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Q: How to fix a hole in my resume? Does resume have to be very complete? ( Answered,   6 Comments )
Subject: How to fix a hole in my resume? Does resume have to be very complete?
Category: Business and Money > Employment
Asked by: lunamoon-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 08 Nov 2006 00:44 PST
Expires: 08 Dec 2006 00:44 PST
Question ID: 780988
Hi all,

Currently I am working on my resume. So far it is still too long. Do
the investment banks and hedge funds accept resume or CV? While I am
headaching on condensing my resume into 1-2 pages, I am wondering if I
can omit some informaiton, such as cutting some minor or
not-very-relevant employment history out?

Furthermore, while I was in graduate school, I received my stipend by
working for a professor as a programmer research assistant. I did not
like the job -- the boss was too pushy. She often demand me to program
overnight. However, I was a student and working overnight without
sleeping affect my overall efficiency in study and working. That work
experience was very depressing.

Should I mention this in the employment section of my resume? If I
omit it, I don't have a time-gap because at the same time I am a full
time graduate student. However, if I omit it, I guess I will be
considered as lieing and the background check will find it out by
checking from which place did I received my stipend as a programming
assistant(university or department employee), using my tax
information, or income information, bank deposit, etc.

But if I include it in, I am still worried about the background
check(the employment history verification check), because I know my
ex-boss is quite revengeful a person, will she bad mouth about me? And
even worse, I am still in the same school and working with a different
boss, will she, after knowing my latest developments from the
background checking guys, bad-mouth about me to my new boss?

I guess I should put this piece of information in my resume. But is
there a smart way to present it better? I think is my major question
in this thread.

One last question: I've already sent out my priliminary version of
resume in a haste and passed a few first round interviews. As I am
continuing improving my resume and making sure every detail is correct
and the format/quality is good, can I resubmit/update my resume to the
companies? What shall I say to them?

Thanks a lot experts!!!

Request for Question Clarification by sublime1-ga on 08 Nov 2006 15:44 PST

It's not unusual, especially for someone who has worked in different
areas, to omit work history which is not relevant to the position
being applied for. This is a way of 'targeting' the resume to fit
the 'Objective' statement often used at the beginning of the resume.

Additionally, employment history verification checks are typically
limited to verifying the history which has been included on the
resume. It would be very unusual for a company to go to the 
expense of attempting to verify employment history which is not 
stated on the resume. This would amount to a 'background check'
and would be an invasion of privacy if not disclosed by the
potential employer and agreed upon by the applicant. This type
of background check might be included in an application for a
high-security position, but would always be disclosed in advance,
and stated to be something done in addition to the 'employment
history verification'. Even this kind of check tends to be limited
to places and persons pertinent to information already included on
the resume.

I would have no qualms about omitting this one segment of your
employment history.

Let me know if this satisfies your interests...


Clarification of Question by lunamoon-ga on 09 Nov 2006 13:25 PST
Hi guys, 

Thank you all for your help. In what follows I provdie some clarifications:

Sublime1-ga: I guess I'd better put that piece of employment history
in, although it is really not quite relevant -- otherwise I will waste
all my time passing the interviews if the company does conduct a
comprehensive background check esp. the banking industries.

The question is: how to I address it in my resume?

nelson-ga: the only person who knows my employment date is my ex-boss
and the department secretary. I will definitely not put my ex-boss as
reference. But for the background check and verification of employment
history, is there a way to direct all inquiries to the department
secretary? What if when the background checking company calls the
secretary and the secretary redirect the call to the ex-boss? I have
really nothing to hide, but I just don't want the ex-boss to know my
current position, and my current whereabouts. I can imagine she can
ask the background checking person to get to know my current
positions, who I am working with, and my current whereabouts. Then she
could badmouth and spread bad words everywhere whenever possible. She
had done that before to another former employee. I am still in the
same school now and the school is small.

ubiquity-ga: what do I say to the contact person to update the resume?
I just say I have forgotten several lines and now I added it in?

