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How do you handle employment gaps on your resume? Related: Gaping Gap? How To Plug Holes In Your Work History At some time in our careers, we will all have a gap in our employment history—maybe a few weeks or months, maybe a few years. A gap can occur because of a layoff, a family emergency, a health issue, a desire to further education, and many other excellent reasons. So, how do you approach an employment gap? First, it is not necessary to give the starting and ending months for a job. If you held one job from January 2003 to April 2010 and held the next from June 2010 to the present, simply omit the months from your resume. List only the years (2003-2010, 2010-present). In a long career, a gap of a month or two is of no interest to recruiters. Second, if you left the workforce to further your education, those years should be covered under the “Education” section of your resume; or you can add a single line in the employment section to indicate that you spent the gap pursuing a degree. Third, if you worked as a volunteer or consultant during the gap, by all means include that information. Volunteer and consulting work is work. Finally, you may want to explain a gap in your cover letter or e-mail. The explanation should be very brief, no more than one sentence. Recruiters do not need details about your family, health, or other issues. If asked about the gap during a job interview, use the same brief explanation. You want to convey that the situation is over and you are focused on rejoining the workforce. This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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How do you address consulting or self-employed jobs on your resume? These days, many people work for at least part of their careers in contract, self-employed, or consultant jobs. But could these jobs hurt your resume? Though each job may be short in duration and there may be many of them, they don’t represent “job hopping” in the traditional sense. Consultant, self-employment, and contract jobs are supposed to be short-term and are supposed to involve many different clients. However, if you list each employer separately and your work for each only lasts a month or two, your resume will give the impression you do jump from job to job. You do not want that to happen. Instead, group all of your contract or consulting clients under a single category. For example, Contract Positions or Consulting. Each employer then becomes a separate bullet point under that category. Another approach, particularly if you are self-employed, is to provide an overall company name for yourself; a freelance web designer might call himself “ABC Web Design.” Your company is treated like any other company on the resume and your position is (for example) founder and president.

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Many job seekers look for full-time employment after spending a year or more at temporary or part-time jobs, sometimes working for several different agencies or volunteering their services. On their resume, they worry these experiences make them seem like job hoppers or undesirable full-time employees. In fact, part-time, temporary or volunteer work, especially work in your field or that keeps your skills fresh, shows your dedication and flexibility. It may broaden your appeal to companies in industries you never considered before if you include them the right way on your resume. In your resume, group these jobs under one title to create a unified history. Perhaps you’ve worked at several part-time jobs in restaurants as a waiter; you could group that experience under Part-Time Work in Restaurant Industry. If you worked for a temporary or contract agency, list the companies you worked for under your group title (Contract Engineer)—not the agencies. The experience you are highlighting is the valuable experience of working for multiple industries. You might be able to group your temporary, contract or part-time jobs as Freelance or Consulting Positions. You are contributing your job skills in exactly that way: you go from one company to the next, complete each job efficiently and then move on again. As for volunteer positions, companies are very aware of the leadership skills, teamwork and commitment that volunteer work requires. Create a section of your resume for Community Service and give yourself credit. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

