Common Resume Struggles and How to Overcome them

Writing a great resume under ideal career history conditions (several consecutive, gap-free, lengthy spans of employment which match well with what you are applying for) is challenging enough. It becomes even more difficult when you are up against one or more additional challenges, so I thought I’d address a few and offer some insights.


I’m just out of school and have no real experience; how can I create a professional resume?

We write for lots of college students seeking employment and internships. Begin with short paragraphs detailing your value, skill sets, and achievements. Include a list of 9-12 core skills you feel you possess which apply to what you may be applying for. Be sure to capture your degree, majors, and minors–something like this:

Bachelor of Science – Business Administration, TRUMAN STATE UNIVERSITY – Fall 2012
Minor in Economics

If you have already completed the degree, you do not need to put the year of graduation, and you never are required to state your GPA. I suggest using these on a discretionary basis, considering whether it will help or hurt the cause.common resume struggles

Capture your involvement on campus and in the community. Be sure to spell out acronyms; it is also great to provide a brief description of the organization. Highlight any chairs or significant roles taken in those groups.

At this point in the resume, add any jobs you have had. Even if it is seemingly unimportant, share it if you worked a year or two waiting tables or in a campus position. This suggests to an employer you have proven an ability to hold down a job of some kind and that you may have references available.

I am returning to the job market after many years of staying at home with the kids and haven’t thought about a resume in a very long time. Where do I start?

Take some peace in knowing you are not alone, not at all. The economy of recent years has forced many back into traditional employment after long periods away from it.

It is important to do justice to what you accomplished, even if it was some time ago. Detail your duties and achievements to the best of your ability, and use your cover letter to explain your return to work. I do not suggest, “I am applying for this job because I need the money and have no other desire to do work of any kind.” I might say, “I am eager to pursue this opportunity as I return to my career path after an extended maternity leave.”

You can state this on the resume if you have several gaps in your employment with a good reason. Stints of maternity leave or otherwise are acceptable to share. Also, do not be shaken if you have been unemployed for a year or more. Employers understand the nature of the job market and will not discredit you immediately just because you were laid off and have been searching for a while.

I have a good amount of experience in one industry, but now I want to pursue an entirely different career path. What do I do?

This is another common question and a challenge that can be overcome with a strong resume. Your experience is what it is, and you still need to capture it strongly. Be mindful of what an employer in the newly sought field would want to see, and use this to guide how you explain your roles and accomplishments. In your opening paragraphs, describe yourself and your values with respect to what makes sense for them. If you have a history in accounting but are pursuing HR, share the soft skills that would serve you well in that capacity. Again, the core skill list is key here. Review job descriptions you might be interested in and match your skills with what they are seeking–be able to defend them if asked! The cover letter is another opportunity to overcome this obstacle. Share your career highlights and explain succinctly why you would be a good fit for this opportunity. You may spend a line or two describing how you have taken on this new direction and that you have developed the skills in your career to adapt well in a new arena.

Although you may have one or more of the common resume struggles, you can overcome them, and Platinum Resumes can assist you!