Melissa W. on February 22, 2017
Resume Building and Writing
I've been a professional graphic & web designer for over 20 years, with the past 13 years focused on user experience design for government contracting & consulting. And I've been with the same employer since 2008. In early 2010 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and quickly began treatment, including a mastectomy. From late 2012 to late 2014 I went through a series of reconstructive surgeries. All of this meant a significant amount of down time away from work and my overall health and cognitive abilities took quite a big hit. My employer has been incredibly supportive throughout everything and continues to provide me with health insurance even though they no longer do government contracting and have very little work for me. I'm an hourly paid employee which means no work = no income. I've been job hunting for over a year now. As a designer I must maintain both a written resume as well as a design portfolio. My written resume is a hybrid resume that indicates I've been full time employed with no gaps in employment but my portfolio reflects obvious gaps in my projects. So much in my field has changed since my diagnosis. Technology moves fast and I've fallen behind the curve on the latest tools and techniques. I'm willing to take entry level work to get myself back in the game. I've applied for positions at various levels but rarely get called for interviews. I suspect my resume shows I'm too senior for entry & mid level positions and the gaps in my portfolio indicate I'm no longer qualified for senior level positions. I'm in the process of updating my portfolio with more recent, non-government contract projects. And I know how to speak to the gaps once I get an interview. The problem is simply getting contacted for the interview.
1) How do I get a potential employer to consider a resume with 20+ years experience for an entry and mid level position?
2) Do I use the cover letter to address the gaps and explain why I'm looking for lower level positions?
3) What if it's an online resume submission process that does not allow for a cover letter?
4) Should I specify in my chronological resume that I've been full-time until 2010 and part-time since 2010, to help potential employers understand why I am considering lower level positions?
5) Any other advise to help me get back in the game?