Beware The Overshare

Dear LolaCat -

There are a couple of gaps in my employment on my resume that were due to personal reasons. When is a good time to explain this to a potential employer? I have so much going on at home I like to give them as much information as possible.

Thanks for your help,
Total Info Sherri

Dear Over Sherri -

I love to read and pride myself on my knowledge of the classics. “A Tale of Two Kitties”, “Of Mice and Men”, and “Anna Katenina” are a few of my favorites. Although the trials and tribulations of your private life might be an epic read, it’s just not the stuff for a compelling resume.

Your resume is a snapshot of the skills you have and a summary of your past employment. It is the key that gets you into the door for an interview. Any added dramatic detail could easily throw off the interviewer and put you out of the running for the job.

Discretion_Is_The_Better_Part_of_ValorA job interview is an opportunity for the potential employer to ask questions about your past work experience, or things they see on the resume. This is your chance to expand on the experience listed on your resume according to the questions they ask you.

A potential employer may only take a few seconds to look at your resume before making a decision as to whether to bring you in for an interview or not. If it takes them longer than that to find the information they are looking for, chances are it’s going in the ‘No’ pile.

Similar to when you have to answer the dreaded “what’s your weakness” question, you need to be honest when listing your dates of employment. Don’t try to change the dates to make it look like there was a smooth transition from one job to another. If the potential employer checks your references and the dates are incorrect, you will not be moving forward. Or, if you are already employed, this may be terms for dismissal.

Keep a diary if you want to chronicle the things you have been doing while you are not working. A resume should only outline your experience and work related super powers. Mentioning personal things on your resume is a guaranteed way to change the focus from why you should be considered for the position to why you should not. Show them you are professional and expect a happy ending to the tale of your job search.

Best wishes,
Lola*Cat

Do you have a job seeking or office etiquette question for Lola*Cat? Send her an email: DearLolaCat@alanjblair.com


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