Resume Ideas

employment gap

Explaining the Employment Gap On Your Resume

You took some time away from your career, and that’s OK. Maybe you tended to a sick family member, catered to your kids, pursued another degree, or traveled the world. Whatever it might have been, you’re now ready to jump back into the workforce.

Not so fast.

If your resume reveals an employment gap, expect hiring managers to inquire.

Of course, what seems like a simple question will be paired with a simple answer … right? You know why you took that time away from your career. But can you clearly explain your decision and how it worked to your advantage? After all, you’re vying for a job against candidates who might boast more recent experience.

Instead of getting caught in a bind of stress and fumbling your words (we’ve all been there), enter your interview prepared to master your employment gap explanation.

Here are six tips to help you overcome the inevitable “What have you been up to?” interview question.

1. Exercise Discretion

If not properly prepared, a moment of panic could lead to you to divulging way too much information.

Does someone who’s been sitting behind a desk for 10 years straight, want to hear every detail of your six-month adventure through Asia? Does he or she need to know how you afforded it? Or that a brutal breakup sparked it? Probably not.

Nor does the hiring manager want to know the nitty-gritty details of the diapers you’ve changed or how awful little Tim is before bedtime.

If you’ve faced challenges and were forced to take a gap in employment due to tragedy or hardship, be careful here too. Sometimes people — especially mere strangers — don’t know how to respond when it comes to grief, so spare them. And you certainly don’t want to break down in tears during your interview. Try to keep those details to yourself.

2. Provide Clarification

You definitely don’t want to overshare, but don’t cloak yourself in mystery, either.

Instead, find the right balance. Explain you took time off to spend with your kids, needed to decompress after several high-pressure years in your field, or that you faced little choice and owed it to your mom to help her out. There’s no shame in that.

By explaining why you elected to call it quits for a while (without oversharing), a hiring manager will likely feel more comfortable knowing what happened — and that you didn’t just run away.

Important note: Remember there’s a difference between explaining and justifying. Don’t get stuck feeling like you have to justify why you stepped away from your career. You’re not out to prove anything.

3. Tell Them About Your New Skills

Unfortunately, changing a diaper in under a minute doesn’t count as a new skill set (though that is a commendable feat).

Be sure to mention any volunteer work, classes, certifications, or even conferences you attended during your employment gap. If none of those options are relevant, know you probably picked up a new soft skill.

General soft skills to discuss during an interview include communication, adaptability, problem-solving, and critical observation. Remember to show, not tell. Offer concrete examples and situations that show how you learned to better communicate or how you became more comfortable adapting to unexpected situations.

Being able to show you’ve grown during your employment gap is respectable, so don’t forget to highlight it.

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How To: Present Leadership Skills on Your Resume

Leadership is an essential function of successful management that helps to maximize work efficiency and to achieve organizational goals. Regardless of the type of the job you’re looking for or a company’s size, leadership skills are paramount. They belong to the group of the most sought-after soft skills that employers look for in candidates.

Your first contact with a hiring company or organization is through the job application and resume, so how can you demonstrate leadership skills without speaking with an employer or recruiter? It all comes down to the way you write the resume. Here are some top tips on how to optimize your resume with enhanced leadership skills.

leadership skills

Supply Examples of Leadership Skills

An average employer or recruiter gets hundreds of resumes for any given job position. The chances of getting an interview increase for those who stand out. The most important thing you can do when showing off leadership skills on a resume is to provide specific examples. It’s common for applicants to state they have great leadership skills without providing evidence. To stand out, mention some leadership-related accomplishments from a previous job. Ask yourself two questions: what did I do and how did I do it.

