Question1: The last few years have been very difficult for job-seekers, and many of us have taken temporary assignments with agencies such as CNP while we search for permanent work. While the temporary positions have helped me learn new skills and support myself financially during my search, I am having trouble explaining the job-jumping and short-term positions to potential employers during interviews and don’t know how to list them on my resume. Any advice? – Leslie S.
Question2: With the economic downturn, I have found myself laid off from 3 positions over the last 3 years. I always received great performance reviews and got along well with my coworkers, but was one of the more recent hires and therefore my positions were some of the first to be eliminated. I’ve been feeling very self-conscious about moving around so much and want to make sure employers know that I am committed to staying for the long haul in my next role. How can I convince them? – Anonymous
A: With the ups and downs of the economy over the last few years, it isn’t a surprise that we have received multiple questions asking how to best represent one’s self when job searching. Many incredibly talented job-seekers have been laid off multiple times, now have gaps in their resumes, and have taken temporary assignments. While most hiring managers understand the circumstances faced by candidates recently, it is still in a potential employee’s best interest to always be one step ahead and prepared to address potential employer concerns before they are even mentioned in an interview.
Before discussing how to handle the interview process, let’s address how to best format your resume to highlight the pros of temporary employment, rather than the cons. Here are a few tips to make your resume stand out:
– Note which positions are temporary so that hiring managers won’t be left wondering why you left after a short period of time.
– List both the name of the organization/company at which you were assigned, as well as the staffing agency that placed you.
– Provide dates of employment, including month and year.
– Treat temporary assignments, particularly longer-term positions, as you would any other previous job on your resume; write detailed bullet points of your particular duties and include statistics and accomplishments.
As for the interview process, the first step to overcoming resume concerns is self-confidence. No matter how long you were in a position, you likely learned new skills and contributed to the team. This is where your focus should be! Keep track of accomplishments, successes, and relevant statistics and be sure to explain how the skills used at each position will make you the right fit for the role in question. In addition, it is up to you to demonstrate to the hiring manager that you are a great asset to any organization. Explain your resume clearly, concisely, and provide details where it counts.
The less nervous or self-conscious you are when explaining your resume and the reasons for leaving various positions, the less nervous the interviewer will be about your candidacy. So shake the nerves! Practice explaining your temporary positions or lay-offs out loud in front of a mirror or to a friend until you become at ease. Of course, the best way to become at ease is to be at ease! So give yourself a pat on the back for working through a difficult time for job-seekers and take advantage of the newfound resourcefulness you gained!
Nurys Harrigan-Pedersen is president of Careers In Nonprofits, the experts in nonprofit staffing and recruiting with offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C.