Man on trapeze

Between the Trapezes

Handling Gaps in Your Resume

December 2007

 

Greetings!

Welcome to Between the Trapezes! Often the changes in our lives feel precarious as we are suspended between two certainties. But the frightening moment passes as we bravely go on to the next step -- as we always do.

Enjoy reading, and feel free to forward this e-zine on to anyone, wherever they are job searching! And if you received this e-mail in error, our apologies -- just unsubscribe using the easy link at the bottom of this page.

Joanne

Topics:

Mind the Gap

Your Job Search During December

How to Find "Best Companies" Lists: A Gift to Yourself



Mind the Gap

Group interview

In London's Underground, or subway system, there are constant reminders to avoid stepping in the slight gap between the platform and the train doors. "Mind the gap!" the loudspeakers repeat frequently.

But what about that recent gap in your resume? Should you ignore it, hoping a potential employer won't see it?

Perhaps you were raising your family, or helping an elderly parent, or writing a book, or taking care of health issues, or traveling cross-country taking photographs. Whatever the reason, a gap in your resume raises questions that your competitor's resume does not. So you do need to address it, either in the resume or in your cover letter. I prefer to do so in the resume just in case the cover letter/cover email goes unread.

I use two approaches with my clients. The first way is to focus the resume on your successes in such a way that the reader's attention is focused on something else. That means emphasizing your successes, by giving examples and by using bullets that focus on the value you'd bring. When you present such a strong case for yourself, it minimizes any unusual aspects of your background.

Now that isn't to say it will then go unnoticed. So, a second approach is that you can address it first. Some of my colleagues suggest putting it in chronological order, just like another job. Instead, I put it in its own section in the Summary or "above the line", beginning section of the resume. For someone who was, for example, taking care of an ailing parent, we'd say "Caregiver: Directed the care of ailing parent, supervising all medical assistance and care plans, as well as resolving all financial and legal issues. 2004-2007." And that's it, short and sweet.

Employers are human beings and understand major life events can temporarily alter a career path. (You wouldn't want to work for someone who doesn't understand, would you?) So "mind the gap" by addressing it. By you bringing it up first, and addressing it in a professional manner, you'll minimize any concern. And you'll hold their interest in the real value you bring.



Your Job Search During December

Book cover med

The most important reasons to keep your job search going during the holidays are:

  • Staying in contact with others at this time of the year is uplifting for you
  • You'll meet with less resistance at this time of year,
  • Going to as many social events as possible is great for networking
  • Now is when companies discover they can do hiring, before the quarter or annual business year closes
  • The week between Christmas and New Year's Day can be quiet in many offices, so your call might actually be answered by the exact person you're trying to reach
  • You'll have a head start on your competition who are probably postponing their search for January 2nd. Why wait?

A December networking tip: Don't insist on a meeting right now. If they are harried at this time of year, get their OK to contact them at a time and day they name, and ask if it would help to send them a reminder "via email tomorrow". Chances are they'll readily agree to that. And they'll appreciate your thoughtfulness.

GIFT IDEA: We know that not everyone's in job search, but for the professional in your life who wants to be prepared "just in case", why not order Joanne's new book, The Resume Queen's Job Search Thesaurus and Career Guide for Professionals. This combination thesaurus and job search advice guide is a fast read. It's practical and the Quotes from the Queen are timeless. "It's like having Joanne talking directly with you about your search", says one reader.

You can get it here or on Amazon.com, where it's getting wonderful reviews. AND it's also available as a iVersion for your iPod.

Have you thought about getting career or job search coaching?



How to Find "Best Companies" Lists: A Gift to Yourself

red gift box

Clients often ask about finding "best companies" lists, especially "Best Companies to Work For" lists. One key source is your regional weekly business journal. Business journals often gather info then publish lists on an annual basis. And business sections of regional newspapers, as well as national business magazines, publish their lists. Organizations that serve groups such as minorities, older Americans, and the disabled put out their own lists.

Of course, there are many lists online. About.com has a good page dedicated to "best companies to work for" and you'll see several lists there.

And the best way to learn, first-hand, about good companies is while networking. Ask your connections if their company or organization is good to work for, and why they feel that way. If a company's culture and goals match yours, it's a good bet you'll be happy there.

For a gift certificate that could accelerate a career...

Thought of the Day

Joanne's pic

From our family to yours, we wish you a meaningful and serene time with family and friends this holiday season.


Joanne

_________________________

We are proud members of:

  • Association of Career Professionals Int'l
  • Northeast Human Resources Association
  • Career Masters Alliance/Institute
  • Career Counselors Consortium/Boston
  • National Resume Writers Association
  • Chapman Private Practice Alliance
  • BNI Golden Givers, Holden, Mass.

Called "The Resume Queen" years ago by a career counselor colleague, Joanne Meehl decided to have fun with the nickname (which we've officially trademarked). But she also takes it seriously by keeping her career management skills on the leading edge, through research and ongoing dialog with hiring managers.
You're now seeing us use "The Job Search Queen", which better reflects the breadth of our services. The trademark is pending. We use both "queen" nicknames in our materials.

Look for our redesigned web site, to debut any day now. A whole new look and easier-to-find information! Stay tuned: there are more changes to come in 2008. After all, it is a new year!

________________________

Meetings of Face2Face, the Job Search Networking Group (only $5 for members, $10 for first-timers!) are:

December 19th: Holiday Pot Luck Brunch! $10 for first-timers, FREE for members who bring food to share!
January 2nd: Brad Chetwynd, Senior Recruiter, on Landing a Job in 2008
January 16th: Geoff Vercauteren, Career Coach at one of Boston's leading hospitals, on Smart Job Search Perspectives

All meetings are on the first and third Wednesdays of each month, 9am - noon, in Boxborough, Mass. near the intersection of Routes 495 and 2. For details about the programs, and directions, click here.

At Face2Face meetings, we make it easier for you to network, no matter how shy you are. Come meet new people who might be the connection to your next job!

Joanne's Blog: The Heart of the Matter

 

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