Request for Question Clarification by czh-ga on 09 Nov 2006 13:47 PST
Hello lunamoon-ga,

What jobs to include on your resume depends on a lot of factors. How
old are you and how many years of experience do you have? Older
workers routinely limit their resume to the last 10-15 years  of work
history. Recent graduates tend to list all their jobs -- even part
time assignments. Are you looking for a job in the same field where
you built your experience or are you trying to change fields and
careers? How you present your experience will depend on your
background and where you're going in the future. It's your marketing
document to present you to potential employers. You want to avoid red
flags caused by having gaps on your resume. On the other hand, you
don't need to disclose all your work history until you come to the
point of serious interest from the employer. Can you tell us more
about your situation?

I look forward to your clarification.

~ czh ~

Clarification of Question by lunamoon-ga on 09 Nov 2006 21:18 PST
Hello czh-ga,

Thanks for your reading. I am graduating from my graduate school. I am
seeking entry level jobs in the investment banking industry.

It seems opnions are divided about whether I should include that piece
of employment history. I have to pass many stressing interviews in
order to land a job -- so if I really pass all the tests and
interviews, I will cherish the opportunity. Again I have nothing to
hide from the employer, but a potentially revengeful ex-boss that I
should try my best to stay away from.

I am looking for smart solutions/writings to put on my resume to serve
for the purpose of honesty and also to protect myself from the
possible situation that the background check company "leaks" too much
info to the ex-boss?

For verification of dates, a department administrative secretary who
processed the paperwork of my assistantship should suffice. Is there a
way I can direct all inquiries to the secretary?

Clarification of Question by lunamoon-ga on 13 Nov 2006 10:45 PST
HI myoarin-ga,

Thanks for your comments. You sure the background checking company
will not dig out where my pay-checks came from during that period and
will not declare that I was dishonest?

I just don't want to make any mistakes ...
Subject: Re: How to fix a hole in my resume? Does resume have to be very complete?
Answered By: czh-ga on 13 Nov 2006 23:50 PST
Hello lunamoon-ga,

I?m experienced in human resources and career development and I am
familiar with the problem of having to deal with work history elements
that you would rather forget and hope will never come to light. I have
interviewed and hired many candidates and have also had to fire some
employees. I?ve also advised hundreds of clients on resume and job
search techniques.

I think the crux of your problem is that you have a job in your work
history where you did not perform at your best. Let?s take a look at
your comments about the job from a possible future employer?s

According to your own description, you did not like your job as a
programmer research assistant and you didn?t like your boss. You think
she was ?too pushy.? You did not meet her expectations for your
performance. Your school performance also suffered because of the long
hours she demanded. Consequently you found the experience depressing.
You are now afraid of what she might say about your work products,
your ability to meet expectations and how you handled your conflict
with her.

Your question is focused on how to hide this information from any
companies who might be interested in considering you for a job.

You have to understand that future employers you hope to impress will
assume that your past employers were reasonable, set reasonable
expectations and used appropriate criteria for evaluating your
performance and attitude. No matter how justified you may feel in your
assessment of your prior boss as ?pushy? and demanding, if you express
these feelings to a prospective employer you will appear whiny and
possibly a slacker. They might think you were unable to manage
priorities, that you had poor communications skills because of the
unresolved conflict with your boss and that you had an attitude
problem. You want to avoid your job prospects coming to these

You have to arrive at a strategy so that you can include this job in
your work history and not worry about how to talk about it with
recruiters or prospective employers.

Let?s consider the alternatives of including / excluding this job from your resume.

Don?t Include Job on Resume

If you don?t include the programmer research assistant position that
helped pay your stipend for graduate school you find yourself with the
dilemma you?ve discussed here. You will always wonder about someone
finding out about it. It may not come to light during the interview
process. If your prospective employer does not ask you to fill out an
application in addition to your resume you might be able to keep the
job a secret. You might line up other references who will vouch for
your excellent skills, work habits and character. The reference
checking might not discover that you had this job.

