|I've done scores of résumés for people with
problematic job histories—from spotty work records
to lengthy unemployment. Careers get stalled for
every reason imaginable, including
anything, to reveal to potential employers, and at
what stage to reveal it. There's no one-size-fits-all
Many résumé preparers favor what they call
functional résumés, which distribute your job history
according to your "strengths." This arrangement lets
the résumé-writer tap-dance around weak areas, such
as gaps in employment or a series of short-term jobs.
Employers and recruiters aren't easily fooled. A clever
but nontraditional résumé is a red flag. The savvy
reader thinks, "Aha! This is a clever résumé designed
to hide career irregularities. Just what are these
irregularities?" That's if the résumé doesn't get tossed
away first in confusion or disgust.
Employers overwhelmingly favor
They want your life story in a tidy capsule, with
segments of it where they're used to seeing them. Job
application forms are organized chronologically, and
employers expect résumés to be likewise.
A well-written cover letter with a straightforward
chronological résumé will get you the consideration you
deserve. (If you're not a suitable candidate, no
document in the world can make you qualified. That
doesn't mean you shouldn't apply for a job you really
want and think you can do.)
Some employment gaps can legitimately be framed as
|injuries or illnesses|
year incarceration as "consulting"—or can they? As
thousands of inmates have shown, "hard time"
doesn't have to be wasted time.
Google your name? Will social media betray your
playful side in ways you'd rather keep private?
Managing your online image is a good idea even if
you're not job-hunting.
You can't erase the public record, says Steven
Petrow, writing for USA Today, so " the best
strategy is to overwhelm it, by creating new pages
that you control that will turn up in search higher
than those old, embarrassing ones."
Petrow offers these suggestions for managing your