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I’ve been out of work for, er, ahem, QUITE some time

There have always been reasons that resumes stop way before the actual date they were sent out to prospective employers. With today’s economy, that has never been more the case. We’re not talking out of work for a few months here, sometimes now it’s two and three years. Do you not say anything on your resume about the recent gap, and hope that no-one minds? If what you have been doing sounds really lame to you, do you think you should write it down anyway because you think you have to tell them something? Do you think that every minute of your professional life should be down there in case people think you’re hiding something?
I am pretty well firmly – oh, the blog’s called “Margaret says” and I’m supposed to be strong-willed – no, make that, I very firmly believe that it’s best to write something. You can’t, of course, lie. As I tell my candidates, there’s heavenly retribution and, even worse, you get found out. However, it’s best to put something there, however short, so that you don’t have the potential employer or, frankly, have the staffing agency worry about what on earth you could have been doing. A couple of lines is enough.
e.g. Jan 2010 –  present. Cared for ailing parent.
e.g. Jan 2010 – Feb 2011. Cared for ailing parent. March 2011 – present . Short-term temporary assignments.
e.g. March 2011 – June 2011. Who-Knew-It-Would-Crash-and-Burn Asset Management. Admin assistant to CFO (laid off).
        July 2011 – present. Looking after family and continued job search.
e.g. October 2009 – present. Full-time looking after family till youngest started school.
e.g. August 2011 – present. Traveled throughout Europe and the USA.

I mean, what’s wrong with any of these? I’m not going to think, and neither will any decent human being of an HR Co-ordinator, that if you’re any good you’d have found a job by now. “It’s the economy, stupid.” So don’t have everyone guessing the worst; give us a clue.