Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Job Applications and Resumes

During my life, I've had periods where I had to work several short-term temporary jobs in a relatively quick succession. I've also had a couple of employment gaps between jobs for various reasons. For this reason, I've always used a "functional" resume; that is, one that highlights the most important jobs I've had, as opposed to a chronological resume, which lists every piddly little job a person has had.

However, most job application forms provide spaces between the jobs one lists for the purposes of explaining any gaps in employment. I understand employers asking why a person left a particular job, but I resent the hell out of being expected to justify gaps in employment, as if there is something inherently suspect about not being continuously employed. There are many reasons for employment gaps: health problems, family problems, going to school, sabbaticals, taking a long time to find suitable employment after leaving a job, and so on. I don't think employers necessarily need to know what someone was doing during those gaps.

Just as annoying, but not nearly as ubiquitous as the employment gap questions are the kind of applications that ask you what your hobbies are or what sort of organizations or clubs you might belong to. My personal life is private and none of the employer's concern.

I guess I'm a bit like my father this way. Back in the forties, when employers wanted you to specify your race on applications, my father would always check the box marked "other", then fill in "Human" in the space provided.


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