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Gaps on resume: What to do

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by KJIM, Sep 7, 2010.

  1. KJIM

    KJIM Well-Known Member

    So I've been out of the Peace Corps 10 months, and have been looking for a job for even longer than that.

    The question now is what do I do to my resume? I'm worried about having it look like I've been doing nothing since Nov. 2009, and that's not the case. But the jobs I've had are seasonal and unrelated to any professional career. (I mean, holy cow, I am working at a dude ranch, for crying out loud!)

    If I don't list those three jobs I've worked for two months each, it looks like I've been sitting on my butt collecting unemployment (for which I am not eligible anyway). I do have one "ongoing" job, but it's more of a project and will end this month, too.

    We've touched on this before, but if there was a discussion I missed it. In this day and age, it can't possibly be as taboo as it was before to have gaps on the resume, but do I need to explain them up front? If so, how? Should I list these odd jobs?

    I really would prefer potential employers to know I have been working at expanding my skill set, even if it isn't directly related to my eventual new career. (Example: working in a kitchen stresses teamwork and organization. Referring baseball games provides training in conflict-resolution.) Is there some way to address that if the jobs are left off?

    I was just curious as to what others in this now-too-common situation have done.

    This isn't journalism-specific, but mods feel free to move if this isn't the right place for it.
  2. Iron_chet

    Iron_chet Well-Known Member

    My wife is a recruiter so I ran this by her while laying in bed.

    She says that one option would be to "lump" the odd jobbs together that you have been doing since leaving the Peace Corps. No need to list every job but reference that you have been working outside of your field.

    Businesses know it is tough in this economy and it shows that you are willing to work and keep moving forward while trying to get a career type job going.
  3. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    That's kind of what I've done. List the most relevant jobs first, then do a paragraph form (with dates) of all the other jobs. If employers want, they can piece together the history. At the very least, they'll see you've been working
  4. bagelchick

    bagelchick Active Member

    I've done a bunch of projects since getting laid off and I just lump them all together too.

    I also read somewhere that you can include any volunteer things that you might have done among this grouping that may be relevant.

    Anymore, I don't think employers are surprised by gaps.
  5. Point of Order

    Point of Order Active Member

    Yep. Agree with the above. If all the recent stuff is in the same line of work just put it in one line, list the date as whenever you started to present, and if asked explain in detail the situation.

    I list "Freelance writer/statistician" on my resume from 2000-present and do a couple of bullet points on all the different types of freelancing I've done.
  6. forever_town

    forever_town Active Member

    I listed my temp agency in my chronological resume, along with some of my job duties in the various assignments I've had. I would recommend using the approach of lumping in the other various jobs if they relate somehow to each other.

    I hadn't thought of using my baseball umpire/football and lacrosse official experience as possible items, but I've mentioned them on occasion when I've interviewed for jobs.

    Anyway, the other thing I've sometimes done is create a functional resume, although I've heard some people say THAT's a red flag.
  7. EagleMorph

    EagleMorph Member

    Tell them that you'd love to talk about that period in your life, but if you did, you'd have to kill them.
  8. That's optimistic. What about "you haven't done dick so we're going to tighten the screws and go for other candidates?" Hate to say it, but I'm playing Devil's Advocate here.

    Good economies are times to be going through Peace Corps. Now? Best of luck....
  9. jlee

    jlee Active Member

    So then what? Give up? Shuffle yourself loose this mortal coil after a half-year of out-of-field work? Or wait three more months? What's the moratorium on doing dick?

    I can't imagine a shop (well, one worth working for) that would look at a 10-month period of odd jobs during a time of 10 percent unemployment and say "Well, that raises a major concern."
  10. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    I would just list the dates and put in something exciting and mysterious:
    November 2008 to August 2010 - Classified
  11. Iron_chet

    Iron_chet Well-Known Member

    No problem on playing devil's advocate but you're wrong.

    Companies do not operate in a vaccuum, they know what is going on out there and a lot of the HR people are always talking to each other.

    The devil's position you are advocating is not the reality.
  12. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    I'd tell the SOBs to mind their own buisiness.
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