According to this scenario, the best case you hope for is that you get
your desired job without revealing the job you?re worried about and
there will never be a reason in your future where you might need or
want to talk about it.

Some of the disadvantages of this scenario are that you can never talk
about the research assistant job so you don?t get discovered. You
can?t mention anything that you learned on that job, any experience
that you gained, any people you met. You?ll have to be vigilant about
keeping your secret.

The alternate scenario is that you omit the job from your work history
but your prospective employers find out about it from someone other
than you. This may not be a big deal. Or, it could bring serious

Let?s say the scenario you fear unfolds and the reference check
reveals the unlisted job. Your prospective employer is likely to come
and question you about it and you will have to explain why you didn?t
mention it in the first place. Alternately, your prospective employer
many see your omission in worse light and never give you a chance to
explain. You would simply not be considered a viable candidate.

Worst case, you could be hired and the truth is discovered later. Many
companies might consider your ?lie by omission? a firing offense. If
you don?t tell a proactive story, you will always be in a defensive
position regarding this job.

Include the Job on Your Resume

Why go through the grief of worrying about not listing this job on
your resume? What are the possible scenarios if you do include the

If you list the job on your resume you will be in control of how the
prospective employer thinks about this job. You will be able to
present the relevant work experience as part of your portfolio of
skills. Even more important, you will be able to put the best light on
what happened before your prior employer?s views come to light.

Employers look for candidates who not only have the ability to perform
the tasks of the job but also have the interpersonal skills to deal
with conflict and manage expectations. You will have to develop a
plausible explanation of what happened on this job. If you?re still
thinking of yourself as the victim of a bad boss you will not be able
to present yourself well. ?Never bad mouth a prior boss? is a cardinal
rule for the job search.

Your top priority should be to talk to the boss you think will give
you a bad recommendation and find out what she is willing to say about
your work for her. Many universities and companies have strict
policies about giving references. You need to find out what are the
policies at your institution. If giving information about the quality
of your work is permitted, you should talk to the boss whose
recommendation you fear and negotiate with her a story you can both
live with.

If you can?t develop a mutually agreed on story with your former boss,
your best approach might be to frame your conflicts with the boss as
learning opportunities that have taught you to better understand
yourself and how to manage your relationships. You might want to
explain how you would better handle this type of situation in the
future. People just starting out have more leeway with this kind of
?learning? than more experienced employees. You must make sure you
have some references lined up who could confirm your skills and
ability to get along. They should help you put a positive spin on your
qualifications no matter what this boss might say if prospective
employers should track her down.

My recommendation is that you tighten up your resume. Someone just
coming out of school is not expected to have extensive experience.
List the research assistant job and briefly indicate its
responsibilities and your achievements and contributions in that
position. Let prospective employers ask questions about it during the
interview and be prepared to handle whatever the interviewer might
throw at you. Be prepared with a list of references who will give you
good recommendations.

Considering the two sets of alternatives, I strongly urge you to list
the job on your resume. Don?t risk a cover up that could be
interpreted as a lie. Whatever happened on this job is only important
because it is recent. As you build your career, your achievements in
your future professional jobs will make this job insignificant and
eventually not worth mentioning. I also suggest that you review the
articles I?ve collected for you on how to line up your references and
make sure that you have talked to all your references before you use
their names with any employers.

The articles I?ve provided will also help you educate yourself about
the problem of references from the employer?s perspective. These
should help you with developing a strategy for how to deal with the
boss you fear will give you a bad reference.

I?m providing you with links to help you evaluate the pros and cons of
what you might do. Please don?t hesitate to ask for additional
information or clarification if my recommendation doesn?t make sense
to you.

Wishing you well.

