HR expert shares tips for improving resume, landing a new job

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Many people are trying to land a job but have work gaps because of the pandemic. Even if that’s the case, an HR expert said they can still get hired and a well-structured resume can help.

Heather Talamante, a senior HR generalist with First Financial Credit Union, shared some tips for navigating the interview process after a difficult year.

"Usually within the first one to two minutes of scanning through your resume, I will identify pretty quickly if you’re someone I would like to proceed with," Talamante said.

She said people make common mistakes.

"The real pet peeves for me right now are inaccurate or incomplete information and paragraph resumes," Talamante said. "Do not send out your information in paragraphs. We do not want to read an essay, we just want really quickly to establish if you’re qualified for our position."

But how does someone who lost their job get their resume to the top of the stack?

"I’m noticing people are not including all of their work experience, so we all had to pivot in 2020," Talamante said. "It’s OK to say you’ve been a Grubhub driver, or whatever gig work you took on while you were trying to make things work through COVID."

Talamante also said if you were furloughed or laid off, include that too.

"You get a free pass for the gap during COVID. We understand," she said. "We were all navigating many different things at one time, but there really isn’t any downside to having a gap on your resume during COVID times."

If you land an interview, use it as an opportunity to explain that work gap.

"My first question is, ‘did you work somewhere else? Did you apply anywhere else? Were you interested in work during that time?’" Talamante said. "Most of them would say ‘no, it wasn’t a good time. I was waiting for things to open back up for a better time.’"

Honesty is the best policy.

If anyone wants help building a resume or acing interviews, Talamante has a nonprofit where experts share advice for free. To learn more, click here.