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Resume for Jobs that Lasted 3 Months with 5 Months Gaps

Nurse Beth   (187 Views 2 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

15 Followers; 89 Articles; 228,562 Profile Views; 1,849 Posts


Dear Nurse Beth,

I am a RN since 2014 and I have a range of experience -mostly short lived- due to the job market and a severe health condition that has now stabilized. I am wondering, considering that I have gaps of 5 months or more, if I should prepare my resume differently than just listing my experience in a reverse chronological order, perhaps to highlight the skills that I obtained and utilized during this time.

I am not ashamed to answer questions regarding my health on an interview as it has actually made me a stronger health advocate and has helped shaped my career goals. However, my resume just has lots of different positions, some as short as 3 months (with the longest held ones pre-nursing career) , and I want to keep it short, sweet and effective. How would you recommend I do this? 
Grateful for your help,

Dear Keep it Short,

I'm glad to hear your health is better and you're ready to get back to work.

A traditional resume is where the work history is listed in reverse chronological order.

A functional or skills-based resume is where it's ordered by skills and takes the focus away from your work history. But it's usually reserved for high level or executive jobs. An example is "Managed global distribution of sales" for Nabisco in 2014 and Coca Cola in 2015.

You don't say what kind of job you are looking for, but even if it is a high level position, your reason for doing this is to distract the reader from the gaps in your actual work history. So it will come across as not straight forward or confusing. They will do the math and figure it out anyway.

It's good you are prepared to explain gaps in employment. Make sure to say that your health problems are now completely resolved, and you look forward to putting your skills to work in a positive environment such as theirs that aligns with your values.

You also say you have a range of experience. Be sure to tailor your resume to each employer, highlighting the skill sets they need with the skills sets you have.

To establish a reliable work history, you may have to take a job that is not your first choice, keep it for 2 yrs, then work up from there.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!


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holinurse has 1 years experience and specializes in None yet.....

48 Posts; 3,743 Profile Views

Thanks for the reply! All the while, I have had consistent independent work outside of nursing, specifically in the music entertainment industry. While this may "take up space" on an otherwise nursing resume, I feel that it is worthwhile because it shows consistency in an otherwise apparent inconsistent resume.  Perhaps, it is time to start using a second page?!

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