After your resume is complete, see if it makes the initial impression or impact you want. Give your resume to two or three objective colleagues who you can trust. Ideally, you want colleagues from the business world who hire as part of their job. Ask them to take ten to fifteen seconds to look at your resume. What do they remember?
If the “impact” points of your resume are not what you want them to remember, you may need to revise it. On the other hand, if your review group remembers what you want to communicate with your resume, it’s ready for use! Have your “quality control” group do the same for your other job-search documents or online profiles.
You can add a QR code to your resume (a QR code is a static-like barcode found on many contemporary advertisements). They can add a unique visual appearance to your resume and be a differentiator. They have faded in popularity, but can be effectively used in some industries (e.g., marketing, advertising, etc.) Generally speaking, QR codes tend to appear on a resume either in the upper right hand corner of the front page or bottom of the second page, but there is no placement rule. Use discretion and make sure the code does not distract from your resume’s overall appearance.
What the Pros Say:
What is your opinion about adding a QR code on a resume?
I think they are a bit of a fad. Personally, I have never put one on a resume. I could maybe see a case to put one on for someone in marketing because they want to demonstrate their knowledge of digital marketing. I will say that if you do include one, the site you lead the reader to better be impressive.
Dealing with Employment Gaps on a Resume
Employment gaps on a resume can create anxiety. Fortunately, most employers understand the difficulties of the job market, the negative employment dynamics of a particular industry, or have experienced a gap in employment themselves.
Judgments regarding employment gaps have eased. According to a study conducted by CareerBuilder, 85 percent of hiring executives and human resource professionals are more understanding of employment gaps than they once were. While there is an understanding that bad things can happen to good people, there are limits. If your gap is reasonably short and you have been productive in some way using or enhancing your skills, the gap is generally overlooked. But the longer the gap, the more negatively an employer views that gap.
Studies indicate that once your employment gap exceeds six months, your job search can become precipitously more difficult. The unstated reasoning is if you have been unemployed for over six months nobody wants to hire you (especially when you have been actively looking for a job).
So, how can you get around this potential judgment and frightening statistic? Take comfort—there are ways:
• On your resume, list your dates of employment in years only, not month and year. It is honest and can cover your gap. However, if asked about actual dates of employment, be forthright with your answer.
• Use a Showcase resume. Do what you can to emphasize your strongest selling points up front on your resume. Hopefully, this will focus the employer on your skills, knowledge, and achievements and not on the employment gap.
• Become a consultant. You obviously have ability, so try to secure some paid opportunities to advise and consult with companies in your areas of expertise. The key is to show that you have remained active and are using your skills.
• Volunteer to offer your services for a worthy cause or association. It may not be complicated work, but it is using your skills in some capacity. Examples: As an accountant, do the bookkeeping for a nonprofit which you are passionate about. As a sales professional, volunteer to do fund-raising.
• Continue your education. This does not necessarily mean getting an MBA (although, clearly, that would be advantageous), but begin working toward a substantive industry designation.
• Be very cautious of the word “sabbatical” on a resume. It is an unusual word to the commercial private business sector. It raises the suspicion of long-term unemployment.
• Depending upon the circumstances, briefly address the employment gap in your cover letter. It could be that you chose not to look for a job, but you must have a very good reason. This information would come under the “Additional Information” section. (See Cover Letters and Other Written Communications.) Keep it brief.
• As a last resort, use the Functional resume format.
• Above all, never sacrifice your integrity.
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