Resume Advice for People Re-Entering the Job Market
The recent information about the number of people who faced unemployment in the past few years shows that re-entering the job market after even six months of unemployment can present difficulties. However, that should not lessen a person's enthusiasm about finding a job. What is means is that some resume re-engineering may be required. Searching for a job after a period of time off, whether it was for raising a family, obtaining a higher degree, or a lay-off should not be daunting if the right tools are being used.
Writing a Resume When Re-Entering the Job Market
Employers want to see how a person's skills matches the requirements of a job, so start the resume with a statement that summarizes skills obtained and notable achievements. This could be titled Skills and Achievements. Make sure that the statement is pertinent to the specific job. A generic statement might not match the requirements for the position; plan on rewriting this section for just about every job being sought.
Acquired skills may come from actual paid employment as well as for any volunteer activities that were undertaken during the employment hiatus. Think about everything that has been learned through employment and life skills, such as time management, multi-tasking, sales skills, writing skills and even communication skills. Even if past employment did not have these skills as a job requirement, if they were mastered include them. Make sure, however, that they can be explained in a relatable way to job performance.
The next section of the resume should be a chronological history of work experience, starting with the last job and working backwards. In this section, detail job title, responsibilities and dates of employment. Never be anything but totally honest in employment dates. Employers will check and if the dates stated do not match the employer's records, the candidate for the position will be immediately eliminated.
Briefly highlight accomplishments when describing job responsibilities, do not just put down duties that read like a job description. Using action words such as developed, responsible for, or increased will show the contributions to the employer rather than just duties performed.
Be straight-forward in this section and do not try to explain any gaps in employment. The gaps can be handled later; the purpose of the resume is to detail how past experience can contribute to the hiring organization.
Discussing Gaps in Employment
Knowing that an employer will question any gaps in employment be ready with an honest, non-apologetic answer. If a person was home raising a family, state that and then talk about skills acquired, such as time management, financial management, communication skills and planning skills. Go on to discuss how those skills can relate to the job opening. Also discuss any volunteer experience or community outreach experience.
If the gap in employment related to obtaining an advanced degree, explain the knowledge acquired in obtaining the degree and how that knowledge relates to the job requirements. The point is to honestly address the reason why there a time between jobs exists and turn the conversation into a positive, skills acquired employment gap.
In today's economy, many people faced lay-offs that lasted a period of time. During that time it is recommended to engage in volunteer activities which can be included on the resume. How the time was spent does not have to be paid labor, but can also consist of giving back to the community. Even discussing the approach to finding a job such as starting the search as any other work day, researching opportunities, developing job resumes and applications, attending networking events and job clubs, and using social media in the job search counts. This shows attention to task, diligence, research skills, marketing and sales skills and organizational skills.
Accentuating the Positive
Turning what could be perceived as a negative into a positive is all in the presentation. Highlight what was learned during the unemployed time even if it relates to an intensive job search. Talk about what personal insights were gained and learned as well as any positive growth experiences.
Unemployment can be as valuable a learning experience as on-the-job learning. What employers want to know is how the time was spent and what knowledge was gained from the unemployed time.