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Hiding Résumé Flaws
By Jennifer Anthony, ResumeASAP
If you're job hunting, the last thing you need is weakness in your résumé.
Any bit of negative information can keep you from
landing your ideal job. Issues such as lack of
a college degree or minimal job experience don't
have to hinder your efforts. All you need to do
is work a little résumé magic.
Here are some tips to help you create a winning
Format is Everything
So, you've been unemployed for the past seven
months. The last thing you want to do is draw
attention to those dates. Instead, focus your
résumé to highlight your abilities.
By listing your skills over your experience, you're
highlighting those areas that are most important.
There are basically three types of résumé
formats: chronological, functional and combination.
When trying to hide your flaws, avoid the traditionally
used chronological format that is organized by
your employment history. This format will draw
attention to negative aspects such as employment
gaps or limited work history.
There are two formats that will conceal résumé
weaknesses well: functional and combination.
A functional résumé lists skills
categories and accomplishments over dates. Instead
of listing job experience, the résumé
would present categories relating to skills. For
instance, if you are a medical transcriptionist,
you could list "Transcription" as one
of the categories and detail your words per minute
and your accuracy record. You might also list
your computer skills and software proficiency.
While this style works well to hide weaknesses,
employers typically get frustrated while reading
them because they can’t figure out where
or how you gained your experience and abilities.
The best alternative is the combination résumé,
which is a style I use quite often. It merges
the chronological and functional résumé
styles by presenting your knowledge and abilities
gained from work experience in reverse chronological
order. The benefit to this format is that it still
looks familiar to the chronological style that
most employers are accustomed to reading while
emphasizing your applicable skills.
How to Stand Out from the Crowd
What makes you unique? If you're talented in
unexpected areas, bring these to light on your
résumé. Whether you spent years
as a file clerk, or flipped burgers, you still
have skills. Highlight these. How did you contribute
at past places of employment? Detail your achievements
Do you speak another language? Can you troubleshoot
a faulty computer? Do you have the ability to
soothe ruffled feathers? These are all assets
and should be listed as such. If you love to spend
hours surfing the Net, detail your research skills.
If you enjoy a good conversation, talk up your
people skills. Surely, there are plenty of ways
to set you apart from the competition.
If you just graduated from school or don't have
much in the way of employment experience, fear
not -- you still have skills. At which courses
did you excel? What papers received high marks?
Did you win the high school science fair? These
are all worthwhile résumé contributions.
If you want to be called in for an interview,
your résumé has to stand out. Even
if you don't have as much experience as your peers,
or a mottled work history, you can still make
Jennifer Anthony is the Director of ResumeASAP,
offering professional and affordable résumé
writing services. If you have comments about this
article, or if you are interested in learning
more about professional résumé writing,
please contact Jennifer Anthony by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.