Archive for June, 2010

Continued from part 1 of Filling Gaps in Your Resume – First 5 Tips

Part 2 – Next 5 tips

  1. Always Update Your Resume                        
    • Keep track of your full-time job search
    • Use a database or a CRM to track all of your contacts – useful in interviews and later on when that potential employer you applied to eight months ago finally calls (I recommend using Jibber Jobber – www.jibberjobber.com)
    • Consider changing careers – do research on new careers / companies
    • Go on Information Interviews – to research into new markets and potential employers
    • Go after the Hidden Job Market
  2. Try Job Sharing or Part-Time Work
    • Consider job sharing – will help you keep your skills current
    • Find contracts as opposed to only looking for full-time work
    • Take a part-time job to keep yourself afloat, keep yourself networked, and keep your spirits up 
  3.  Work with Former Employers and Colleagues
    • Call up a former employer and offer to help them with their latest projects
    • Do some free-lance work
    • Support former colleagues by offering your assistance 
  4. Join Professional Organizations
    • Maintain contacts and find new ones by joining professional organizations in your field and in your community 
      •  Examples of such organizations are the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO) {or the one for your province or state}, Certified  Human Resources Professional (CHRP) {or the one for your province or state}, Project Management Institute (PMI), etc.
    • Find mentors, co-workers and new projects to work on
    • Network through these organizations – search their job boards and databases
    • Work on a Board of Directors of a professional organization in order to get noticed
  5. Build and Work on Your Network
    • Always work on your network before you need it and continue to work on it when you get laid-off
    • Consider becoming a Mentor
    • Attend meetings of local community groups that support laid-off workers and find new ways to expand your network, knowledge and your field i.e. Kanata Kareer Group (KKG in Ottawa, Canada), OCRI – Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation,  The Ottawa Network (TON), etc.
    • Find community groups in your city or town where you can expand your knowledge and obtain support while looking for a new opportunity
    • Listen and join podcasts, read blogs, join LinkedIn discussion groups – make comments on all and get noticed

It’s really hard to find full-time work unless you are actively working at the job hunt everyday. When job seekers have not tried to fill the gaps and say that they have been ACTIVELY JOB SEEKING, potential employers are turned off.  Companies who might be hiring do not even consider qualified job seekers for an interview when they have large gaps in their resumes. It is better to fill the gap with relevant and useful work rather than to leave breaks where you could have been doing something useful and proactive   

Your resume is one of your best marketing tools, so try to show potential employers just how skilled and accomplished you really are by “Filling Gaps in Your Resume”.

I have a friend who made the most of his time when he was laid-off.  He was let go from a great job that he had been in for almost 28 years. He became busier while on the job hunt than he was when he was working full-time.

So what happens when you get laid-off or lose your job?  Do you suddenly drop out of circulation?  Do you really cease to exist?  Does your network suddenly drop you?

My friend decided not to waste his time ONLY looking at the online job boards, but to add to his skills set while he was searching for a new position.   He still hunted high and low for a new job, which took him a while, but in the end, he landed a great job and is happy.  To fill in the gaps in his resume, he decided to get proactive instead of sitting around moping.  Just because my friend was not getting paid for his work, did not mean that the work he decided to do was not valuable or should not be counted.

Filling in gaps in a resume is a great way to stay current with the job market, meet new people, network, and potentially land a new job. He used some of these techniques and is now working in a great job in his field.

Here are 10 ways in which job seekers can “Fill Gaps in the Resume”.

  1. Volunteer
    • Do some community work and give back
    • Broaden your opportunities by talking to a wider variety of people
    • Volunteering is good for the heart – it makes you live longer
    • Teach children the value of giving back by setting an example and volunteering      
  2. Attend Seminars and Workshops
    • Fine seminars related to and slightly out of your field
    • Listen to and talk to the key speakers
    • Find out new information
    • Network with others and spread the new information IN your field (your colleagues)
  3. Upgrade Your Skills
    • Take courses towards certifications
    • Attend conferences
    • Write White Papers related to your field as a Subject Matter Expert (SME)
    • Go back to school to finish up a degree or even change careers
  4. Take a Job Slightly Out of Your Field
    • Do some training or teaching SME or Mentoring
    • Help someone who needs something i.e. create a website or a database
    • Work with others in your field to solve problems
  5. Consider starting your own business as an Entrepreneur or helping a Start-Up
    • Take that basement idea and start your own company
    • Seek entrepreneurial help – every community has a chamber of commerce or business help program
    • Work with existing Start-ups to gain experience and move them closer to obtaining customers or funding
    • Do a Needs Analysis and create a solution to a problem

Next 5 tips are continued in Filling Gaps in Your Resume – Part 2

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