How Gaps in Your Work History Can Determine Your Resume Format

by Morgan Amos 11. March 2017 05:03

I’ll be honest, continuously looking for a job has made me frustrated, forlorn, and almost ready to give up. I question why I haven’t found anything. What is it about my resume that has employers not calling me in for an interview? As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for. I was told by two career professionals who I had contacted to aid in my search of finding employment that my resume wasn’t up to par because it showed I had been inactive from work for three years.

Let this be a lesson to you. Your resume is the first introduction to that employer getting to know you, and more importantly, finding out if they should care enough to hire you for that position. I did receive calls for interviews but they were far and few, and the advice I received from the professionals made me realize that my resume needed some work. Sometimes we all need to hear the harsh truth despite how we may feel. Keeping in mind that this advice is from someone who genuinely cares about your well-being, or from someone who can offer you an objective point of view. It is that advice that can help us to better ourselves overall. After I heard from these professionals that being out of work for that length of time was a hindrance on my resume and that I needed to fix it, I took that advice and moved forward with the intent of making my resume better.

Through the course of my career, I’ve obtained a vast amount of experiences such as being a writer and lending administrative support in the position as Academic Counselor for my alma mater. Because of this, I created two resumes to highlight my skills when applying for various career positions. The resume in question is my administrative support resume. I researched the different resume formats and found the one that suits my experience, which was the functional resume.

There are three resume formats that you can utilize. Chronological, functional, and combination. To determine which format works for you would be based on your experience. Each format serves a different purpose. When figuring out which one you should use, keep these three things in mind.

1. Experience Matters

When you are gathering information to write your resume, keep in mind the experience you’ve accumulated because this is information you’ll want to put down. If you don’t have any work experience yet, you can put down course work related to the position you are applying for.

2. Resumes are Part of Your Introduction 

You’ve only got a few seconds to introduce yourself to your employer and your resume gets you in the door before you have that face-to-face meeting, so make it count. Include the most significant and relevant information on your resume.

3. Keep Your Resume Updated

As you gain new experiences or if you change careers, it’s important to keep your resume updated. Your resume is a timeline of the work you’ve done, and should be updated with your most relevant work first and your previous work experiences last. If you are like me and have a gap in your work history where you worked for example in 2013 and didn’t find employment again until 2017, it’s best to use a functional resume opposed to the others.