How to Address Gaps in Work History and Other Confusing Chronologies

In the AOL Jobs Resume Rescue series we help readers tackle their toughest resume issues. The resumes selected are representative of some of the mistakes I see job seekers make when writing a resume. Here are some suggestions for improving the quality of your resume.

Resume No. 1

Gap in work history. This applicant left the work force for several years to be a stay-at-home mom. But because this is not referenced on the resume, the hiring manager is forced to draw his own conclusion about the work gap. It's better to be transparent and actually explain right on the resume what you were doing during the gap in your chronological work history.


Office Assistant XYZ Inc. 2009-2010

  • Performed administrative duties including answering phones, processing mail and receipt of packages.
  • Monitored and maintained office supplies and managed numerous vendors. Completed administrative tasks to support several teams. Maintained confidentiality of all sensitive and proprietary information.

Contract Administrator ABC Corp 1997-2003

  • Responsible for project management for certification and on-time receipt of passenger seats for wide-body aircraft. Primary and single point of contact for seat suppliers. Handled program reports and documents as per FAA and company regulations.
  • Responsible for Purchase orders and planning and conducting onsite and offsite meetings. Maintained confidentiality according to program guidelines.
  • Served as program contact person for suppliers, airline customers and Boeing engineering teams.
  • Clarified and resolved issues including schedule delays, part shortages and certification issues. Responsible overall for seat suppliers' performance on seat programs. Recognized for excellent performance by airline customers and was specifically requested for their future seat programs.

Resume No. 2

No reference to where experience occurred. The writer of this resume lists many of the work tasks she performed in her various jobs. But there is no reference to which skills she used in each positions. Hiring managers won't take the time to guess and they may instead just move on to the next applicant.


  • HR Support in administration, employee relations, recruitment and projects.
  • Set up interviews for applicants, with hiring managers.
  • Helped with writing and maintaining job descriptions.
  • Prepared new hire packets. Went over benefits with new hire and introduced them to company policies.
  • Took care of I-9's and E-verify.
  • Helped employees with benefits and questions they needed answered.
  • Coordinated Benefits enrollment and followed through to be sure that all commitments of time lines were met.
  • Contacted benefit providers with enrollee's. Worked with Principal, VSP, Kaiser, Blue Cross, Conexis.
  • Helped with transition to TriNet when company benefits were outsourced.
  • Conducted exit Interviews.
  • Kept spreadsheets of applicants for EEO and AAP compliance. Data Entry.
  • Prepared weekly time cards distributed to employees. Distributed faxes to appropriate person.
  • Kept track of people that would not be in.
  • Approved meetings that were scheduled in meeting rooms.
  • Answered company phone and put calls through to the appropriate person.
  • Distributed mail throughout the company.
  • Prepared and typed up forms and manuals for Managers that needed them.
  • Kept Employee files updated and put together.
  • Helped plan company activities.

Employment History:

HR Administration Clerk EEE Incorporated 2006-2009
Planner ABC Incorporated 1998-2006 Planner SAO Corp 1994-1997

Resume No. 3

Too many bullets. When you list more than five or six bullets in a row on a resume, the content begins to look like one big paragraph with polka dots rather than defined accomplishments. Break up the text by grouping long lists into themes based on competency. For example, this applicant could have separate category headings for written communications, bookkeeping, and office administration.

Chief Operating Officer

  • Manage and maintain executives' schedules.
  • Prepare invoices, reports, memos, letters, financial statements and other documents, using word processing, spreadsheet, or presentation software.
  • Read and analyze incoming memos, proposal submission documents, and reports, to determine their significance and plan their appropriate distribution.
  • Prepare responses to correspondence containing routine inquiries.
  • Perform general office duties such as ordering supplies, maintaining records management systems, and performing basic bookkeeping work.
  • Prepare agendas and make arrangements for committee, board, and other meetings.
  • Make travel arrangements for executives.
  • Conduct research, compile data, and prepare papers for consideration and presentation by executives, committees, and boards of directors.
  • Coordinate and direct office services, such as records and budget preparation, personnel, and housekeeping, in order to aid executives.
  • Meet with individuals, special interest groups, etc.
  • Set up and oversee administrative policies and procedures for offices or organizations.
  • Supervise and train other clerical staff.
  • Review operating practices and procedures to determine whether improvements can be made in areas such as workflow, reporting procedures, or expenditures.
  • Interpret administrative and operating policies and procedures for new hire orientation.

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