The career landscape of today is no longer that of a smoothly paved road, lined with blooming flowers and rolling fields of green grass while sunshine beams overhead. Rather, it's more of a bumpy cobblestone road, littered with potholes and giant human-eating plants looming about a la "Little Shop of Horrors." One of the necessary evils that comes along with traversing this frighteningly dangerous pathway is formulating a current and professionally appealing resume. If you are currently out of work or recently terminated, an additional concern can be filling in the gaps in your resume. The following are three ways to accomplish this without raising any red flags or turning off any potential sources of employment.
- It's a Date - The standard chronological resume format calls for start and end dates to accompany each of your career stops. If you are out of employment for less than one year, the best way to fill this gap is to list the years you were with a company only, rather than including the date. This is actually a fairly standard best practice for resume writing anyway.
- Think Outside the Box - One of the best ways to fill any gap in employment is to prove to an employer that you used this lapse in a professionally productive manner. Cite any freelance contract work, temporary agency experience or any development courses you enrolled in while you were not working full-time. Check out this article for more detailed information on how some of these items in particular can go a long way in filling the gaps. Thinking outside the box when describing your professional life in general is a good approach.
- Cover with the Cover - An often overlooked and underutilized professional document is the cover letter. It is easy to use a generic and standardized letter about how you're a great fit for the organization because of your extensive experience in the industry and excellent communication skills. However, this document can be a great source to describe the reason for your lapse in employment. Because a cover letter has a less rigid format than the resume, this is your chance to remove doubt about your abilities and prove how your career lapse is merely a case of unfortunate circumstance.
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