Ten jobs in 10 years might look like a job hopper or a committed consultant, depending on how you present your work history in a resume.
By Lisa Vaas
It didn’t make sense. Doneé had been searching for work in the digital media industry for nearly eight months by the time she hooked up with career coach Adriana Llames, author of “Career Sudoku: 9 Ways to Win the Job Search Game.” Doneé had in-depth industry knowledge, plenty of contacts and is good at networking.
Then Llames saw her resume. Whoa.
Ten jobs in the past nine years? No wonder she wasn’t succeeding. Llames called a few executive recruiters in the digital media industry and asked if they knew, or had worked with, her client. They all said that they wouldn’t represent her because of what they called her “unstable work history.”
Llames, like all career coaches, doesn’t have the luxury of passing on such a problem child, so she rolled up her sleeves. Here’s what she did to help position Doneé’s unstable work history in a positive light and how she applied some of the techniques professional resume writers often employ for bumpy histories like Doneé’s.
List Contracting Positions as One “Consulting” Job
In the course of reviewing Doneé’s resume, Llames found that nearly 65 percent of her positions starting in 2001 were consulting roles. (Doneé is, in fact, currently consulting.) So Llames grouped the consulting gigs together and focused all of Page 1 on her client’s consulting expertise and clients.
Cheryl E. Palmer, a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), noted that many people use their names for the name of their consulting organization (i.e., James Smith Consulting Group). “It makes the resume much crisper and cleaner to summarize consulting jobs under one position and combine the dates for all of the consulting work rather than listing them all separately.”
Llames followed suit and listed the other positions, even though they each lasted about 12 months, on Page 2. But, Llames told her client, she was still concerned that what she called “her career ADD [Attention Deficit Disorder]” would come across even with the revised resume.
That makes networking all the more important. Llames suggested that, whenever possible, Doneé should try to “keep her resume to herself until she’s across the table from someone and they’re already in love with her and ready to go.”
When to Delete a Gig
It’s OK to omit those full-time positions with extremely short tenures. Palmer said the rule of thumb for full-time positions is to omit those that last less than three months.
Account for Your Time Away From Work
Shel Horowitz, “ethical marketing expert” and author of eight books, advised one client who’d been out of the workforce raising children for 10 years. As many resume experts advise in such cases, he highlighted her volunteer work as if it consisted of paying positions (without, of course, saying that they were actually paying positions, which would have been a lie). The client got a job as director of a local human services agency. (Click on the link that follows for our in-depth look at transitioning from full-time parenting to full-time work.)
For another client, he accounted for a two-year gap by talking about the travel he did in that period.
Many professionals also mask short employment gaps by using whole-year formats for dates instead of month/year, but many hiring managers report that this raises suspicions and few resume experts recommend trying to hide gaps in this manner. Stick to the month/year format and come up with something relevant to insert into the gap, whether it’s family illness, sabbatical, professionally relevant courses, volunteer work, working on a book, etc. – just make sure it’s accurate and truthful. If you’re unemployed now and lack such justifications, immediately start working on being relevant in one or more of these ways. (Click on the link that follows to learn more about handling negatives on your resume.)
How many of you find this article to be true? Please share your experiences…
Kelly was a bright woman in her early 30s: whip-smart, well qualified, ambitious—and confused. Even a little frightened.
She worked for a female partner in a big consulting firm. Her boss was so solicitous that Kelly hoped the woman—one of just a few top female partners—might become her mentor. But she began to feel that something was wrong. In meetings, her boss would dismiss her ideas without discussion and even cut her off in mid-sentence. Kelly started to hear about meetings to which she wasn’t invited but felt she should be. She was excluded from her boss’s small circle of confidants.
What confused Kelly was that she was otherwise doing well at the firm. She felt respected and supported by the other senior partners. She had just one problem, but it was a big one. One of the male partners pulled her aside and confirmed Kelly’s suspicions: Her boss had been suggesting to others that Kelly might be happier in a different job, one “more in line with her skills.”
The Boomer Brain Drain: Golden Opportunity for Women
The generational shift of the next seven years will present an unprecedented opportunity for women to ascend to leadership. There won’t be enough men in Gen X to fill the vacuum left by retiring Boomers. For every two people who retire, there’s just one Gen Xer to take their place. I can’t stop thinking about what this means for women between now and 2020.
FACT: There are 81 million Boomers in the U.S, 51 percent are women. Yet, in the Fortune 1000 companies, there are just 42 women CEO’s.
FACT: According to Catalyst, the average board of a Fortune 500 company in is just 16 percent female.
FACT: There are only 46 million Gen Xers in the U.S., 52 percent are women.
Companies will need to harness the young leaders they have so the Boomer Brain Drain has as little impact as possible on their organizations. If they don’t, the leadership gap could cause a greater economic downturn than the current recession. That’s because people with little or no leadership experience will be catapulted to positions they’re not ready to fill. Companies could poach qualified people. But there won’t be enough qualified men to fill those positions.
This is great news for women who can prepare themselves now to step up to those soon-to-be vacant leadership positions.
