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Employment gaps or other spotty information on your resume can make finding a new job more challenging. In an interview, a potential employer is trying to determine whether you would add value to their company if hired. If your work history is less than stellar, this may be cause for concern. But fortunately, there are things you can do to overcome this hurdle.

Start by tailoring your resume toward your strengths, as opposed to chronologically listing positions you’ve held. This is known as a functional resume. Your skills are placed at the top of the page, putting them at the forefront of a hiring manager’s mind. Your job history follows, in a more secondary role.

Keep It Positive

Be prepared to speak honestly about the issues, while keeping your tone and attitude positive.

  • Wait for your interviewer to ask about specific issues, and then explain how each one has positively added to your qualifications and overall work ethic. For instance, if you were fired, tell your interviewer why it happened and explain how it has changed you for the better. Take some time to outline these responses in advance.
  • Emphasize your most relevant skills. Don’t let your interviewer run the conversation, if they start to be obsessed with your work history. Keep the tone light and bridge your responses back to how you could be an asset if hired.
  • Talk about activities outside of employment. For example, explain how you used an employment gap to go back to school or to do volunteer work. Make a list of activities that would impress an employer.
  • Never argue or speak negatively. Sometimes, work history can be a sensitive subject. Keep your cool and don’t lose your temper. And never bad mouth a previous employer. This will send up an immediate red flag.
  • Fill out all paperwork accurately. If you try to embellish or omit key information, you run the risk of an employer finding out the truth through a reference or background check. Even if the matter seems small to you, never compromise on being honest.
  • Gather positive references. Reach out to former managers, colleagues, professors and others who can vouch for your skills, integrity and work ethic.

A career coach can be a tremendous asset as you find and land your next great job – especially if you need tailored advice on perfecting your resume, interviewing, and navigating through the hiring process. At PrideStaff Fresno, we love helping people build their opportunities and put their professional skills to the best possible use. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.

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