The first impression you provide a potential employer arrives via your resume. If applying to corporation or large firm, your resume will generally be sent to a human resources department for perusal. If it does not meet the strict criteria, an interview will usually not be forthcoming. In years past a part-time resume was usually regarded as the kiss of death. In 2011, when it is common for a person to work many jobs, the part-time resume is more the norm than the exception.
Strengthening a part-time resume is a matter of highlighting your strengths, downplaying your weaknesses, and being honest. Employers realize that economic downturns mandate a change of tactics and strategy, and showing consistent employment sends a message of perseverance and tenacity. If your resume shows long gaps of time when you were unemployed, include a note of explanation for those months or years. Your chances of landing an interview improve if you spell out reasons for extraordinary circumstances.
Listing a large number of part-time jobs on a resume is not a detriment if you have worked those jobs simultaneously. To the contrary, this type of record tells the employer you are willing to do whatever is necessary to meet your goals and fulfill your obligations. A chance exists, however, that the employer may not notice the consistency of your work history. Point it out to him via a cover letter.
The cover letter is the most important method of strengthening a part-time resume. Employers often receive more resumes than they can handle; most are only skimmed to check the high and low points. While you cannot ethically change the facts of your resume, you can provide elaboration in a well-crafted cover letter. The letter provides an additional benefit in that it also serves as a barometer of intelligence and articulation. Do not write over one page, but within that page explain the personal and professional traits that will make you a valued asset to the company.
Strengthen your resume by making it brief and to the point. You are not compelled to list jobs that you believe might damage your chances of employment. For instance, if you were applying for a managerial position at a religious bookstore it would behoove you to leave off that three-week temp job as a bouncer at a topless doughnut shop. Tailor your part-time resume to the position you are seeking, listing in the first positions the temporary jobs that show pertinent and related experience.
Proofread your resume, proofread it again, and then ask a trusted friend or family member for a review. Eliminate all spelling errors or grammatical mistakes. Print the resume on high-quality paper, and do not be shy about sending a follow-up letter or making a phone call if you have not received a response in a reasonable period of time.