Here are a few examples:

  • Coached my team and to adopt a new business strategy (mention details about the strategy)
  • Successfully organized seminars, meetings, team-building activities, and collaborations with other companies
  • Had to quickly adapt to changes (include specific example) and prepare for unforeseen circumstances

Quantifiable Results

Qualities of a good leader don’t stop with the ability to motivate and lead others, they also extend to work efficiency and specific, measurable results. When writing about achievements from previous jobs, always quantify your results with statistics and hard numbers. In fact, avoid vague descriptions entirely. Employers appreciate concise writing and resumes that get straight to the point.

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5 Common Resume Mistakes to Avoid

Effective resumes feature killer content, consistent formatting, and an attractive design. Careless mistakes, lack of detail, and general sloppiness can hurt your chances of making it to the interview, even if you’re fully qualified for the position. Here are five common resume mistakes to avoid – and tips on how to keep them out of your resume.

1. Grammatical Errors and Typos

By the time you finish writing, editing, and tweaking your resume, it’s easy to gloss over misspellings and grammatical errors. However, those mistakes can make you seem careless to a hiring manager. Correctable slipups send the message to potential employers that you lack attention to detail and don’t check your work. It’s a surefire way to torpedo your chances of securing the job you want.

Good writers follow a simple rule: everyone needs an editor. The simplest way to combat spelling and other errors is to have someone qualified give your resume the once-over. You can also ask a family member or friend to read through your resume and look for any errors. To a fresh set of eyes, spelling mistakes and grammar issues will leap off the page, and a second opinion can be invaluable on your resume.

2. Being Vague

When listing your experience, you want to show both what you’ve done and what you’ve achieved. Not everyone has a shelf full of awards, and most hiring managers don’t expect them. However, if you’ve helped create value, reduced inefficiency, cut costs, or increased the bottom line, be sure to say so.

Some people may counsel you to phrase all your duties as accomplishments, but we recommend a more natural mix of what you’ve done and how you’ve helped your previous employers. When in doubt, keep it simple and be specific by using data and metrics.

3. Too Many Needless Details

Knowing which details to cut can be tough. Start by removing any information that is irrelevant to the job description. Extraneous information includes professional and educational experiences that don’t apply to the position. This “padding” won’t help you secure the job, and it can obscure your relevant experience and credentials.

Again, customize your resume each time you apply for a position. Look at the job ad and include the skills and experience it calls for prominently. Doing so will require a few minutes of editing each resume, but the extra time will pay off. A tailored resume shows initiative.

4. Lack of Focus

Employers screen your resume in as few as six seconds, so make sure your professional summary sums up your abilities in a few sentences. Include a short description below your header – one or two sentences is ideal – that draws in the reader and showcases your abilities and talents.

5. Too Long or Too Short

Too often, job seekers with a decade or more of professional experience will cram all that experience into a one-page resume. On the flip side, jobseekers with less — or even zero — relevant professional experience will try to find a way to fill multiple pages. A rule of thumb is to have one resume page per decade of work experience.

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How to Develop Your Soft Skills to Advance Your Career

We’ve all heard what an asset it is in the job market to know data analysis, be able to code in C++, and speak fluent Spanish. But what about being able to listen well, to manage your time like a boss, and to lead a team meeting that leaves everybody smiling afterward? While more difficult to measure and quantify, these types of skills – soft skills – are the glue that hold together any workplace.

Being able to identify your soft skills and give examples of them is a critical part of any job interview. Many people choose to list soft skills on their resume to make it stand out. If you’re having trouble identifying your soft skills – or know what soft skills you have, but want to develop them more – you’ve come to the right place. This guide will help you single out and develop your soft skills – which will ultimately lead to more successes in interviews and on the job.

What are Soft Skills?

Soft skills are character traits, personal attributes, and other non-technical abilities that help you work and communicate with other people. To develop your soft skills, some you might have to study and learn, and others might come to you naturally. Listening, communication and delegation are all examples of soft skills.

The opposite of soft skills are hard skills, which are technical abilities like knowing how to code in python, make a graph on excel, or speak a foreign language. While hard skills can be more easily defined and measured, soft skills are more difficult to measure. But that doesn’t mean they’re any less important – in fact, if you’re not a good communicator, you’ll have a difficult time even getting past the first interview!

