How Should Your Resume Explain Unemployment Periods?

woman working on her laptop, searching for a job

While the actual unemployment rate is notoriously hard to pin down, one thing’s for sure: many people will go through a period of unemployment at some point in their lives. And those periods don’t just make it hard to pay bills in the meantime—they can also make it harder to get a new job.

The dreaded “employment gap” on your resume can be a red flag to potential employers who wonder what you were up to during that time. But it doesn’t have to be a red flag. If you know the right approach, you can use your resume to explain your experience—even the gaps—in a way that shows you’re the ideal candidate for the job.

How can you use your resume to explain unemployed periods? Here’s how to spin it to get the job you want.

Fill Your Gaps Wisely

If you find yourself unemployed, now or in the future, this is a great time to fill that gap with a productive experience that you can put on your resume.

There are lots of ways to advance your career or skills without actually having a job. Take this time to volunteer in your industry, or sign up for a free online course to grow your skillset. Now, you’ll have relevant experience that you can add to your resume for the period when you were unemployed.

If you can, add the date of this non-work experience when you list it on your resume (such as giving the date of completion for your online course). That way, you can signal to potential employers that even when you weren’t officially working, you were still working on your career.

Loosen up Your Dates

If you already have past employment gaps that you didn’t fill with other valuable experience, you can still make them less prominent on your resume. Consider listing your dates in a way that’s a little more flexible. Instead of listing the month and year that you started and ended each job, just list the year. That way, even if you were unemployed for several months within a year, it won’t be glaringly obvious.

Switch Your Format

RELATED: How to Write Your First Resume

If you have a chronological resume format, your employment dates (and any gaps in them) are front and center. Changing to a functional or hybrid resume pushes that information further down the page, or gets rid of it altogether.

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What’s an Instagram Theme, and Should You Have One?

colorful spread of photos from the Pantone Instagram account

Every month, a billion people use Instagram. If you’re one of that billion, why not get more out of your time on the app? An Instagram theme will make your posts pay off with new, loyal followers and a more impressive feed.

Instagram themes sync your posts under a cohesive visual concept, giving you an attractive, curated account. While not everyone needs an Instagram theme, they’re a great way to make your Insta more visually appealing and fun. And for anyone hoping to use the platform for personal branding or sales, they’re virtually essential.

Is an Instagram theme right for you? And if so, how can you decide on (and stick to) a great theme? Here’s everything you need to know to create a stand-out Instagram theme that grows your following naturally.

Why Use an Instagram Theme?

With an Instagram theme, all of your posts are united with visual consistency. Your theme can be based on color: for example, you might post only black-and-white images or only pastels. It can involve the subject: you might post all beach-related photos or all portraits. It can involve a bigger picture: using individual images to create a larger visual mosaic made of smaller image “tiles.” Or it can be anything else you dream up.

For brands, an Instagram theme serves as a sort of shorthand for your “brand story,” or the unique details about your business that customers love. If you aspire to sell to the trendy minimalist, for example, you can reflect that with a theme that involves simple images against clean white backgrounds.

But Instagram themes are also great for individuals. They can give people a clear idea of who you are simply by glancing over your Instagram. And they can make posting more fun, by giving you the payoff of a prettier account.

Social media is all about representing yourself online, and an Instagram theme can help your posts feel more authentic and purposeful. A great theme also tends to attract new followers and compels more people to interact with your enviable account.

How to Create an Instagram Theme

RELATED: How to Create a Personal Brand

Does this posting tactic sound right for you? Then you’ll need to choose the best theme to work with.

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Create a Summer Bucket List to Make the Most of the Season

Two people kayaking with steep cliffs in the background.

Have you ever reached the last day of summer, only to realize you squandered most of it? It’s all too easy to let the season slip away without doing the things you wanted to—but a summer bucket list can help.

You’re probably already familiar with the “bucket list” concept. It’s a list of things you plan to do, and you cross them off as you complete them. Some people make bucket lists for a trip, or for all the things they want to do in their lifetime. But a summer bucket list addresses the problem of feeling like the season is over before you got a chance to make the most of it.

Here’s how to make a summer bucket list that will maximize your time, and give you memories that will last for years to come.

Choose Your Format

First, pick the best format for your list. Oh, that’s right! This isn’t a metaphorical list; this is an actual list you’re going to fill up with summer fun and goals.

If you love writing on paper, buy a notebook or planner to keep your list. If you prefer to keep things digital, start a note on your phone or a Google doc. As you accomplish things on your bucket list, you’ll get the dopamine boost that comes from achievement—and having your list written down lets you see those accomplishments all in one place.

