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Harvard Business Review: How to Overcome Red Flags on Your Resume

Harvard Business Review: How to Overcome Red Flags on Your Resume

Part of WiFi (What I Find Interesting) Wednesday.


Harvard Business Review: How to Overcome Red Flags on Your Resume

Read How to Overcome Red Flags on Your Resume by Patricia Carl, from Harvard Business Review, March 31, 2021

As someone who has been looking for a full-time job in my field for the past three years, I am always concerned about red flags on my resume. I know I can address these issues in an interview, but too many red flags could keep me from even being considered.

Below are some red flags as identified by Patricia Carl, with some solutions for job-hunters to consider.

Employment Gaps

“One of the most common resume red flags is an unexplained lengthy employment gap between previous roles. These gaps can sometimes lead hiring managers to assume that you have struggled to land jobs in the past, potentially indicating poor performance or some other shortcoming.”

Solutions to Consider:

  1. If you’re not yet back on the job market, think about ways to fill your time with some sort of professionally relevant activity that you can later fit into a consistent narrative. For example, if your primary reason to take time off was to care for a family member, that doesn’t mean you can’t also complete a short online workshop or attend a weekly class at your local adult education center.
  2. Even if you’re not working full time, consider adding some limited contractor or consulting work to beef up your resume.
  3. Keep in mind the meaningful ways you’ve spent time between roles, and make sure you’re able to clearly articulate them. You may not have joined a formal program or pursued a degree, but did you volunteer? Take a class? Pursue a personal project? Find ways to demonstrate how whatever you spent your time doing does in fact reflect your strong candidacy.
  4. The more you convey that an employment gap was (at least to some extent) your choice, the less likely your interviewer is to view you as desperate and unemployable.

Job Hopping

“The next red flag I’ve seen time and again is candidates who’ve had multiple jobs over a short period of time. This can raise a couple of concerns with interviewers: Will this candidate struggle to sustain a commitment to a single role or organization? Does this candidate have chronic performance issues? Either of these can make an employer wary about taking a chance on you, regardless of your qualifications.”

Solutions to Consider:

There are a few key strategies you can use to preempt your interviewer’s concerns if you’ve hopped between multiple positions:

  1. Emphasize how the experience of working alongside different leadership styles has accelerated your learning and professional growth.
  2. Focus on your accomplishments in each role rather than your time in the role.
  3. Highlight how the experience you gained by working across industries and the exposure you acquired to best practices in different types of organizations increased your breadth of knowledge and competence.

Unplanned Departures

“Finally, another potential landmine in the job search process is unplanned or involuntary departures. Most hiring teams generally prefer candidates who are currently employed, and will likely assume that a strong candidate wouldn’t leave their previous role without a new position lined up. Given this, if a prospective employer sees from your resume that you’ve recently left a role, they will likely ask you about the circumstances surrounding your departure.”

Solutions to Consider:

  • While you may still harbor bitter feelings, leave blame at the door when you step into an interview with a new organization. Instead of focusing on the problems with your last position, do the difficult work of finding the positive aspects of your experience with your former employer: What did you learn? What relationships did you build? What goals did you accomplish?
  • Reflect on the environments in which you thrive — i.e., a high-growth company, a focus on innovation, a faster pace. Articulate these needs to your prospective employer, and they will read between the lines that the prior organization did not support you in these ways.
  • If you were fired, address it head-on. Prepare a concise response to explain why you left — i.e., the company/environment/role was not the right fit, there was a change in leadership or direction that changed expectations/dynamics, etc.
  • Emphasize the lessons you learned from your time in the role and how they’ve contributed to your professional development.

What are some red flags you believe job-hunters should consider during their own job searches?