How to Identify Your Soft Skills

At many points during your education or career, you’ve probably worked on a team. But are you good at teamwork? Are you so good at teamwork that you would include it on the skills section of your resume? Not sure? Let’s talk about identifying your soft skills.

Identifying your soft skills isn’t necessarily something you can do alone, either. Ask friends, colleagues, and even former employers which soft skills come to mind when they think of you. You can also ask them to bring up specific examples of when you used that soft skill well. You might even discover things about yourself that you didn’t know before. For example, if you think you’re disorganized, but everyone you talk to points to your organizational skills as somewhere you excel, you might want to consider changing that perception of yourself – and including it on your resume!

Here is a list of soft skills. Do you identify with any of them? Can you point to examples in your career where you used them to accomplish something?

  • Time management
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Adaptability
  • Ability to perform under pressure
  • Innovation
  • Listening
  • Delegation
  • Problem-solving

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How To: Maximize Your Resume Without Being Dishonest

Your resume has a single task— catch the eye of the recruiter and get you shortlisted from a bunch of qualified candidates. It is not an autobiography, but a sales pitch telling a story in a visually appealing manner, while highlighting key elements to get a favorable decision. It is not based on lies or fiction that can destroy your career. Here’s how you can maximize your resume without being dishonest.

Narrate your Experience

This is a sure way to maximize your resume. The recruiter is interested in what you can achieve and not in the job description of your previous role. So, don’t speak about how you were responsible for sales. Talk about reducing costs by 10% instead of being responsible for budgeting. Use a common XYZ format to share your story—in situation X, I did Y to achieve Z. For example, established the first overseas office, contributing 10% to the company’s revenue in Year 1.

What to Include

Make your story relevant and not comprehensive. Tailor your resume to the job description provided. Talk about latest job first —in reverse chronological order and keep education below work experience. Include your hobbies only if you are a fresher and can showcase your extracurricular achievements instead of professional experience. If you have 15 to 30 years of work experience, club the first 10-20 years under a single heading. To share additional details, include your LinkedIn profile, your website containing your design portfolio or your finance blog that demonstrates your market expertise and reputation.

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Give Your Resume a Spring Cleaning

With the current uncharted times we’re all facing and the tremendous shift to the global economy, many of us are feeling the impacts of shakeups in the job market. Whether you have recently been affected by layoffs and forced to think about a new job or are simply taking this time at home to better yourself and reflect on your career and future goals, now is the perfect time to pull your resume out of storage and give your professional image an update.

Top 3 Resume Tips:

  1. Bullets, Bullets, Bullets – Because hiring managers are sifting through hundreds of resumes per job opening, they are forced to quickly determine whether or not a candidate has the right skills for the role. If a hiring manager can’t quickly find what they’re looking for, they will move on to the next resume. Using bullet points instead of paragraphs, helps break down the content into a more easily comprehensible format. It’s a bonus if your bullets reflect actionable verbs and quantifiable successes.
  2. The One Page Rule – Historically a maximum of one page has been emphasized as best practice for a resume but it’s an outdated rule. As long as your job history commands it and your content is aligned and not full of fluff, a strong resume can easily be longer than one page.
  3. Tailor Your Resume to the Job – In some cases, your resume may not align directly with the various jobs you’re applying to. Take the time to read through the job description of your desired position and make notes of the requirements and skills with which you have experience. Ensure that those are clearly spelled out and exhibited in your resume. Having the right key words in relation to the job description is critical!

Whether you’re ready to apply for jobs or simply keeping your eyes peeled for the “perfect” role, I’d love to work with you with you to implement formatting upgrades that will make your resume relevant and appealing and/or content creation that will help you best tell your professional story.

Email me, Julia Turpit, at to schedule an introductory call.

