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Re-awakening the Sleeping Resume

There may come a time that we become jobless for a while – or maybe for a long period of time. Going back to the working environment could be discouraging at times, particularly if you think of your gainfully employed peers.

If you have finally decided to re-write your resume after a year or less of being unemployed, the best strategy to take is to say nothing. According to Teena Rose, director of resume-writing firm,

“shorter time frames of up to a year or so aren’t absolute necessities to explain on a resume.”

As much as possible, resist the temptation of over expounding your unemployment stint. Rose further added that

“hiring managers understand job candidates will have date gaps from time to time.”

On the other hand, employment gap for more than a year could be trickier. Working on a new resume for longer employment gap should be carefully considered. Words should be well-crafted to brilliantly showcase how you have filled that gap.

Anne-Marie Ditta of First Impression Career Services, a Mount Vernon, New York-based career-planning firm said that

“hiring managers are more interested in knowing how you used your time away from the workforce as opposed to why you were unemployed.”

Your new resume should showcase how your unemployment gap allowed you to acquire:

  • new skills,
  • deepen existing industry knowledge
  • or cultivate your contacts.

Leave out instances of layoff, company closure, job termination, caregiver responsibilities and/or other circumstances that led to your unemployment. Ditta also emphasized the importance of showcasing what you accomplished during your unemployment, just as you would for paid employment. She added,

“devoted four years to managing a large estate and complex/difficult medical decisions while caring for terminally ill parent’ will be better received by an employer than ‘took time off to care for a sick relative.”

If you find it difficult to think of any resume-worthy activity or pursuit to show how you have used your time off, then it’s high time to get busy. The Write Resume president, Kathy Sweeney, says that

“if they have not been involved in some sort of activity, I implore them to investigate options to gain further experience.”

There are a lot of activities that may help provide compelling resume contents. Sweeney added that

“experience is experience, regardless of whether it is paid or volunteer. If a client is enrolled in school, for example, I will make that a full-time job on the resume. I’ll include information on the certificate or degree program as well as any quantifiable results, such as grades or instructor praise.”

Finally, “it is best to be proactive rather than reactive,” as Rose says. Following these advices will eventually make your potential employer realize your can-do attitude, resourcefulness, and ability to drive successful results.

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