This is a true story as told to DiversityJobs.com where you can find helpful career interviews and job search advice in your desired industry. Visit to find a career interview in your field today. The job path of a diversity consultant isn't always the same, but here's my story. I am currently a Military Equal Opportunity (MEO) Advisor / Human Relations Education (HRE) / Diversity Specialist for the United States Air Force. I have been in the military for a total of 15 years in various jobs, and have served in my current position for almost three years. I completed a three-week course on Diversity issues in Florida before I was assigned this position. I also go through many continuing education courses on a regular basis to keep me up-to-date on the latest information I need to perform my duties. In addition to my military duties of airmanship, which includes physical fitness and being prepared as a warfighter, I manage the Diversity, MEO and HRE programs for the entire base that I am stationed on. I am in charge of all administrative functions for these programs, and I coordinate and conduct all Diversity and related training for a small base of about 1,200 people. I create the training and course materials and conduct classes. My staff and I promote an environment where all individuals connected with the unit, both civilian and military personnel and their families, are treated with dignity and respect at all times, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. I also provide advice, consultation, education, mediation to unit members and families, and provide resources for them, in an effort to enhance mission effectiveness. I have a staff of three that assist me, so I also train them and keep them up-to-date on Diversity issues. On a scale of 1 to 10, my current job satisfaction rating is a 10. I love my job and what I do. I get to serve my country and help better the lives of our airmen, civilian employees and family members. I joined the military to help people, and I get to do this on a daily basis. I have served in a lot of positions in my 15 years in the military, and this is by far the most challenging and most fulfilling. When I took this job, being a Diversity consultant was really not on my radar as far as what I wanted to do in the military. My Commander came to me and asked me to do the job because he really believed in me and my abilities. After thinking on it for a few minutes, I accepted. I believe I made the right choice, and my senior leadership agrees. I perform my duties to the best of my abilities and it has paid off in the form of happy unit members and several awards bestowed upon me by my unit and higher headquarters. The single most important thing I have learned outside of school about the working world is that it's tough. My unit has several Guardsmen and Reservists attached, and I deal with active-duty members as they transition to retirement. The job market is tough, and leaving military service to a world of unknowns is scary. I am thankful to have job security in the military, but even that is shaky now, with budget cuts and subsequent personnel cuts. The most challenging part of my job would be the complaints we get that someone isn't being treated fairly. We then have to investigate and get statements from the parties involved and interview witnesses and try to come up with a good solution for all parties involved. This can be stressful as every story has multiple sides and it's up to us to find out the truth of the matter. My job can be stressful at times. There are a lot of tasks to be done, and sometimes we have little time to complete them in. We also have a yearly inspection, but my team is always on top and ready for anything like that, so it doesn't cause us as much stress as you might think. Thanks to the other members of my shop, I am able to leave work issues at work most of the time. We share weekend duty and one of us carries the duty cell phone each weekend, so for three weekends a month, I am free to think about everything but work. And in the evenings, I relax with my family and leave work issues at work. I exercise daily and eat a healthy diet, so I am able to handle any stresses that come my way. To obtain the position I hold in the Air Force, you must be at least a Non-Commissioned Officer in the rank of E-5 or above. I currently hold the rank of E-7/Master Sergeant, and have a combined total of 15 years of military service (four years in the Army and the rest in the Air Force). My base pay is currently $3,976 per month, not including other allowances. I also receive BAS (Basic Allowance for Subsistence, or grocery money) and BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing). The military pays you well for what you do, once you get a little rank and time in service. I am authorized 30 days of vacation per year, and I do take all days authorized. It is more than enough, and I am so thankful for the time off. I realize many jobs don't get this kind of vacation time. 30 days per year is enough to allow me to spend quality time with my family and relax and clear my mind so I can do my job well. Each day, I am happy to get up and head to work. I am so honored to be able to serve my country. I fought pretty hard to clear several obstacles to even be allowed to join the military 15 years ago. I never take my service for granted, and I never take for granted that the military took a chance on me and decided to let me serve. I have been proud of everything I have done, but the most proud moment in my life was when I got to meet President Bush in Greensburg, Kansas in May 2007 just after the devastating tornado hit that town. I will never forget how he shook my hand and thanked me for helping the people of Greensburg. I was and still am honored. JustJobs.com is a job search engine that finds job listings from company career pages, other job boards, newspapers and associations. With one search, they help you find the job with your name on it. Diversity consultant job image from Shutterstock

I get at least a dozen e-mails each month from people asking for my advice on whether they should become a consultant. Becoming a consultant isn't as easy as it sounds. Or, should I say, while it's easy to call yourself a consultant, the likelyhood of you becoming a successful consultant is not that great. There are definite perceived pros and cons to becoming a consultant (watch the video above where we highlight how consultants are viewed these days.) Now, even though the statistics indicate many will fail at becoming a consultant, my response to these folks is always, “Yes." I actually think everyone should try at least once in their career to be a consultant. Why? It shows you have just what it takes to run a business - a business-of-one to be exact. And, I think it's a must-do these days since, in reality, we are all businesses-of-one. Gone are the days where we work for a company for 20 years, get a gold watch and a retirement package. Today, EVERY job is temporary. Which means, your current employer is your client - and they could drop you at any time. So, when we decide to take control and determine our expertise and how we could use it towards becoming a consultant, we also start to recognize how to manage our careers like a business. And that is one of the most valuable things you can do to stay employable today. Does that mean you should quit your day job and become a consultant immediately? Not at all! Instead, you need to plan carefully and follow six steps to becoming a consultant. Becoming a consultant (or at least trying to become one) has enormous upside. And, if you do it carefully, you can minimize the risk and improve the rewards!

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