Continue reading How to Overcome Red Flags on Your Resume by Patricia Carl, from Harvard Business Review, March 31, 2021


Inside Higher Ed: Where Caregiving and Gender Intersect

Read Where Caregiving and Gender Intersect by Colleen Flaherty, from Inside Higher Ed, March 31, 2021

Women who are also caregivers (either children or family members) have been particularly impacted by the stresses felt during the pandemic. Managing working from home while balancing at-home learning or caregiving with limited resources has forced women to make tough choices. Women working in academia have not been absolved of these stressors.

A new study of thousands of professors from Ithaka S&R, out today, highlights the particular struggles of female caregivers working in academe — and what institutions can do to help them.

by Colleen Flaherty, from Inside Higher Ed, March 31, 2021

This matters since academic publishing cycles occur only once or twice a year. The cycle could lock women out of the publishing cycle for years, as they try to balance on-going stay-home orders with those they care for and the demands of trying to teach in-person and online.

Men and women who participated in the study shared different impacts of being caregivers and completing their academic work:

Source: Ithaka S&R
Source: Ithaka S&R

Getting to the crux of the analysis, the study says that more differences emerge at the “intersection of gender and caregiving.” Female caregivers experienced difficulties with time management (63 percent) and balancing family, household and work responsibilities (75 percent) more than male caregivers did (48 percent and 61 percent, respectively). Women caregivers were also more likely than men to find remote work difficult (41 percent versus 31 percent.)

by Colleen Flaherty, from Inside Higher Ed, March 31, 2021

When we look at the disparate experiences of women and men caregivers, what does equity in the workplace look like?

“While solutions aren’t the focus of the paper, and “there are no easy answers,” Wolff-Eisenberg and her colleagues included some ways that institutions have begun to mitigate these gender gaps in research and better support professors with caregiving responsibilities.

“These include temporarily reducing or suspending research publication requirements in the short term. Other ideas are prioritizing, simplifying and reducing faculty tasks, along with providing faculty members flexibility where possible. Recalling the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s decision to automatically delay tenure review for everyone by one year, the report says this “does not require faculty to request the deferment, an important detail that removed the burden of opting-in or applying.” Those who wanted to be reviewed on schedule could opt in.

“Most importantly,” the authors wrote, “it is crucial that institutions listen to the women and caregivers they employ. Needs may vary from school to school and from person to person; by listening carefully to what faculty members share, institutions may avoid well-intentioned supports that in reality exacerbate rather than alleviate disparities.”

Continue reading Where Caregiving and Gender Intersect by Colleen Flaherty, from Inside Higher Ed, March 31, 2021


Student Affairs NOW Podcast: Amplifying APIDA Voices

Listen to Amplifying APIDA Voices from Student Affairs NOW Podcast, March 31, 2021

In this two part episode, panelists discuss past, current and ongoing issues and topics facing Asian Pacific and Desi American college students, staff and faculty. Listen in as the panel discusses and reflects on ongoing challenges.

Featuring Windi Sasaki, Vijay Kanagala, and Jacki Mac with host Glenn DeGuzman, Ed.D.

There is a transcript of the podcast, but I am going to leave you with an initial thought shared by Windi Sasaki:

The point of learning all of these things that we were learning about anti-blackness and how to combat anti-Asian hate and all these other things, right. Was to apply it. I need people to apply it now.

Amplifying APIDA Voices from Student Affairs NOW Podcast, March 31, 2021

Given the topic, I won’t pull any other quotations and instead encourage you to listen or read through the podcast transcript for the stories and resources shared by all participants and the host.

Amplifying APIDA Voices Student Affairs NOW

In this two part episode, panelists discuss past, current and ongoing issues and topics facing Asian Pacific and Desi American college students, staff and faculty. Listen in as the panel discusses and reflects on ongoing challenges.

Continue listening to Amplifying APIDA Voices from Student Affairs NOW Podcast, March 31, 2021


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One thought on “Harvard Business Review: How to Overcome Red Flags on Your Resume

  1. Pingback: New York Times: Returning to the Office Sparks Anxiety and Dread for Some | Leadership and Values in Action, LLC

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