Dear Soon-to-Be-Mortified Applicant,

Thank you for applying for a position in "pubic relations." For the future, it's wise to have another set of eyes glance over your résumé before you submit it.

Unfortunately for one still-mortified applicant, that actually happened this spring when applying for an internship. Save yourself from becoming a cocktail party anecdote and use these dos and don'ts to create a résumé that's both powerful and professional. 

Do: Be Honest

Tell the whole truth about where and when you worked for an employer. This means including the specific months and years. In Ross Baltic's experience at Mercury Partners Executive Search Advisors, finding only years on an applicant's résumé raises credibility questions.

If you've had a lengthy gap between jobs, Ross suggests denoting the time as "Personal Sabbatical from June 2008 to June 2009." Even if your work during this sabbatical isn't relevant to the job you're specifically applying for, you're better off pointing it out than leaving an employer to wonder what you did during the time off.

If you've jumped from job to job, Meg Stow Crowley, a recruiter at Talent Ad Group in Houston, says it might be smart to offer an explanation at the beginning of the hiring process. Explain the circumstances: an internship, a summer job, a temp position, even a company layoff. "An HR manager is going to question you, so you might as well manage that one right out front," she says.

If you're a recent college graduate, there is less concern. Meg says employers expect short-term experiences from those just getting out of school. 


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