Too many jobs.
Only one job in 20 years.
Worked for the government – no ambition.
Won’t go from management to worker bee.
Owned his own company.
You can make your resume irresistible, but you gotta know the territory. What will be a turn-off prejudice for the hiring manager? What experience is coveted or shunned in the job, company and career you are applying for?
The most common problems are too old, too many jobs and worked for the government. For some jobs these things are a big plus. Many companies want to avoid them. Here is how you get away from them on your resume:
Get rid of dates and jobs that are more than 10 or 15 years in the past. Since my first job as an usher in a movie theater, I have had more than 30 employers. It would be ridiculous for me to put them on a resume. Most don’t matter anymore. You get to decide which jobs are relevant and should be put on your resume. Your last 2 or 3 jobs may be all you want to include. Also take your graduation dates out of the resume. Remove the date you were discharged from the military. Get rid of dates if your resume makes you look older than you think is helpful.
Too many jobs
If you have had 5 career jobs in the last 5 years, you have a problem. Do not lie about it. If some of the jobs are unrelated to the job you are applying for, lump them together as a one line note such as: Teaching 2001-2005, or Sales 2000-2003. If you have great accomplishments, list them under that heading. If you didn’t do so well, then just leave that one line entry in the jobs on your resume. No explanation at all is required.
Some careers require frequent job changes like being a computer contractor. In that case, take credit for your broad experience and be sure to emphasize companies that had you come back a second or third time.
Emphasize accomplishments and not bureaucracy. A job description that only lists duties proves you have a CYA government mindset. If you tell what you got done and how the world is better because of you, you show an entrepreneurial bent. If you prove you were competitive and better than your coworkers by awards you received, you sound like a top employee. Only emphasize who you know if it helps for the very specific job you are applying for. Your ability with politics can help in some jobs, and scare hiring managers away in others.
It is important for your resume to get you included in the interview pool. During the interview they can find out how wrong their prejudices are. But you have to have a resume that gets you the interview. Make a conscious decision about what you want to emphasize and what you need to make disappear. Get the interview.
Something to do today
What do you think is hurting your job search. Hide it without lying and send out a few test resumes to see if it made a difference.
The smell of cabbage soup