Areas of Expertise:

  • Resume Formatting
  • Resume and Application Content Creation
  • Professional Summaries
  • Cover Letters
  • LinkedIn Profile Building

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6 Ways to Build a Resume That Stands Out

Customize Your Resume For Your Industry

Whether you’re deciding to switch jobs for the third time, or applying for the first time, the job application process can be overwhelming. Especially when trying to create a resume that stands out. Hiring managers don’t have a ton of time to thoroughly look over each resume, which means you have to be considerate about what to include. From choosing the right font to deciding whether or not to include that internship, creating a resume in 2020 isn’t easy. So how do you make your resume stand out among hundreds of applicants? Consider these six tips from top HR executives Time Magazine interviewed.

People are often encouraged to include personality in their resume, but unless they are applying for a job in a creative industry, they may want to rethink that strategy. “A lot of pictures and fonts and colors and a whole lot of personality just doesn’t align with the jobs we have here,” says Schweikert, whose team recruits for positions in sales, product, and marketing. “If I was in an organization that, for example, was in web design, then I would want to see those design elements in a resume.”

Include Keywords From The Original Job Posting

One of the best ways to make your resume stand out is to use the job posting as a guide. Some companies conduct keyword searches when sorting through resumes. Schweikert adds, “which means those terms are even more important to include if you want to secure an interview. It may sound tedious, but taking the time to customize your resume for each job you apply to is a surefire tactic to stand out among the pack of applicants,” she says.

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How To Make Your Resume Awesome By Adding Any Of These Powerful Action Verbs

Most resume bullet points start with the same words. Frankly, the same tired old words hiring managers have heard over and over—to the point where they’ve lost a lot of their meaning and don’t do much to show off your accomplishments.

So, let’s get a little more creative, shall we? Next time you update your resume, switch up a few of those common words and phrases with strong, compelling action verbs that will catch hiring managers’ eyes.

No matter what duty or accomplishment you’re trying to show off, we’ve got just the resume action verb for you. Check out the full list on The Muse, and get ready to make your resume way more exciting!

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Integrity in Business: Why It Matters

Nearly everyone agrees integrity in business is important. It’s a buzzword you see in many corporate mission statements and on numerous resumes. But what exactly does it mean? How can we demonstrate integrity in business on a day to day basis? And is it really that big of a deal?

Yes. Integrity matters. In fact, to quote Alan K. Simpson, “If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.” Let’s talk about why.

Finding Integrity in Business

This month, we at Building Careers celebrate four years of inspiring people to succeed. And we would like to highlight one of the core values we believe has been crucial to our success. We’ve found integrity is a very real, governing principle that has real-life consequences in our personal and professional lives. We believe it can make all the difference for you, too.

You can find integrity in business in many places:

  • The employee who stands up for her co-worker when the boss mistakenly blames the co-worker for her failure.
  • The job candidate who gives straightforward answers about gaps in a work history.
  • The consultant who clearly explains why a deadline was missed.
  • The executive who sets clear expectations and doesn’t change them.
  • The broker who lives up to each promise made to the client.

We face integrity decisions on daily basis. And whether or not we make smart decisions determines how we are perceived, how we perceive ourselves, and even how we perceive others. Those who live out integrity in business often find others of like conviction to partner with. Ethical behavior tends to breed more ethical behavior.

The Challenge

But it can be challenging in the world of commercial real estate to consistently make the right judgment calls. Many situations can be confusing. How forthcoming should be brokers be about possible delays in closing time? Where do contractors draw the line regarding necessary and unnecessary expenses? How much of a third-party property manager’s time was allotted for working on the client’s CAM reconciliations versus busy work?

The nature of integrity in business is such that there is no policy manual to cover every contingency – it’s just plain tricky. And so working with people committed to integrity in business is all the more important. Because integrity isn’t a simple matter of following the corporate policy. It’s a philosophy – an attitude that governs every interaction.