To prepare yourself, think about the knowledge that will be lost when Boomers retire and how you can begin to acquire that knowledge now.
- Take advantage of knowledge transfer opportunities in your organization and professional associations.
- Get a mentor and be a mentor. Mentors advance more quickly and can earn up to $25,000 a year more than their colleagues who don’t. Mentees learn the ropes more quickly than experience alone can teach them.
- Earn that degree you’ve been putting off.
- Volunteer on a non-profit board so you can learn and practice collaborative decision-making. Choose one where you’ll work alongside high-level executives. This will increase your confidence and expand your network.
During these next few years more women than ever before will be able to rise and take their place among the leaders of U.S. corporations and non-profits. You could be one of them.
Get to know Susan: Susan Bender Phelps runs Odyssey Mentoring and Leadership. She is the author of the best-selling book,” Aspire Higher,” true career and business mentoring success stories that inspire readers to use mentoring to create breakthrough results. She can be reached at susanbp(at)odysseymentoring.com
I want to talk about nonprofit organizations, and how in the early months of the economic downturn, many considered the idea of collaboration. Many of our colleagues were open to the idea of strategic alliances ranging from shared back-office operations to full-blown mergers. Yet, only 1 percent of actually reported having merged with another one. One conclusion is that it appears that the urgency for organizations to align themselves strategically has waned, although foundation funding to nonprofits continues to decline or disappear completely.
In the communities I work with, collaborations have been minimal, if they exist at all. Organizations may be waiting for foundation funding streams to reappear to pre-recession levels, negating the need for such collaboration. The truth of the matter is, funding as we knew it will not return to its glorious past. Organizations that do not seek to work closely with other groups only exacerbate the fragmented service-delivery system that prevents us from solving problems in our communities.
Nonprofit strategic collaboration is the path to change, meaningful impact and funding. Nonprofit leaders, however, are wired to get things done, and unfortunately, are not necessarily focused on identifying new ways to structure their organizations to improve service delivery. This requires a different set of skills and the luxury of time for reflection and planning.
Perhaps foundation program staff members, who know their grantees and communities intimately, should begin identifying and sharing what they observe as promising possible partnerships among nonprofits. This may be considered risky by some as foundation staff members resist “directing” organizations. However, with economic uncertainty here for a long time, if not now, then when…and if not from foundations, then where?
We need conversation starters and skilled intermediaries to help organizations recognize and realize new possibilities. Nonprofit leaders also need a safe space and time to engage peer organizations in a new way.
Finally, we need capital to move organizations from conversation to execution. To our knowledge, there are three funds—created either by shared pools of foundation money or by single foundations—that assist organizations with the capital necessary to align strategically. It is clear that we need more than three funds if nonprofit organizations are going to get serious about reducing inefficiency and producing strong results.
Get to know Lynn: Lynn A. Harden, a creative organizational strategist. As a consultant for nonprofits, Lynn has a unique ability to strengthen funding opportunities for your existing programs by creating compelling business plans, fundraising strategies. Contact: email@example.com
Put Love Back In
Sometimes we let love seep out of our lives and it’s nowhere to be found. We are at our happiest when we love others, love what we do and love unconditionally. We all get stuck, and fall into the trap of our daily routine. We need to inject love back in our lives.
Love Where You Are
Be content with where you are and be able to appreciate what’s around you instead of always being in a constant search of something you don’t have. And even more importantly, love the people you are blessed with having in your life. Every single person in your life brings a unique aspect that you couldn’t get from anyone but them.
You’ll never again be where you are at this very moment. Live it and love it.
Love What You Do
Many of us have forgotten why we do what we do. We’ve allowed circumstances or setbacks to bring us down. We’ve lost our glow. Success is not possible without love. Love what you do. Love those who you do it for.
Don’t take love for granted. Remember why there is only one person on this planet that can do what you do, how you do it and the way you do. And that’s you.
Love Without Limits
Finally, when you love, love without limits. Don’t put up conditions or walls. Love openly. Love freely. And love first without expecting to be loved back.
If you can do that, you’ll be happier, healthier and you’ll have more people who love you than you know what to do with.
Love hard. Don’t ease up.
Get to know Cathey: Cathey Armillas is a non-traditional marketing strategist and speaker on The Unbreakable Rules of Marketing: 9 1/2 Ways to Get People to Love You) www.puramarketing.com
Who’s Hanging Out in your Web?
Questions like … how do we keep it real in the face of what can be sometimes feel like digital delusion? How is technology changing our brains? And how can we keep relevant and at the same time satisfy our core needs in our families, businesses, and daily connections?
Since being a tree climbing tomboy animal adoring dancing fool little girl I have been utterly fascinated with how life makes sense of itself. Curiosity has led me to observe why people make meaning out of life, how they connect to that personal wellspring of energy, and why is it that some people flow with the bumps of living and others become the bumps and live in quiet desperation? The best place I have been able to connect the dots of the vastly complex yet utterly simple needs of human nature is to look at the life sciences.
