When you apply for a job, a hiring manager looks at all of your professional abilities, education and work history. If your work history isn’t the greatest, you may have something of a disadvantage.

The good news is, a subpar work history can be effectively managed throughout the application process. From customizing your resume to focusing on your skills, there are a number of ways to can overcome a bad work history and get the job you want.

Customize your resume

A traditional resume format puts the focus on experience. If you have a bad work history, this resume format is not your friend.

Instead, you should be using a ‘functional’ resume format, which puts skills front and center. People who are changing careers commonly use this type of resume format because they don’t have any experience in the field they are trying to get into.

A functional resume should include a summary at the top and skills grouped into various categories, such as Customer Service Abilities or Sales Abilities.

Honesty is the best policy

If you have a bad job history, you’d be forgiven for thinking about fudging a few details on your resume or application materials. However, stretching the truth and outright lies are only going to cause you more problems. Getting caught will essentially eliminate you from consideration. Even if your half-truths do get you the job, most companies have a policy of firing employees who are found to have lied on their application materials.

Don’t obsess over it

You may feel defensive about your work history, but walking into an interview and bringing it up right away isn’t the best move. Instead, wait for the hiring manager to mention something. There’s a chance that they won’t even bring up your work history, and then you’re in the clear.

That being said, you should be ready to answer questions about your work history.

Answering questions about your work history

Respond to any questions about your work history honestly, outlining how each challenge has made you a better professional. Try to provide concrete examples of how a work history problem led to improved abilities, or a better overall work ethic.

For instance, if you took time off to raise children, you may want to talk about how the experience gave you a whole new perspective on parenting and life in general. If you were fired from a job, you could talk about what you learned and how you have taken steps to make sure the reason behind your firing won’t happen again.

Focus on addressing your work history in just a few sentences and then move on. Don’t let the conversation devolve into a cross-examination about your past. Stay upbeat and keep the focus on your skills, not on your work history.

At Action Group Staffing, we know how to help people with all kinds of career challenges. If you’re currently concerned about getting your next job, please contact us today to find out how we can help.

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