Gaps in your resume are definitely an issue. Have you ever met a women or man that was really hot but when the smiled they had a gap in their teeth you could fit a cigar in? No matter how great the rest of the package is that gap is all you can stare at.
So when you think of your resume you should look at it in the same
There are several types of gaps that can occur on your resume. A few of the most common include “the out of work gap”, “the tried a different career gap” and “the I had to handle a personal situation (death, birth or sabbatical to find myself with the monks in Asia)
In this current economy for example, there are huge amounts
of people who are, or were, out of work for several months. Some people have
been out of work so long that they have to extend their unemployment way past
the normal amount. Here are some ways to address handling gaps like these in
Remove the months from your resume.
If you lost your job in February of 2009 and now it is November of 2010, to say that you worked from 2006 – 2009 looks a whole lot better than saying you have been out of work since February 2009. In fact it is almost a year better. Now some would say this is lying, and certainly some HR types would certainly find this infuriating, as this is info they want to know before talking to you so they can screen you out. So this brings us to the first and most important rule of resume writing.
Rule #1: Always remember that your resume is a marketing
piece. It is meant to make you look good.
If you go on a first date do you tell your date about your crazy uncle who thinks he is an Avocado? Yes, eventually, but not on the first date! In some cases on your resume it is alright to omit something that makes your look bad. But a minor omission is very different then a lie. A lie would be saying that you had an MBA when you never went to college. Beside the fact that it is unethical and wrong, it is stupid to do so as it will definitely bite you in the butt if your potential employer were to find out.
A minor omission would be more something that would not get you fired on your first week when the found out the truth, but might cause your interviewer to ask you about it when they interviewed you. AH HA! Let me repeat that again: “when they interviewed you”! That brings us to Rule #2.
Rule #2: The purpose of your resume is to get you an
So now that you have an interview, as long as you have a good answer to why you omitted the months from you resume like that Jerk Carl the wireless executive recruiter blogger told me to do it. Then at least you are being interviewed and no longer a piece of paper, but an actual living breathing person who has a shot at getting the job before being deleted or crumbled in the trash.
Create a consulting business
Now this is truly a great way to fill a gap and probably the most often used method I know. But I have to say most of the people fall short in the presentation.
Here is a typical example:
2009 – Current
I was the owner of Bob’s consulting where I did lots of IT,
Telephony and important stuff for many companies.
Underneath this he writes a half a page at how great he was & all the cool things he did for 10 years at the fortune 500 job he got laid off at. So what’s wrong with this? Here comes Rule # 3
Rule #3: Sell it baby! If you don’t who will?
There is nothing wrong with putting Bob’s consulting on your resume, though when you started it you might have been a little more creative than that with the name. But if that’s what it is, then here’s what you do. Write a paragraph that sells the crap out of Bob’s Consulting. Make it sound like you were saving the world. Use bullet points & underlines and all the fancy things you did with your fortune 500 job. Don’t write it as an afterthought to just put something on the page to fill the gap. Sell it baby like it means something!
Paint the best picture you can.
I recently coached a candidate for an interview that will illustrate this point. He was desperate for the job. Flat broke and his lack of finances was severally impacting his personal life and even his survival. He had been out of work for almost 2 years!
So we role played the night before and one of the questions I asked him was what have you been doing for the last 2 years?
His answer was “I have been doing some part time consulting when I can, it doesn’t pay much, but at least I am surviving.” Wrong answer!
What I coached him to say was: “The market has been very tough and a lot of the roles I saw available for someone at my level were opportunities with companies I did not believe in. Rather than taking a job with a company I knew I would not be happy at and would probably be short lived, I did some consulting until the right job came along. And this is that
right job.” He applied the same attitude to all his answers and is happily work at his new job now!
Now on your resume where you have a gap you can say something like from 2009 – current after a massive company layoff I took some time to spend renovating my house and getting to know my wife and children better. I am now ready to get back to a fulfilling career. Something like this is definitely better than leaving a gap.
If you leave a gap you can bet someone will be thinking you were just drinking beer in your underwear and watching Judge Judy.
