Pinpoint areas in your resume that need help
With Landon Wong
Client Services Manager for Hawaii Public Policy Advocates LLC, which serves as the Executive Director for the Society For Human Resource Management Hawaii Chapter
Now is a good time to fill in the gaps of your work skills, whether you are seeking a job or currently working in one you love. Your future career depends, to a large degree, on the experiences you gain today. Finding creative ways to complement what is already on your resume can help ensure that your career path takes you in a direction to achieve your long-term goals.
Q. My current job doesn’t offer me a chance to learn about different areas within my profession. What can I do?
A. If you are new to management and lack leadership experience, consider volunteering with a community organization or leading a committee in a professional organization, which can enhance your resume and improve your skills in managing others. You also may want to step back and ask yourself whether your current employer’s lack of support for your career development is a deal-breaker for you. Can you make the case to your current boss that you should be given the time and resources necessary to learn a new skill so that it benefits your employer too?
Q. Won’t my resume look more scattered if I try a bunch of new things?
A. Your resume should be an accurate reflection of your knowledge, skills and experience. It should also tell a story that points to the job you seek or may one day want to explore. Volunteer experiences or new responsibilities in your current job should be included on your resume in a way that tells a cohesive story. Omit volunteer activities from your resume if they don’t seem to contribute to your qualifications.
Q. I’ve changed jobs a lot, but I’m not sure that there are gaps in my resume. How do I know?
A. On average, people hold jobs for a shorter length of time than they did 25 years ago. Just because you have had many employers doesn’t mean that you don’t have gaps, however. Are there missing time periods in between jobs? Although “resume gaps” typically mean an unexplained lapse of time, you also should ask a trusted colleague, friend or human resource professional whether they see a lack of skills reflected in your resume. It’s difficult to see what is missing from your own resume, but a person who reads it anew can help. For example, someone might notice that you are applying for a business management position, but have failed to note your financial expertise. If the skills gap is real, you will have a clear path for what to learn next.