment gaps. You might be able to "fill in" your gaps with volunteer activities, training, travel, or development of a new skill.

My recent work history makes me look like a job-hopper. What can I do?

Try to take a positive spin on your work history. If you've moved around a lot, you demonstrate an ability to work in diverse industries or environments and to step into a role and immediately make a positive impact on the organization. Also, in some industries (such as technology and construction), it's common for employees to move from position to position to take on new projects. Sometimes, not moving around is a sign of stagnation. However, if you would like to minimize the appearance of job-hopping, you might be able to group similar positions under one employment heading.

How should I approach my resume if I'm transitioning from a military to civilian position?

Many civilian employers are unfamiliar with military terminology, so try to minimize military jargon, and replace it with terms used in the corporate world. If you achieved a long military career, some of these terms might be so ingrained that you don't even realize that you're using them. If that's the case, show your resume to colleagues and friends with no military background and see if they understand your document.

Military experience offers great opportunities for training, advancement, and performance awards, and you should certainly highlight these on your resume.

How do I transition from a corporate position to the nonprofit sector?

Your passion for the nonprofit sector of your choice should shine through on your resume and cover letter. Be clear on why you are making this transition and show how your skills developed in the corporate world would be valuable to a nonprofit organization. Nonprofits are organizational structures that need dedicated workers just like corporate structures, so demonstrate that you have what it takes to make an immediate and enduring contribution to a nonprofit organization.

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