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Blogs Home >> Great Resumes Fast >> 'Resume Writing Strategies: Making a Unique Work History Work for You'
Resume Writing Strategies: Making a Unique Work History Work for You

Have you spent a portion of your adult life raising your children as a stay-at-home parent? Or have you been unemployed for years but took on short-term or contract positions while waiting for a permanent position? If so, you are saddled with a unique work history.

While employers are accustomed to giving first priority to candidates with straightforward professional histories, they will make room for individuals who prove they are the best for the job. With the right resume writing strategy, you can do the same. Here’s how to make a unique work history work for you.

Strategically Address Gaps in Work History

Whether you’ve chosen to dedicate years of your life to taking care of your home, or were laid off years ago during the financial crisis, you may now have a gap in your work history that you’re concerned could be frowned upon by employers.

In some cases, employers do feel a bit of discomfort with knowing a candidate hasn’t worked in years, but there are ways to help you prove you are the right fit despite the gap.

First, take time to round up any responsibilities you assumed that fall in line with the job you’re applying for, whether you’ve volunteered for an organization or became a committee member for your church.

The idea is to show that you’ve continued with some level of training while you were not working that qualifies you to fill the new role effectively. So take a good look at the responsibilities and qualifications of the position you want, then list projects you’ve taken on that show you are the right candidate.

Organize Short-Term or Contract Positions Into One Section

During a time period when you were not working permanently, you may have accepted short-term or contract positions through a temp agency or by contacting an employer on your own.

In this case, as well as in the previous scenario where you’ve had huge gaps in employment and no work at all, it’s a good idea to group those jobs or commitments together in sections that can highlight the period and show that you were busy during that time frame.

You can label the section “Short-Term Position Highlights” or “Volunteer Highlights,” which shows that you recognize these periods in your life are not to be categorized with your work history but do play an important role in qualifying you for the position.

Use Years Instead of Months

When listing the work history that surrounds your short-term or volunteer experience, try using the years worked instead of specific months. Unless you have worked multiple jobs in one year (which can also raise red flags), this can help you close the gaps between permanent jobs.

There’s no doubt that employers like to hire workers who have what they view as a solid work history. But by believing you’re the right person for the job and utilizing pieces from your history that sell you as a great candidate, your chances of being hired increase substantially.

It’s important to remember to brand your resume before applying to each new position for more information on branding check out my recent article 5 Key Areas to Target When Branding Your Resume. You can also get additional job search and career related advice by checking out our blog or following us on Twitter @GreatResume.

Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 2012 07:22:36 by jhernandez

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