If you’ve asked for a resume, cover letter and references (which
you should require for all job applicants), take the time to make
sure they all match. Stories on cover letters should match time
frames on resumes and a professional reference should be able
to back up any qualities a candidate touts.
“I’ve seen comments on cover letters that they have
worked a particular job, but their timeline on their resume
doesn’t reflect the same thing,” recalls Cindi Flanagan, owner
of Abundant Health Day Spa in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
Those inconsistencies can be a red flag for, at best, lack of
attention to detail and, at worst, a propensity for dishonesty.
“Gaps in work history can be telling in a few ways. Is
there something left off due to a termination? Is there another
position that the applicant does not want you to know about?
It brings up curiosity and doubt,” Smith says.
If you do decide to have a candidate with gaps in their
work history move through to the interview phase, be sure to
ask them about it. Their answer could be very telling.
(CONTINUED ON PAGE 52)
Sometimes, gaps in work history are easily explained. “I took
time off to raise children or take care of a sick parent” or “I
decided to take a few months to travel or further my
education,” are all reasonable explanations for gaps in work
history. The recent economic downturns can even explain
sufficiently why someone couldn’t find work, but make sure
all these are easily explained in either a cover letter or the
initial interview stage.
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