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4 Key Tips for Job Seekers with Less Than Perfect Resumes to Navigate the Job Search Process

September 4, 2015

Economic growth has created a new level of competition for talent. Job seekers need to stand out more than ever, but many people are dealing with post-recession employment difficulties resulting in unimpressive job experience and/or employment gaps.

Gaps due to extenuating circumstances can be a seemingly huge hurdle to overcome when trying to secure a new position. Although they are less stigmatized than they once were, many employers may ask prospective employees questions about them.

While a recent PI Worldwide survey revealed that 65 percent of small, 45 percent of medium and 40 percent of large companies’ HR staff report that finding talent for open positions is their biggest problem, plenty will still ask about questionable gaps on a candidate’s resume.

To help land that new position and alleviate issues around employment gaps, PI Worldwide, a company that empowers businesses to truly understand what drives workplace behaviours, recommends the following strategies:

  1. Show Your Fit in Other Areas. Work experience and skills are only part of the employment puzzle. Do the legwork to demonstrate all of the other areas in which you’re a direct hit for what they need. Company size, industry, personality factors, commute time, collaboration and team composition, and many other factors can make or break for even those candidates who otherwise have highly desirable backgrounds. Even the playing field by matching up where you can, and make sure that your prospective employer knows the score.
  2. Out-Hustle Your Competitors. It’s important to be honest with yourself when you’re not operating from a position of strength. Focus on what you can control now – the amount of effort that you put into the pre-hire process. Your research should be more thorough and your preparation should be more complete in order to get the gig. Because of this, it’s crucial to focus on a manageable number of opportunities where you can truly invest in the process. If you have a weak work history and you spread yourself too thin across multiple applications, prepare for a longer stint as a candidate instead of what you really want to be – an employee.

See: 4 Creative Ways to Jazz up Your Resume

  1. Demonstrate Your Ability to Learn. If you won’t be walking in the door with skills and experience in hand, don’t worry – this doesn’t have to be a deal breaker. Savvy employers are beginning to realize that skills and proficiencies can be learned faster than ever, thanks in part to the abundance of information and tech-friendly learning tools that are available. Demonstrate how you’ve quickly come up to speed in prior experiences and what you see as your list of learning to-dos. Ask your prospective employer about any internal or external resources you may have missed to show that your head is in the right place.
  2. Reduce Your Risk. It’s easy to understand how the hiring manager will wonder if you’re capable of doing the job if you don’t have a directly relevant or impressive work history. One way to address this is to focus on the first 90 days: Dig into key details about the on boarding plan to demonstrate your sincere interest in making things work all around. If you can collaborate on an initial success plan, you may be able to provide a bit of peace of mind to your future boss.

Also read: Using Right Keywords to Rank Your Resume on Google

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