Integrity Matters

The benefits of making honest decisions and doing the right thing in the workplace are significant. This isn’t a matter of ethics for ethics sake. Those who do the right thing and exhibit honesty and integrity in business typically enjoy the payoff.

  • Honest employees are more trusted by their peers and thus more productive team players.
  • Companies that always deliver on their promises build mutual respect with clients and are thus more likely to be forgiven or understood should a misstep or complication occur.
  • Businesses who have the reputation for integrity are well known and liked and thus more likely to get more and repeat business.
  • Firms known for their smart business dealings typically have a more loyal following.
  • Ethical companies often have more ethical employees who serve as excellent brand ambassadors.
  • Companies that clearly communicate and always do exactly what they say have fewer misunderstandings and more happy client relationships.
  • Trustworthy businesses often work on more sensitive projects dealing with confidential information yielding greater returns.

Integrity matters in so many ways. Companies and professionals who practice integrity in business are a joy to work with. They do not act based on the profit motive alone or sell out their convictions for a price. Working with people who have a reputation for honesty and integrity makes every step of the process more rewarding and productive.

In these relationships, commitments are paramount. Honesty dictates not only that no lies are told but also that the whole truth is disclosed. Integrity serves as an anchor that keeps all other ethics intact. Engagements are always respectful and considerate. And ultimately, success thrives in an atmosphere of trust.

If you would like to work with some of the ethical businesses and professionals we network with, contact us today!


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How to Prevent Your Resume from Becoming Obsolete

Is the traditional resume becoming obsolete? The short answer is no. If we spent as much time on our resumes as we do on our social media profiles, maybe we would get as many likes from potential employers as we do from social connections. While this might seem blatantly obvious to most, it’s worth reiterating how important it is to take the necessary time to devote to continuously updating the best resume possible.

Update Your Resume Consistently

Take the Time to Review the Entire Resume and Ensure Proper Tenses Are Used

One of the most crucial things you can do to put your best foot forward is take the time to properly update your resume when it’s time to look for a new position. Many candidates have great content in their original resumes, however, it may have been years since they have looked for a job and therefore last updated their resume. One of the things I frequently see reflected in candidates’ resumes is a sense of urgency. They’re rushing through edits, only adding their most recent position, and forgetting to put the previous one in past tense. Take note, if you are no longer working in a current position at a current company, the associated bullets/description should be in the past tense. A lot of candidate’s older positions will be past tense, with the top two incorrectly being present tense. Only your current position should be in the present tense.

Employ Proper Grammar and Punctuation and Have Another Set of Eyes Review

On that note, whether you’re applying for a new position or simply wanting to give your resume a fresh look, it’s always a good time to proofread your resume for grammatical and spelling errors more than once in more than one way. Have a peer read through it, read through it yourself a couple of times, and/or enlist the help of a professional resume consultant to, at the very least, give your resume a once over for basic spelling and grammatical mistakes. You’d be surprised at the number of periods mistakenly following incomplete sentences!

Tailor Your Resume to the Job You Want

Your current resume may not be properly tailored to each job you’re applying for. Take the time to read through the job description of your desired position and make notes of the requirements and skills with which you have experience. Ensure that those are clearly spelled out and exhibited in your resume. Having the right key words in relation to the job description is critical!

Quantify, Quantify, Quantify

Be clear about what you have contributed to past and current employers in definitive terms. For example, how much did you save the company in operating expenses on their assets by implementing a new vendor proposal system? What is the magnitude of assets you have sourced, underwritten, and closed? The more specifics you can offer on your resume to a potential new employer, the more they will recognize your value.

Your resume represents you and your qualifications and is essentially seeking the respect of hiring managers and potential employers. Don’t rush through a quick revision and send your resume to the hiring manager of your dream job without giving it some TLC. You only get one chance to make a first impression.

If it’s time for you to give your resume some much needed attention, please feel free to connect with me at to see how I can help.

By: Julia Turpit

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