Hello, everybody. I'm a long time listener of the podcast, but just signed up for the forums a couple hours ago. For that reason, I haven't interacted with anyone around here, but I would love to start. Regardless, I would really appreciate your input in this matter.

I would be really thankful if you took the time and take a look at my resume, at Just for reading a few comments in the forums, I see that there’s a lot of really prepared HR people and managers here, and I would appreciate any comment you have regard it.

This is the situation: after being a Marketing Manager a few years ago, I was laid off when the company was nearly bankrupt. I took me a few months to get back on my feet, and I got a scholarship and went to study a PhD. Because of difficult personal and familiar situations (didn’t know it, but I was going through a depression, and a parent passed away shortly after), I left the PhD after the first semester, and change cities. Since then, I’ve been working in the family company, but I’m just getting involved in it.

For all of this, I’m lacking confidence regarding my professional history since 2008. I’ve rewritten my resume at least four times since the beginning of the year, but there’s really no way to fix this noticeable holes while being truthful. I have got a couple of really amazing interviews in this year, but didn’t made it farther than the first stages.

For that reason, it’s really important for me to understand how the hiring managers are seeing my history. I’m confident in my abilities, and have the disposition to get back in the professional environment I knew, but then I start talking about my resume and career history and feel that there’s no way I could get back to where I was before.

Sorry for the extended post. I hope the context is useful in understanding what I’m asking. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read this, and for any advice you have for me. I really appreciate it.

naraa's picture
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 Dear Alan,

Let´s see if I can be specific here.  Hard to be specific when the subject is somewhat subjective.

1- Your blog is beautiful. Congratulations. I don´t work in advertising. I am an engineer.  But visually the blog is beautiful and there is so much soul in there.  I just love the videos. I see what you mean.

2 - I tried to forget a while what you had written to see if the CV would passed me the same message.  What I think is wrong with the CV is in education the dual CEDIM and EGADE one semester in a PhD program and one semester in a master program.  It sends the message of starting too much and not finishing anything. I would remove the CEDIM, master in business and inovation to Courses and Seminars, put it in as doing one semester class there with the specific name of the classes you did.  Don´t mention in  the CV that you started doing a master and didn´t finish it.  It doesn´t add to it, it takes it away.  People make interpretations which may not be correct.  The story as i see it is: had a manager job, company got in trouble (a period when a lot of companies did, no big deal there), lost the job, looked for a job for a while,  decided to do a PhD, had to move cities due to personal and family difficulties, quit the PhD and worked as translator for a while, got into the family business and now looking into getting back into marketing somewhere else.

If you fix the item mentioned above in the CV, it does show gaps, but it also shows you are a high achiever and a resourcefull person.  Hopefully some HR managers or managers from your field of work will comment on it as well, but I think if I got a CV like yours I would be interested on interviewing you.

Now, here is a lot of interpretation, because of the little information I have on hand.  But I am trying to guess here what you may have done wrong on the interviews based from the hidden lines within what you have written.  Please take for you only what you think suits you and your situation:

1 - "get back where you were before" Well, I certainly do hope you don´t get back to where you were before.  You probably worked really hard for two years, got layed off, took a long time to get back on your feet and faced family problems, and faced depression.   Forget a bit who you were then, and focus more on who you are now.  Imagine where you want to be in a few years from now, but don´t expect that to happen inmediately.  Give it time.  You may need to start over again a bit, maybe not from a manager position but from a lower hank position and climb your way up the latter again.  That does not mean you don´t apply for the manager jobs, but be willing to accept what it takes to get back to what you are best at. 

2 - A couple of interviews is nothing.  Don´t let a couple of interviews put you down.  In fact be happy for having had them.   A lot of people don´t even get to the interviews.  You will get back to where you want to be, it is just a matter of time. 

3 - What drove you to start the PhD and the master?  Isn´t that something you would still like doing?  That is a long term, but certainly a door back in.

