Ways to Improve Your Resume After a Career Break

October 14, 2011 by Susan Gunelius
Career Development

Guest Post by Margaret Francis.

Ways to Improve Your Resume After a Career Break

Life happens and sometimes that means that you will have to take a leave of absence from work. You may have to take a break due to pregnancy, illness, or some other type of personal situation. Regardless of the reason, it is important to stay connected to the industry and improve your knowledge and skills while you are gone. When it comes to your resume, you will likely have to disclose that you were gone for a while, but there are some ways to still maintain an impeccable resume. Here are some ways to improve your resume after a career break.

Improve your resume by reviewing sample resumes

Look at your resume objectively and find some other sample resumes for the sake of comparison, ResumeIndex is a great resource for samples. If you notice that the sample resumes all have certain types of key features, then it is likely that your resume should have them too. Reviewing sample resumes can also provide ideas and clues as to how to describe your work experiences as well.

Write a concrete goal statement

Many job applicants have very loosely written statements regarding their goals and objectives. A lot of resumes will have open ended statements in order to be considered for a wide range of employment opportunities, but that is usually not a good idea. Most employers like to see a firm, concrete statement regarding the objectives and goals of the job applicant because it shows that the person has a long term plan.

Stay connected through social media networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook

Whenever a person takes a leave of absence for any reason at all, it is important to stay connected in the industry and continue to network. Social media networking websites like LinkedIn and Facebook allow you to keep in touch with former colleagues and contacts within the industry. This is vital because it can help you stay in the loop regarding new developments in the field. Potential employers will often look at your social media profile and try to see what you have been up to, so it looks good for them to see that you actually stayed connected to the industry throughout your leave of absence.

Add specific measurements to the resume

Employers like to see resumes that have specific measurements and figures to actually prove your track record. For example, a resume could say “I created a 35% increase in sales in my department”. These types of statistics and measurements show concrete evidence of the work you have done for previous employers.

Include employment and community service opportunities of all type

Applicants should include all of their employment and community service experiences on their resumes. This could be anything from freelance work, temporary employment, or volunteer work at a community organization. Although they many not seem like the most relevant experiences, they do help show employers that you have done something constructive with your time and that your are maintaining your knowledge and skills.

Connect the dots of your employment history

Instead of trying to hide the gaps in your employment, try to connect the dots and be open with employers. When employers see that you tried to hide the gaps in your resume, it can actually come across as very suspicious and it could raise a number of red flags. Explain your situation in your cover letter and also elaborate when you go the interview as well. Tell them why there are gaps in your employment and discuss the opportunities that you explored during your time away like if you completed any freelance work, community service, or educational programs.

A leave of absence can be inevitable, but it does not mean that it has to limit your employment opportunities. The key to getting back in the workforce is to craft a resume that shows proven results, concrete goals, social media connections, extensive employment experiences, and an honest employment history. Employers understand that these things do happen and they will likely be more understanding than you think.

Susan Gunelius

Susan Gunelius is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Women on Business. She is a 20-year veteran of the marketing field and has authored ten books about marketing, branding, and social media, including the highly popular 30-Minute Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing for Dummies, Blogging All-in-One for Dummies and Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Easy Steps. Susan’s marketing-related content can be found on Entrepreneur.com, Forbes.com, MSNBC.com, BusinessWeek.com, and more. Susan is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She has worked in corporate marketing roles and through client relationships with AT&T, HSBC, Citibank, Intuit, The New York Times, Cox Communications, and many more large and small companies around the world. Susan also speaks about marketing, branding and social media at events around the world and is frequently interviewed by television, online, radio, and print media organizations about these topics.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Professional Resume Writer October 14, 2011 at 10:06 pm

The key is to make the career break a career renewal. For instance, when you are ready to get back to work, take a refresher course (particularly important in any tech field that changes so fast). Or buy the latest books and provide your “career renewal reading list”. If you can show that you are up-to-date and that you are someone who uses all your opportunities to the max, who wouldn’t want to hire you?

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