Despite the less traditional career path, a resume with listed temporary work can be just as effective as one without. You should not avoid listing your temporary work just because it was short-term. Contract work and projects are often a great way to feature your skillset and experience. But how you feature that work in your resume is a little different.
If done improperly, you risk the assumption that you are a job-hopper which can obviously be viewed poorly, or make a hiring manager assume you have poor work performance. Of course, that’s not always the case, and if done right, your temporary work should be a key feature of your resume. Here’s how to do it.
Break Away from the Traditional Chronological Format
You are likely used to the common reverse-chronological resume format, which presents your skills and experience for jobs held from most recent to least. Consider a skills-based resume instead, or perhaps organizing by staffing agency. With these alternative formats, the focus is less on time spent on each contract but rather on the value you brought to each client or company.
The focus should be on the specific skills and accomplishments that you want to highlight and the experience within your work history that prove your skills. These formats allow you to focus on the most relevant pieces of your professional qualifications. You can still provide employment history, if it makes sense or you know it is relevant to the role, but the main focus of the document is clearly the experiences and skills that you can bring to a new job.
Skills-based resumes are a great option for candidates who have either a limited or overly expansive work history. Keep a resume short and to the point. Focus on relevant skills and the experience to back them up. This brings a reader’s attention to the most relevant skills for a particular job. This format is a good option for candidates who have significant gaps in their work history, and those who are changing careers or industries.
Know What Information You Should Include
Pick the key skills that you want to build your resume around based on the job you want. You can do this by reviewing job descriptions and focusing on the jobs you want to target. Generally, three to four broad skill sets are a solid basis to build a skills-based resume around. Then, draft several accomplishment statements (in bullet or list form) that describe your experience in each skill area. Focus on your individual achievements and results gained through the use of your skills.
This section will be the main body of your resume, with the most content. You can follow this up with a short work history that briefly lists previous titles, employers, employment dates, and location. No matter what your resume template looks like, employers want to know what you’re good at. Tell them clearly and consistently so they understand why you are a great fit for the role.
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