Friday, May 31, 2013

Footnotes are for Papers, Not for Resumes

Have you been told that you need to put everything down on a resume?  That you should explain any and all gaps in employment?  Should you explain why you changed jobs every year or three?

Resume Boutique clients often tell us they have been so advised.  Our view is simple:  there are very few absolutes when writing resumes.  But, you don't need to add everything on your resume.  Rather, you should consider including as much relevant and more recent information depending upon your audience. 

How do you explain gaps in employment?  Recently, I have seen two resumes using footnotes to explain employment gaps.  Our view:  Your resume is not a book.  Nor is it a research paper.  Therefore, it is advisable to avoid footnotes.   If something is important enough information to call out in a footnote then add it to either your resume or your cover letter.  Leave the footnotes for research papers, financial statements, or legal briefs.

Here are two examples of how to deal with leaving a company in the body of your resume (the spacing below would not be the same as the spacing in a resume):

Example 1:

Director of Operations,  2005 - 2009
(Moved to San Francisco after company headquarters relocated to Dallas; declined offer to work in headquarters.)
Here you would add the content of your responsibilities and accomplishments.

Example 2:

Counsel, Real Estate Department,  March 2005 - June 2012
This section would contain a few general sentences about your practice in general summary fashion.  At the end of this paragraph, you could add something like this:  Left firm and joined political campaign advance team after loss of major development work to restructurings.

~  ~  ~

Every situation is different.  But be positive about finding a professional way to tell your unique story.  For more information on how to handle departures, layoffs, and employment gaps, contact Randi Lewis at
Randi S. Lewis, Esq., CEIP
Professional Resumes & Cover Letters | Strategic Interview Coaching
Office: 410.602.2500 | Cell: 410.340.3511 |
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