If you’ve been actively looking for work for more than six months and you haven’t yet received an offer that meets your needs, you’re officially heading into the job search category known as “long-term unemployment.”
Don’t panic. On a positive note, this line is an arbitrary milestone that doesn’t really change anything important about your candidacy. But on the flip side, at about the six-month mark, employers begin to take notice of your growing resume gap, and some tough questions may start coming your way.
Now may be an excellent time to start heading off these questions and concerns by making a few adjustments to your resume. Start with these tips:
1. Reorganize your work history by order of relevance rather than chronology. If your most recent position is still the most relevant to your target employers, keep it at the top. But revise the positions below. Drop the ones that get the least attention to the bottom of the list (or omit them), and bump up the ones that will make employers focus on your experience and forget their concern about your employment gap.
2. Start bringing your recent experience into the mix. Even if you haven’t been employed full time in the position of your dreams, you’ve certainly been doing something during the last six months in addition to just searching for work. Volunteering, joining community boards, joining open source communities, tutoring, working part time, and all other activities that show a sense of energy, organization, and commitment will help you earn the attention of any responsible employer. And if you haven’t been doing any of these things, now is the time to start.
3. Adjust your summary. In fact, don’t just edit your summary; delete it and start over. You’re in a different place now than you were six months ago. Whether you realize it yet or not, you’ve grown, you’ve learned some things, and your needs—both personal and professional—have changed. Make sure your new summary reflects this.
4 Edit your cover letter to fit your new resume. In fact, don’t just edit your template letter. As with your resume summary, delete and start from scratch. Don’t keep hammering away with the same relentless tactics and the same worn-out arguments. If something isn’t working, then it isn’t working, and it’s time for a new approach.
5. Expand your range of options. Six months ago you may have been looking for a very specific job title , in a very specific corner of a very specific industry. But it’s time to loosen those criteria a bit and adjust your goals and your definition of success. Start recognizing wider possibilities and open yourself up to positions you may have rejected or ignored in the past. These may include consulting, freelancing, switching careers altogether, or starting your own business.
Alter Your Resume…But Not Entirely
Regardless of the changes you decide to make to your resume, you’ll still need to keep your document brief, clear, relevant, and well-organized. Professional formatting is always essential to an effective resume, and LiveCareer’s Resume Builder can keep you on track…no matter where the future takes you.