Pre-planning for your departure

BY SAMANTHA NOLAN Modified: May 3, 2013 at 11:50 am •  Published: May 4, 2013
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Dear Sam: I need your advice and help on how to make my résumé stand out. Right now my experience circulates around clerical and customer service positions. I have always been told that my experience looks great, but my job history is not stable and is a huge red flag. I’ll be honest, I have been let go from a few jobs and others just did not work out. I would like to make more than $10.00/hour and get my career on track. I'm thinking of taking some accounting classes at a local community college to get more experience. – Lost

Dear Lost: I can see from your résumé that you have held seven positions between 2002 and 2013. That really is not terrible considering the economy and what has become the “norm” of layoffs in almost every candidate’s background. There are some things you can do however to minimize the appearance of being seen as a job-hopper.

First, you have included months and years of experience. Instead, only include years of employment with each engagement. So, instead of saying you were with a company from August 2012 to February 2013, simply list 2012 to 2013. By doing this you immediately eliminate being seen as a short-term employee. In addition, your experience suddenly looks more valuable as a potential employer will not know if you were employed for seven months or two years. Once you change your dates to only years, you can also remove short-term positions that do not add value to your candidacy.

For instance, once presenting only years of employment you could remove your temporary data entry role through a staffing agency. As this position does not add any additional value to your candidacy, omitting it and demonstrating your data entry skills elsewhere, would benefit the picture of your candidacy on paper. Lastly, improve the presentation of your background to glean additional time in the screening process, being sure to not only present the basics of your role, but how you performed above expectations. Through a combination of content and design, potential employers will start seeing your great experience instead of your frequent job hops.