Keep It Realistic

Now, you can start writing down ideas for your list. However, try to be realistic about how easy or difficult these things are. Remember, you only have one season to get them done! You might want to spend a month in Europe, but if you haven’t even started planning yet, that might not be a realistic goal for your summer bucket list.

Rather than adding unrealistic items to your list, consider what might be a simpler version of it. For example, instead of a month in Europe, maybe you could spend a week at a closer vacation destination. Or, put things on your bucket list that bring you closer to that more challenging goal. Maybe “saving for a trip to Europe” should go on your bucket list for this summer so that you can go next year.

Your bucket list items don’t all have to be purely “fun” things, especially if they’re bringing you closer to a future goal.

Add Plans for Each Item

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How to Pick Glasses that Work with Your Face

Woman trying on different eyeglass frames at the store

Three-quarters of American adults need corrective lenses of some sort. For those who choose glasses, the frames become an integral part of their look. But how do you find the best frames to suit your face?

Different Frame Types for Different Faces

Many overly simple guides promise to sync up particular frame styles to specific face shapes. However, the reality is that many faces don’t fit one specific shape, but fall somewhere between extremes (such as “oval” or “square”). Picking the right glasses doesn’t mean following a formula, so much as it means understanding the effect that specific frames will have when you put them on.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common shapes and styles of glasses, and the ways they can complement (or distract from) your facial features. Use this as a reference point for your decisions — but don’t forget, the best frames are always the ones that make you feel great when you look in the mirror.

Thick Frames

Thick frames offer a statement-making look that remains popular even though thinner frames are trending at the moment.

While thick frames were once the daring, hip choice in glasses, they’ve now taken their place among classic looks. Still, the thicker the frame, the bolder your glasses become. This means that if you have small, delicate features, a pair of thick frames run the risk of overpowering your face and taking center stage.

But for some, that powerful effect might be just what you’re looking for. If you want your glasses to be the focal point of your face, consider a thicker frame. Otherwise, avoid thick frames unless you have bold features (like large eyes or stand-out cheekbones) to add balance.

Thin Frames

Thin wire frames have become a hot alternative to the bold frames that dominated trendy glasses for years. Wire frames lend themselves well to softer, rounded designs for a more neutral look.

These thin frames offer one of the most universally flattering looks in glasses since they don’t make a bold statement on your face. Delicate wire glasses let your features stand out more, which is ideal for those who don’t want their glasses to be the boldest part of their look or anyone with small features.

If you don’t love the idea of wire frames, you can also choose a thin plastic pair to get the same effect. Opt for clear plastic or a translucent, neutral shade for the subtlest look.

Round Frames

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How to Create a Personal Brand

Woman at a desk beside a window working on a laptop.
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The idea of a “personal brand” gets a bad rap these days, but it’s an essential part of building an online presence. Here’s how to do it right.

In the age of Instagram influencers, the concept of a “personal brand” might be more misunderstood than ever before. Some people think personal branding suggests someone who is inauthentic in their daily or digital life.

However, nothing could be further from the truth. When done well, a personal brand reflects your authentic self in a way that translates online, so people who’ve never met you get a sense of who you are.

In fact, you already have a personal brand. It’s expressed in the things you do, the clothes you wear, the art you like, and the way you live your life. The trick is to figure out what your brand is and how to communicate it to other people. Here’s what you need to know.

Who Needs a Personal Brand?

Personal branding, as a concept, isn’t as new as you might think. Some people would argue it’s been around as long as the modern concept of business. There was a time when personality drove people’s shopping decisions: you bought from people whose character—or brand—you liked.

But with the growth of massive companies, the “personal” part disappeared for much of the 20th century. Personal branding never played a role in people buying Coke products or Dawn dish soap. However, the digital age has brought personality back into the mix of how we do business.

Today, personal branding is vital for anyone who wants to use their online presence as a way to grow in their career. This can include artists, editors, designers, teachers, and many others. Once, customers would have stepped into your shop or studio to get to know you. Today, they find you online, and will probably never meet you in person. Personal branding takes the place of a personal meeting to show them what you’re all about.

To decide whether you need a personal brand, take a close look at how you use online spaces and where you plan to take your career. If you use social media purely for entertainment and staying in touch with friends, you might not need a personal brand. But if you use social media to get new clients or connect with potential customers, you probably do need one. If you ever plan to launch a business or become freelancer, you should also have a personal brand—it’s never too soon to start working on it.

What Makes a Good Personal Brand?

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G-Stock Studio/Shutterstock

Many people feel an aversion to the concept of personal branding because they think it means being fake. However, the only thing that can make a personal brand successful is authenticity.

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