~ czh ~
How to Make the Best Use of References
Dealing with Unfavorable References
Include 6-month job on resume?
Frequently Asked Questions About Resumes
Resume block: death by a thousand decisions
Truth or Consequences
Build Resume for your First Job
Selling Air: Marketing Your Entry-Level Career
Writing an Entry-Level Resume
Other Risks in Providing References
Reference Check Guidelines
Reference Check Instructions
References -- YOUR RIGHTS
The Overwhelming, Can't Be Overstated, and Undeniable Importance of References
Back-door references and slander


omit job from resume
entry-level resume
unfavorable job reference
Subject: Re: How to fix a hole in my resume? Does resume have to be very complete?
From: nelson-ga on 08 Nov 2006 03:40 PST
DO NOT submit a CV to a U.S. employer.  There are too many items
contained on a CV that a U.S. employer, for legal reasons, does not
want to know about.

Not liking a job is no reason not to include it on your résumé. 
Background checks normally do not include contact with your past
direct supervisors.  They will normally go no further than verifying
your dates of employment.  Background checks do usually involve
directly contacting individuals you list as referneces.
Subject: Re: How to fix a hole in my resume? Does resume have to be very complete?
From: ubiquity-ga on 08 Nov 2006 13:22 PST
If you update your resume, susbmit it to the company at the next
interview stage.  if they have a career portal on their website, you
should upload it through there.

Most hedgefunds and investment banks go through head hunters for their
hires (at least that is what i find).  Always make sure your
headhunter has an updated version of your resume.  Also, If you are
decently old and have some good experience, then a resume can be a
little long.  It is filling it up with drivel that is the real proble.

However, it sahould not take too long to crank out a good resume.  SO
do you best to polish it off in one go, and then update as needed,
when you get new experiences.
Subject: Re: How to fix a hole in my resume? Does resume have to be very complete?
From: nelson-ga on 08 Nov 2006 17:32 PST
Sublime1-ga, background checks are more common than you think and they
do not apply to only "high-security" positions.  "Disclosure" is
usually in the form of fine print on the employment application.
Subject: Re: How to fix a hole in my resume? Does resume have to be very complete?
From: nelson-ga on 10 Nov 2006 06:56 PST
Unless the position was at a very small company, employment
verification usually goes through Human Resources, not a secretary.
Subject: Re: How to fix a hole in my resume? Does resume have to be very complete?
From: lunamoon-ga on 11 Nov 2006 11:22 PST
Hi nelson-ga,

Thanks a lot for your comments. 

The previous position was in a university. The position was a
programming research assistant for a professor. The compensation was
of the form of research assistantship. There are two persons knew the
employment dates: the professor herself and the departmental
administrative secretary who processed the paperworks and submit the
paperworks so that I got paid.

Of course the paperworks went through the university HR or payroll at
some stages. But with so many student employees, temporary employees,
staff and faculty, etc., I guess the university HR will not directly
handle my case since I am a student employee.

Do you think the background checking company will just call the
university HR and the university HR then dig into their computer
system and check my payroll dates, then they are done? If that's so, I
am relieved and I am then safe.

Thanks a lot and have a nice weekend(and to everybody)...
Subject: Re: How to fix a hole in my resume? Does resume have to be very complete?
From: myoarin-ga on 12 Nov 2006 06:03 PST
As you point out, that employment was parallel with your studies, so
omitting mention of it will not leave a hole in your CV.  That is only
a problem when you can't justify a gap between reported periods of
study and employment, which raises questions.
A potential employer won't be able to ask about something he doesn't
know.  Any request for confirmation of your academic dates, etc. will
go through the formal channels.

Unless your programming experience at that job is significant for the
positions you are applying for, omitting reference to it won't be any
loss.  If the experience would be significant, you could just mention
the department (or more vaguely).  Perhaps you have some other way to
document what you did.  If the interviewer asks for a contact, you
could refer him/her to the dept. secretary - having, of course,
confirmed before hand the person's willingness to respond.

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