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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
stay-at home parenting
kids with disabilities
homelessness
    ...to name a few. Job-seekers wonder what, if
    anything, to reveal to potential employers, and at
    what stage to reveal it. There's no one-size-fits-all
    strategy.

    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
    chronological résumés.

    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
consulting
education & training
public service, or
volunteering
injuries or illnesses
substance abuse
incarceration
    Obviously, parolees can't reframe a five- or ten-
    year incarceration as "consulting"—or can they? As
    thousands of inmates have shown, "hard time"
    doesn't have to be wasted time.
California prisons getting community-college
programs
California's jailhouse lawyers—"inmates who
pursue the equivalent of a lawyer’s education
and who work as lawyers from within prison
walls...."
    What will prospective employers turn up when they
    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
    online image:
Create Linked In, Facebook, Pinterest and other
social media pages, which Google will rank high in
your search results and push down more troublesome
links. Make sure all your posts are "public" – and that
you only post links and photos that you want the
world to see.
Create a Google Profile, which you can populate with
your contact info, job history, and links to social
media pages.
Buy your domain name and set up a personal web
page that should rise to the top of your search results.
Comment publicly in message boards, forums and on
social media. Use your real name and, again,
understand that these posts will be part of your online
record (which may mean some self-censorship on
occasion, especially when it comes to politics).
Last but certainly not least: Sign up for a Google alert
for your name. Every time Google posts new
information about you, you'll be notified of what
everyone else can now see, too.Job Hunting?
Google Yourself First

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