Being a humble brain aficionado and lover of systemic organization, I have found that when looking at base needs for life I see structures that require healthy connections in order to thrive. A flower needs water, roots, and sun. A herd of elephants needs biological sustenance, community, and habitat. The human brain needs water, healthy blood flow, and novel experiences that help it remain fit by growing new neural pathways. Everything is as healthy as the relationships it lives within.
And what about humans? As much as we are the genius innovators, paradigm shifters, and world resource dominators, for good or bad, don’t our primal needs come back to that of the flower, elephant, or brain? So how do we remain humble to our simple needs and connected to the complexity of modern life? How do we remain relevant in cultures based on the value of virtual, i.e., simulated exchanges?
I will be bold in saying that as a life system unto ourselves we cannot rely on virtual life to sustain our primal needs. We must grab opportunities to be in the flesh and blood as much as possible and use Internet programs much like a back office support resource. I see the web much like a brain, growing neurons and synapses and adapting every millisecond. Yet much like a healthy child’s brain, quality over quantity can make a world of difference. I’d choose an organic web of life any day over a matrix of ones and zeros that are virtually meaningless when isolated from their system. Though the irony is that that is just what can happen to us if we get trapped in its illusory web. I ask myself, if the Internet disintegrated tomorrow, whom would I turn to for connection in life and business? My organic web. That keeps the virtual just that and my real world, well, just that as well.
Get to know Michelle: Michelle synergizes her love of science, creativity, and people into a big top sized venture called Brain Circus. She believes that the human brain and heart expand thru the power and practice of curiosity. Michelle and her leadership team offer events that offer presenters and “playsenters” on topics of brain fitness, innovation, creativity, and expressively healthy ways to bust down the walls of any boxes that keep us separate from each other and ourselves. Current development and creative combustion is focused on the Brain Circus model for hemispheric happiness to be brought into businesses brainstorms, corporate cultures, and so much more! She also helps launch businesses dedicated to the greater good thru her other company Blast! Business Branding.
- Small business/start-ups – Black women are starting businesses at a faster rate than other women yet our businesses are earning less than women of other races. Also, Black women tend to remain in unfulfilling corporate jobs either because they are unsure of how to transition out of Corporate America or they erroneously believe it will cost a lot of money to start a business will still working for someone else. Embrace technology and be consistent and before you know it, you could be a full time entrepreneur!
- Relationships – Way too many Black women are not in a relationship but want to be and in many instances, this is because they insist on a man of a certain height, career or education status or – wait for it – race! Be open and the right man (he may not look like you thought he would) may walk right into your life.
- Safety – Too many Americans are dying due to gun violence. Those opposed to some type of gun regulation say guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Wrong! Guns – those objects that fire bullets when its trigger is pulled kill people. Why any normal everyday American needs an assault rifle which can fire off more rounds than the police is beyond me. Ban assault rifles now!
Get to know Carmin:
Carmin Wharton is a home-based business expert and the founder of www.e-BlackWomenNetwork.com, a membership community designed to take businesses owned by women of color from start-up to prosperity. She is also a relationship expert and is the author of Lessons Learned: While Looking for Love in All the Wrong Faces. Follow Carmin at http://www.e-blackwomennetwork.com and http://www.lovelessonslearned.com.
What’s on my mind right now?
The American Dream. I’ve spent a lifetime thinking about this phrase. Is it real? Is it possible? I determined through my own experiences that the American Dream can come to fruition not only at an individual level, but also on a community-wide level. The American Dream is achieved in an environment I call – a state of opportunity. Opportunities must be facilitated and can take many shapes and forms.
For me, these opportunities included having mentors, career advisers, becoming an American citizen, and a strong commitment to hard work. For my parents, the state of opportunity included a business investment, gradually learning English, and leaving their friends, family and homeland thousands of miles behind to ensure that not only they personally prospered and thrived, that we too, their children, had a chance to live our own American Dream. As a community, we have a responsibility to create these states of opportunity not only for individuals (which is essential), but also for our business community, in our schools, in our neighborhoods, and in our cities. American Dream is possible – after all, this is America
Get to know Galina: Galina Burley is a mother of three and is an immigrant from Russia. After moving to America in 1991 with $50 to their name, Galina’s parents relied on her to get a job, learn English, and help them navigate the complexities of their new life in this country. At an early age, Galina became fluent in English, helped her parents start a family business and went to college while working two jobs and raising a family. In addition to her outstanding work as a Manager of a large scale public agency. In 2013, Galina is considering running for the Vancouver City Council to ensure that her city continues to thrive and prosper.
Whats on my mind now is the call to action for unity as it relates to our being divided by various life choices ie; religion, sexuality and gender. This call is much easier to answer than believable.
Build your career around the computer
Increasingly, technology is leaving its imprint on our daily routines, from the smartphones and computers we use at work to the tablets we poke at home.
With the explosion in technology platforms has come an expansion in job opportunities. And geographically, there are no bounds to where you can practice your expertise: Try life as a computer systems analyst on the fast-paced, urban streets of Washington D.C., or head for the sun-covered hills of Silicon Valley as a Web developer.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the tech boom will create more than one million new jobs by 2020.
Here is a closer look at the nine occupations on U.S. News’s list of Best Technology Jobs.