Dealing with Résumé Gaps
If you're a recent college graduate, a person who is changing careers, or just someone who has been out of work for a while, you can compensate for little or missing information by:
- Listing volunteer and educational experiences that have sharpened your skills.
- Camouflaging short gaps by using only year dates (not month and year) on the résumé.
- Using your cover letter to explain gaps, but without using an apologetic tone.
You probably wouldn't wear the same outfit to a job interview that you wore to one 10 years ago, so don't use the same résumé you used back then, either. Sure, you may have added one or two jobs to your "experience" category, but likely left all the other sections just about the same. If you aren't getting results with your current résumé, consider revising it. When updating your résumé, keep the following tips in mind:
- Make sure your descriptions are concise and detailed.
- If you have a long job history (more than 15 years) focus on just the most relevant, significant and recent information.
- Remove any personal pronouns. Save them for your cover letter.
- Keep the résumé length to two pages or less (or just one, if your job history is short).
- Proofread your résumé very carefully for typos and grammatical errors.
Now that you've updated your résumé, you'll want to customize it for each new potential position you apply for. Many companies now use software that searches résumés for keywords specific to the qualifications they're looking for. So if you ensure your résumé addresses the specific skills and experience required for the position, it's much more likely to pass through for further evaluation.
Don't just send a customized résumé; keep reading to learn how to keep a company's attention.