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How do I explain long unemployment gaps, weird job moves, short stints etc. on my resume without sounding bad?
A good resume tells a story: Your story. And that story must be cohesive, succinct and informative – leaving very little, if anything to call into question. While not every minute event should be detailed, it is vital to assess and include the most important sound bites…Because one key omission or ad nauseam diatribe and your candidacy is DOA.
Omitting important information on resumes is perhaps the most common mistake made by legal professionals today. A few typical exclusions include explanations for: long employment gaps, short moves, weird moves, non-legal moves, low salary, no promotions, industry switches, education issues to name a few. And these types of omissions can prove costly. Why? Because a lack of information is like a piece of Swiss cheese – creating holes that employers and resume readers will fill with something negative – beliefs, ideas, impressions, judgments – whether they are warranted or not. It’s human nature. So plugging these holes with information that you control is the best move if you want to secure the next step forward.
How can a legal professional achieve this and what should s/he include on the resume? As you seek to refine your own CV, below are the dos as well as well as some examples of well-phrased explanations:
Explanation samples for potential red flag situations:
Long Employment Gaps
It takes less than 45 seconds for an employer to develop a clear impression about a candidate from his/her resume. And during that brief time, questions can arise that if left unanswered, can raise a red flag and potentially doom a candidacy. So take care to identify what might seem unclear or left out of your story and thoughtfully fill in the blanks. By doing so, you’ll not only increase your chances of advancing forward…you’ll move one step closer to your happily ever after career.
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Andres Rincón-Retat, Associate, GPZ
Very good and useful response, as always. Thank you for sharing.