Hmmm… I have to go now. I am out of Bud and I need to pick some more up to get back to the show before she gives the final verdict!
Since the year 2000 I have been doing Technical and Executive recruiting and during that time I have reviewed hundreds of thousands of resumes. From those very many resumes occasionally some
are written so uniquely incorrect, that if a recruiter, HR person or hiring
manager were to read them, by the shear words on the paper it could potentially elicit a cry of “What the F%&k” !!!
So this than my curious blog reader is the “What the F%&K Factor” or What not to write in a resume.
Here are a couple of real life examples of resumes that demonstrate what I am talking about:
I was given a resume for a VP of Engineering position. His background was pretty typical. He received a BSEE (Bachelors of Electrical Engineering). Started out his career as an Engineer.
After 5 years became an Engineering Manager. After a few more years became a Director of Engineering, then Senior Director than Vice President of Engineering. It made sense, certainly a pretty normal career path.
But hear is where the resume took a left turn. Listed just above his most recent VP position was “Doorman / Bouncer at Joes Tavern”. He described for about a paragraph how he greeted people at the door broke up fights etc. This was a 6 month job.
Shortly after the destruction of the World Trade Center
the Telecom industry crashed. It was not uncommon for people taking just about any job to pay the bills. But my God don’t put it in your resume!
Another case of “The What the F%&K Factor” occurred when I read the resume of a Senior Director.
You would think after 20 years of experience in business someone would be aware of the do’s & dont’s of what you can
put in a resume. Think again…
When reading someone’s resume I typically do not read every bit down to the clubs & hobbies. But on this particular day, on this particular resume I did. And sure enough I was very glad I did before I submitted him to anyone.Listed under organizations was “Grand Marshall of the Covenant of Satan”. Wow! that definitely caught me
Now I believe in the concept of live & let live. If you want to
worship the devil, cross dress or any number of controversial activities. As long as you are not hurting anyone that is your business.
But the whole point of this blog is if you put something unusual on your resume that stands out, make sure it enhances it and not detracts from it.
If you have stories of that exhibit the “What The F%&K Factor”
I’d love to hear about them. Just send them to Carl@wirelessexecutiverecruiter.com
or just add a comment to the blog.
1. Style & Font are least important: If I help someone “tweak” their resume and the style is OK, I try not to change it. (Style meaning what kind of bullet points they use or whether they block things off with lines est.)
2. Length is even less important: Too many people worry whether their resume is 1 page, or 2 pages ect. A resume is as long as it needs to be to get the point across.
3. Simple is best: If something is confusing or redundant, change it.
4. Be consistent: Having dates as 3/09 in one place and March 2009 in another or using 7 different fonts is not what you want.
5. This is not an art project: The color purple should never appear on a resume unless you are Barney the Dinosaur and even that is questionable. Please, no pictures unless you are looking for a job in the Philippines; for some reason every resume I have ever seen from there has the candidates picture on it.
6. Your resume is a marketing tool: It is meant to represent you at your best. It should be accurate but does not have to include every detail of your life…especially if it makes you look weird or stupid.
7. It should read like a book: Title at the top, (name, address, email, phone, est. ) syllabus underneath (accomplishments or skills) chapters below. (Job history, education est.) Chapters are read in chronological order and make sense.
8. The Summary and Accomplishments are critical to getting someone to read your resume: They need to be strong and engaging. If you can get a WOW! Out of someone’s mouth when they read your accomplishments you have done your job. The Summary & Accomplishments should change depending on the job you are applying for.
9. Spell check and have others proof read your resume to make sure it makes sense: Having several typo’s on your resume makes you look like a dork.
10. Rules are just guidelines: If not following some of these rules, or for that matter anyone else’s rules for writing a resume makes it better. Than don’t follow them. Heck after all it is your resume.
The title of this Blog is a bit insulting and rightly so. It is meant to get your attention so that you do not pass over the article – – to make you take notice!!!
If you were driving down the street and you saw a Billboard but you couldn’t make out what it said because the words were too small and the message was hidden in a thousand words, you would probably not understand it or crash your car trying to figure it out.
