Whether you've been out of a job by chance or by choice, it can be frustrating trying to get back into the field when you've got an unstable employment record. The more gaps you have in your work history, the harder it can be to convince an employer to add you to his team. While it's certainly hard to find employment when you've been out of work, it isn't impossible, and there are a number of things you can do to increase your likelihood of being hired.
Highlight Your Skills
Your resume will make a first impression on potential employers, and you want that impression to be a positive one. Instead of showing a potential employer your unstable job history first thing, focus on showcasing your skills instead. Devote the first third of your resume to a list of your skills, followed by a short description of each. This will force companies to notice the relevant skills you can bring to their company in the present, and could prevent them from passing up on your resume by focusing too much on irrelevant lapses of employment in your past.
If your work history is full of gaps, see if you can make this less noticeable on your resume by lumping similar jobs together under one heading. For example, if you were a secretary for two different employers, list your job title and the total years you spent in that career followed by the names of the two companies. This will make the gap in your employment less apparent on paper.
Include Your Accomplishments
If you've earned a degree or hold a certification, take time to include it on your resume. In some cases, accomplishments can even explain lapses in employment, such as time you spent going to college instead of working. Companies typically want educated and well-rounded employees who have accomplished things in their lives both in and out of a work environment. If you've won awards or have received professional accolades in your previous jobs -- even if your time working there was brief -- include the information on your resume and don't forget to mention these accomplishments in an interview.
Prepare Your Explanation
When it comes time to interview with a company, be prepared to explain each and every phase of unemployment in your work history. Some common causes of unemployment, such as illness or temporary disability, can be relatively easy to explain and a hiring manager may not pay much attention to them. Others, such as forceful termination, can be a little bit trickier to convince a potential employer to brush under the rug. The most important thing is to be honest about why you were without work and take full responsibility for any hand you played in your own unemployment. Honesty shows maturity and accountability, two traits employers value in their employees. Don't be evasive in the interview and keep your answers simple and to the point while remaining truthful.
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