Resume Finesse: Tell Me
Again, Why Did You Leave Your Last Job After Six Months?
by Teena Rose of Résumé to Referral http://www.resumebycprw.com
That’s not a
question you want to field during an important job interview, especially
if the details are gory. And why would you be asked such a question?
Because you included it on your resume so that it would be sure to come
up during the interview!
A resume isn’t just a
bunch of facts typed up neatly. A resume presents the best picture of you, the
professional. A good resume shines a spotlight on your business
accomplishments while sweeping your shortfalls and shortcomings under the carpet
(or at least putting the best face on these ‘difficult’ resume entries.)
The Fudge Factor
There’s a big difference
between emphasizing career highlights and creating highlights that never took
During your last semester
of college you dropped out to tour as a roadie with Aerosmith. Good times. But,
you never quite went back to get that degree. You almost got it, but not
You might be tempted to
apply the fudge factor here and claim a degree that you haven’t quite earned.
Don’t do it. Your resume must be 110% accurate in every fact. However, what
facts are included or excluded and how the remaining facts are positioned are
simply aspects of good resume preparation.
Resume Blemish #1: 12
Jobs in Four Years
You quit for a better job,
got laid off, downsized, moved across country and picked up an additional
certification so your staying power at any one position is rightfully suspect to
a prospective employer.
Pick the jobs that are
most relevant to the one for which you’re applying. No lies. Just put your
relevant experience to the forefront.
employment start and end dates and when the subject comes up during an
interview, you’ll be prepared to explain the holes in your work history. This
brings up blemish number two.
Resume Blemish #2:
Holes in Your Work History
Prospective employers like
to see a nice, steady work history with nice, steady advancement as you move
from company to company: more responsibilities, more varied experience, and
greater impact on the company’s bottom line. (It all comes down to the bottom
line.) That’s what your next employer is looking for.
So how do you explain the
fact that you left your last job in the previous millennium? Or that two year
block of time when you hiked through the Andes?
Holes like this stand out,
but they can be addressed in your cover letter. Again, honesty counts, so be
truthful. You’ve been out of the workforce since 1999 raising your family, and
now, you’re ready to re-enter the job market (with your completely up-to-date
skill set). Or, you wanted to follow your dream to trek the Andes before you got
too old. Straight up, tell the truth.
The Resume Statute of
Typically, you can leave
off anything older than 10 years. In today’s job market, anything before that is
ancient history. So, if you had a few “misfires” early in your career, leave
Also, if your most
relevant experience also happens to be your most recent (usually the case as you
work your way up the ladder), you can omit that old two-year stint as a bank
teller before you got into marketing. Again, the key is to choose selectively
the information that best demonstrates your value as the company’s newest
Finally, the Details
Read it. Reread it. Read
it again. Have your spouse read it, the kids, or your mother-in-law – anybody
you can collar. You’re looking for input and reaction. Does it grab your
attention? Does this sound right? Edit and polish each entry accordingly.
Proof it. No mistakes. No
spelling errors, grammar’s up to snuff, proper format. If it’s professional,
Don’t Try This at Home
If you don’t have a clue
how to structure your work history and play down your job-jumping binge, hire a
professional resume preparer. It’ll cost a few bucks, but it’ll be the best
investment in your future you ever make.
Teena Rose operates a prominent and
professional resume writing service, Resume to Referral.
She’s authored several career
books, including "20-Minute
Cover Letter Fixer"
to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag Book"
and "Cracking the Code to Pharmaceutical Sales."
Teena Rose, CPRW, CEIP, CCM
Resume to Referral
7211 Taylorsville Road, Office 208
Huber Heights, OH 45424
Phone: (937) 236-1360
Fax: (937) 236-1351