Resume Help/Unemployable?


Dear Ruth

Is there any hope in a situation with a spotty resume and many large gaps. I have "grown up" now but my past is so bad in terms of gaps. I have gaps that span years and I last worked 5 years ago. The problem is I have not volunteered or studied in this time.

I have bought some books and studied and took certain vocational exams with certifications but never formally in college. I have not studied all the time though. My problem is that I really want to work now and have learned about how bad gaps are.

1 - What do I do about the gaps and poor work history that span years, not just one gap, but many.

2 - If I use a functional format for my resume, employers will automatically be suspicious and what can I do when forms specifically ask for dates?

3- I was also fired from the last job I had, how do I get around this without lying?

Dear Sandeep:

Part of this depends on how old you are.  If you are young, some employers will be gracious and "forgive" your gaps and history.  If you are in  your thirties or older, this is a more serious problem.

The best thing to do is start over.  Try to find an entry level position and be honest.  Explain what you have told me, that you don't have a great track record, but have learned from it and really, really want to work.  Thus, perhaps the entry level job you will have to seek won't be looking for a resume and more of a cover letter.

If I had more information, it would be easier for me to help you.  How long did you work at the last job, when was it, why were you fired?  How have you supported yourself for 5 years if you have not worked.  What type of jobs have you done, and what type of job do you want.

Please let me know, and I will see if I can help further.  Warmly, R. Butler

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Ruth Butler


I will answer questions about resumes and how to do well on an interview. I am a former employment counselor and I have owned my own resume and career counseling business since 1982.

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