Looking to get back into the workforce but aren’t sure how to prepare your resume? Writing your resume can often be a daunting task – especially if you have taken a sabbatical and are returning to the workforce. We have found that many people find it hard to know what to include while writing their resume. How do you explain the years of employment gap, all your previous experience, and come up with a concise job description all in just a few bullet points?
So… we sat down with the creator of “your best resume” and resume professional, Sara Hutchison, and learned some of the most frequently asked resume questions and how to address them. We’ve compiled the info and put together an easy guide to follow when writing your resume.
- How do I address my employment gap/family sabbatical? “My advice is to address it, address it early on and DON’T dwell on it”, Sara Hutchison states. Address it early and keep it short, you want your employer to focus on your credentials not your employment gap. Keep in mind, it isn’t necessary to explain your situation or employment gap; acknowledge it and move on.
- How do I compose my cover letter? “Let the employer reading the cover letter know you are qualified, that you have read the job description and that you meet the credentials”, Sara states. Start the sentence off strong and let the employer know from the very beginning that you are qualified.
- Which is better; skills-based or chronological resume? It is best to stick to chronological resumes unless asked to provide a skills-based resume. With online applications a chronological resume will benefit you in entering all your information, where as a skills-based resume may be harder for the employer to read.
- Can I include older work/hourly jobs? The answer is yes, including older work or hourly jobs is absolutely okay. The best way to include these areas is by adding an “additional work history” section at the bottom of your resume. This is where you can state something like “holds additional 16 years of experience in customer service etc.” That way the employer has knowledge of your experience but isn’t weeding through every hourly job you had in college.
- Should I add additional freelance work? Of course, you can add additional freelance work as long as it is relevant. Add any relevant freelance work as you would any other job with stats and strong bullet points. Keep in mind that it is important to not fluff your job; for example, if you are an Etsy store owner don’t fluff your job by using the title CEO or President. Use accurate titles and descriptions of your work.
- How many pages should my resume be? When in doubt, strive to keep your resume to one page only. However, if necessary two pages are acceptable. Keep in mind you don’t want to bore the employer. Make sure your bullet points on the second page are portraying important information about your skills or accomplishments during that job.
- How do I tailor my resume? Tailoring your resume is important. This will help the employer to see you are very interested in applying for this position. One of the best ways to do this is to simply adjust your profile summary to the specific position you are applying for. As for those who have two different industries of focus in their career with extensive experience, it is better to have two different resumes prepared to focus on a specific position.
- How do I construct a strong bullet point? The ultimate formula to a strong bullet point = keyword/verb + a number. Adding job specific keywords and verbs plus a number will help distinguish job duties and your accomplishments within the role. By adding numbers, it allows the job description to become accomplishments, which is what employers are looking for on a resume.
One last tip is to be sure to review your resume for typos and grammar. Maybe even have a trusted friend look it over as well. Additionally, MomSource is happy to help you with this process. We have many resources, from a resume writer to career counselors, that could take you through step by step.