4 - Don´t be ashamed of the gaps in your CV.  Be proud of it.  You seem so young and seem to have gone through difficulties people usually face later in their lives.  Three months ago I had some sort of nervous breakdown, burnout, due to a combination of family and work related issues.  I took three months off and going back to work part time now in August.  Within a period of two weeks, I changed more than i had changed in years.  And within a period of three months I am a much better person than I was.  My challenge now is to find out whether I will also be a better professional.  But one thing is certain,  I am never going back to where and what I was.  I am telling you this, because I think before I went through this, perhaps I would see your resume differently.  Perhaps I would not really understand or appreciate what you went through.  But right now, I know I have come out a stronger and a better person.  My recommendation to you is focus on this, focus on how much you have grown as a person through all this turmoil you went through and see how that changes the perspective you have and they way you can contribute at work.  Figure that out, and pass that message through on your interview and you may not please all employers out there, but you sure will please the one that will be a fit to you.  

Good luck.



alanperalta's picture

 Nara, I didn’t expect to get a valuable opinion so fast! Thank you for taking the time.

1.1 Much appreciated. If you ever want any help choosing and modifying a wordpress template, I’ll be happy to help.
1.2 Thank you so much for this advice! Your solution for the CEDIM course is so simple and elegant, and yet I failed to see that every time I reworked the resume. As you well said, as it is right now, it sends a double negative message. I wanted to include both semesters because that was the only thing I was doing during that time, and actually was quite flatter to be invited to the pilot program of the master degree. But you are so right, this came out in both of the interviews I had recently as a negative, when it could very well be a one semester capacitation on the course subject. I wasn’t mistaken thinking I could get some valuable opinions here. I will modify this today! Thank you!
Regarding your personal advice:
2.1 That’s very accurate. I have tried to see this as a fresh start, but really I have also acted reluctant to that, hoping to get back right where I left three years ago. You’re right, I have to humble myself and focus on where I am now.
2.2 Good point.
2.3 I was actually supposed to go to a master degree in Marketing, in which I was already accepted, but got offer the PhD and took it, without being as excited for the subject as I was for the academic rank. I’ll still plan to apply for a master and maybe a PhD once again, but I think that first I got to get my professional life back on track. The academic environment is very individualistic, and if you’re not very focused on your objectives, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. 
2.4 Thank you for sharing your experience. I’ve also read what you wrote on the “from Santiago, Chile” topic (¡se habla español!). I hope that you are feeling fine and back on your feet, mostly for the well-being of your personal life and your duty with the kids. Although I’m not happy to know what you went through, it is somewhat reassuring to read about your experience, and also the one from Nada in your topic. I know it is part of the backlash, but sometimes I fell that I’ve already screw my professional development and everything is downhill from here. The conscious side of my brain tells me that I’m being ridiculous, but it’s hard to shake those feelings off. I’m not as oblivious to think that I’m the only one living this kind of situation, but reading other similar stories from professionals that are talented and concerned about their development, it reassures and comfort me in getting my confidence back.
Once again, I’m very grateful for your kind words and for your brilliant advice on the resume. Hope that you are doing great, Nara.

naraa's picture
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I am glad I was able to help and my advice was useful to you.  I have had my share of help from others too, so you own it to others not to me! (smile!).

Thanks for your concern,  I am doing great.  Three months off from work, therapy, yoga and meditation can do wonders.  I am not sure if work would be more efficient, but definitely more pleasant if everyone was entitled to that every once in a while. 

As you talk about your conscious side of the brain, I guess you might be able to grasp some insight from the TED talk from a Brain Scientist studying her own stroke as it happened.

It does help to know one is not alone.  And you know what?  We all have those uncertainty feeling about the future.  But the future is really what you think it will be.  The way to shake those feelings off is actually by silencing your brain.  Do something that will help you develop your right side of the brain (your conscious) and quiet your left side (your baggage of memory and information which is giving your fear): meditation, yoga, sports, music, painting, anything that will bring you back that sort of confidence you had when you were younger and which is still there!  Visualise what you want, be certain you will get it, plan for getting it and then execute it as planned.  No magic, no mystery, you will get it!  You do need to shake the anxiety out though.  You may not get it exactly when you want it!

Good luck!