But on the other hand, if it said “EAT AT JOE’S” there would be no mistaking the message.
So is my message when referring to your resume. If you were trying to show something to a monkey you wouldn’t do it quietly or subtlety. You would be obvious about what you were doing. You’d talk simple to a monkey — Monkey wants a Banana? Monkey wants a toy? — Straight forward and obvious.
So how does simple talk, monkey talk, apply to a resume?
As a recruiter when I am sent an unsolicited resume or one that just lands in my inbox without me asking for it, I read it quickly. I am looking for the general gist of what it is about. Do I have a job for this person now, later or never? If it is later, I take a minute to review it. If it is never I take even less time. The “now” resume I will read in detail.
But if it is not obvious to me what your resume is about, what you are looking for, what your skills are, I could easily pass you by. A candidate’s submission that could be a “now” resume can easily be missed.
Let’s take for example a resume from Joe who sells software to wireless clients. Joe’s resume needs to spell out who he’s selling to, how much he sold, how much his quota is and how he achieved or exceeded it. Plus, if Joe knocked it out of the park by hitting a quota of 150%, this statistic had better jump out on the resume, bold-faced and blazing across the top of the resume.
Having placed many sales people, I have learned the hard way that when the client throws the resume back in my face because this blazing info was not included. A sales resume is not the exception to the rule. Every resume needs a bold-faced listing. Show a little confidence in your resume. Speak out. It never hurts.
In my business, we are submitting resumes for specific jobs. That means we have job-specific specifications. In “monkey” terms, — state the obvious, say what you do, say it boldly, say it so that it’s obvious, meet the specifications, tell me what you do best, tell me what you have achieved that apes (mimics) the job-specific specifications — because if you don’t, your resume won’t be a “now” resume to anyone who reads it.
Companies speak in their own language or nomenclature. If you have the exact skills in your resume that meet the job-specific specifications, and you call these exact skills “email marketing” and the company calls it “viral marketing” or “ECRM Marketing”, change your verbiage to read what the company is asking for on your resume. Make it obvious
Make it so that a Monkey could figure out that you’re the one for the job!
When you give a resume to a company, either through a recruiter or directly, you do not see the path that your resume takes. Your resume can pass through an “applicant tracking system” that looks for specific keywords. This “monkey-like” system only reads for key words — no key words and the monkey understands nothing.
Take my advice. Make your key points bold, clear and obvious. Always assume the person reading your resume is a Monkey.
In theory it seems like a great idea to put your references on your resume as you show that you are liked and respected and have nothing to hide. That is the upside.
Here is the downside:
Employers cannot legally check your references with out your permission. By putting them on your resume, they can check them without even interviewing you!
Interviewing is a step by step process and checking references is not the first step.
The resume is submitted, the resume is reviewed, and the phone screen occurs, a face to face interview occurs, an offer is extended then references are checked. Sometimes references are check just before a face to face interview or just after, but no matter, it is not the first step.
Interviewing is like buying a car. Would you buy a car just by reading the sticker on the side? No you would sit in it, open the glove compartment, maybe look under the hood and take it for a ride. Your decision would be based on the whole process not just the specs and sticker price.
By putting your references on your resume you give the employer the option to make a decision about you just by reading your resume and by calling one reference without ever getting to know you (looking under the hood) or interviewing you (taking you for test drive).
References are golden! They are not handed out willy-nilly like free fake tattoos at a child’s birthday party. Before a client calls your reference you had better damn well know that they will say the right things and be available when called. And also expect the call from the employer or whoever is calling to ask them the questions.
Imagine because you put your references on your resume and then posted your resume on Monster or Dice or some other job board, your references where called 10 times in a week without your knowledge. By the 10th time this busy executive being called could be a little less positive about you.
References can actually be your competition. If the reference is a co-worker and has similar skills as you, the person reading your resume may also call the references and solicit them for your potential job.
Avoid these potential problems. DO NOT put the names, titles & contact info of your references on your resume. If you must, put at the bottom of the resume “References available upon request”.