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My passion is workforce development! I've been actively networking with Lansing professionals over the past year - trying to build relationships with employers and job seekers alike. I would like to see talented folks get connected with businesses that are looking for them. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @tiffenator

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Five Tricky Resume Situations and How to Address Them

By OfficeTeam
Published: January 20, 2011

This article was written by OfficeTeam, a proud sponsor of OfficeArrow and the world's leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative and office support professionals

Every professional has produced at least one resume, and many have probably lost count of the number they've drafted during the course of their careers. Even though writing a resume is a universal experience, it still stumps people.

One reason is that they don't know how to address certain tricky details. Say, for example, that you are perfect for an open position, but you don't meet a specific educational requirement. How do you acknowledge this without jeopardizing your chances of being called in for an interview?

Here are five common issues you may face the next time you write a resume and strategies for addressing them:

1. You have a gap in your work history.
If you have a single gap - caused by a layoff or because you took time off to raise children, for example - explain the circumstances in your cover letter. Be sure to note anything you have done to remain professionally engaged while out of work, such as attending association events or taking classes.

If you have several gaps, you might consider a resume format that highlights your skills more so than your dates of employment. Begin your resume with a brief summary of your qualifications, followed by a section detailing your relevant software skills and abilities in other areas, such as leadership and communication. Also mention any professional certifications or special degrees you hold. End your resume with a brief listing of your work history in reverse chronological order.

2. You don't have much work experience.
If you're a recent graduate or relatively new to the profession, the white space on a resume may seem daunting. But you may have more to offer than you realize.

Consider any internships, volunteer positions, part-time work or even jobs outside the support field. Just be sure to highlight responsibilities and talents gained that are relevant to the position you seek.

3. You've spent your entire career at just one employer.
While your long tenure at a company demonstrates loyalty, you also want to make sure you emphasize career growth. So list and describe all of the positions held at the organization, highlighting your advancement.

If you have remained in the same role for some time, point out how you've changed the positions - by gradually expanding your scope of responsibility, for example. Also explain how you have kept your skills sharp so hiring managers know your abilities have not become stagnant.

4. You have short tenures at many companies.
Be careful about omitting any past positions. Leaving out even seemingly unimportant details may backfire if prospective employers learn you didn't disclose every aspect of your work history.

Explain in your cover letter reasons for the brief tenure that were beyond your control - for instance, you might have worked for a number of small firms that went out of business.

If you job-hopped for other reasons, be prepared to discuss the circumstances with the hiring manager if you are called in for an interview. You might note, for example, that you thought salary was critical when you were younger, but you are now motivated by professional challenge and long-term potential at a firm.

5. Your former employer changed its name.
You worked for years at a firm that has since been renamed or acquired by another company. To address this on your resume, list the current company name, followed by the firm's former name in parentheses. Putting both names on your resume will help potential employers locate the appropriate information when verifying your work history and conducting reference checks.

If your former employer has gone out of business, also note that in parentheses. Just be sure to keep in contact with anyone from the firm whom you hope to use as a professional reference.

Don't let the tricky aspects of your background give you writer's block. Look for ways to balance your shortcomings and highlight all that you do have to offer to a prospective employer. You'll capture the attention of hiring managers for the right reasons.

For additional information on writing a compelling resume, download a free copy of "Standing Out With Your Resume and Cover Letter" by visiting www.officeteam.com/CandidateFreeResources.

OfficeTeam is the world's leading staffing service specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative and office support professionals. The company has more than 320 locations worldwide, and offers online job search services at www.officeteam.com.

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