Patch Up Your Resume Weakness

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No career is perfect: No matter who you are, you’ll inevitably experience setbacks, layoffs, bad bosses, and other roughness.

You’ll put those bad patches behind you, but they won’t disappear entirely. Recruiters and HR staff will notice if there’s a significant gap between jobs on your resume, for example. Depending on how knowledgeable they are about the broader tech world, they may also note if you’ve worked for startups that crashed-and-burned spectacularly, or prominent projects that failed before releasing an actual product.

Resist the temptation to hide or downplay those negative elements; attempts at obfuscation will just make you look bad. Instead, be prepared to not only explain any gaps or setbacks, but put a positive spin on them—by talking about how you learned from mistakes and moved past difficulties, you show that you’re self-aware, proactive, and take-charge.

A version of this advice also applies whenever an interviewer asks you to describe your weaknesses. Responses such as, “I work too hard” or, “I’m too much of a people person” are clichés, and will get you nowhere; instead, pick a professional flaw that won’t outright knock you out of contention for the job at hand, and describe how you’re actively working to improve.

For example, if you have issues with delegating responsibility, make sure to come to the interview with three or four ready examples of how you’ve gotten better at delegating over the course of your career, despite some early problems.

There are very few resume weaknesses that aren’t patchable.

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