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What is the best way to present yourself in a resume if you have a mentaI diagnosis which previously inhibited your loyalty to a company and you jumped from job to job?

I had a very difficult time staying at one job because I could not focus on my work and actually needed to multiple things at one time to keep myself in check. I was a great multi-tasker, but the job would soon bore me and I would not be able to do it without feeling severe anxiety. I only had one job I loved but I commuted 2 hours each way just to work and after 2 1/2 years I had to take a break. After finally being sent to a doctor and then a psychiatrist because of my focusing problem, they discovered ADD and gave me medicine. Now I am very focused, was even able to get my Master's degree. How would I demonstrate that I am a changed employee and can actually sit and do my work, as well as multi-task, to an employer since my past looks so bad. The references loved me, I was a hard worker, but I just couldn't handle doing the same thing day in and out without losing my attention on the project. Btw, my best job was one where I was in and out of the office all day. When I was given a project where I was stuck at my desk or in a room, I would lose focus very easily. #talent-recruiting #legal-services #government #human-resources #job-application

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Christina’s Answer

Hi there-

I actually think your situation doesn't look as bad to an employer as you see it to be. 2.5 years at a company is pretty standard for this day in age and it doesn't seem as if you lack commitment. You also had a long commute, which is a reasonable reason to look elsewhere.

On your resume, I would keep out any reasons for leaving or any of your mental health information. That information isn't their business and it's not the place to do it. Save this one for the interview but only if they bring it up. If they have an issue with a break in employment, or any other issues with your resume, that's the time they'll ask. I would suggest that your response be as positive as possible.

I would practice a response saying something positive about the work but then saying, "but that work-life balance wasn't sustainable to me due to the commute and due to wanting something different from my career and knowing I had to take the next step towards something else. I realized taking a break and reassessing my situation was the best move for me and during that time I (insert something you learned or realized while you weren't working)

If you have any concerns about focus at the job now, you will be filling out an EEOC employment form that asks you if you have any disabilities. I believe ADHD is considered a disability that you can indicate there.

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June’s Answer

Hi Melissa,

One thing you could to is research creating a functional resume rather than a chronological one. That way the emphasis is on the skills that you learned and your accomplishments rather than a specific timeline. That would be one way to reduce the focus on short tenures.

I agree with Christina that 2.5 years isn't really that bad and is pretty standard, especially if you were working for a small company that didn't offer much in the way of advancement. If you can spin your departures as conscious career moves to emphasize that you were focused on improving yourself and learning from each position that would be helpful.

You might also focus on larger companies that offer the opportunity to move up the ladder. Even though you are now on medication for ADHD, boredom is still boredom. You need to be sure to land somewhere that has a career track that will keep you challenged and learning new things and taking on more responsibility.

I wouldn't bring up your ADHD or the medication you're on unless you absolutely have to. As long as the meds are working for you, it's just not relevant, nor is it any of their business.

Whatever you do, be positive in describing or talking about each position. Negativity about a prior job or boss never goes over well in an interview. Good luck!

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Rachel’s Answer

This is a tough situation. I don't think that you need to divulge your medical history if you are not comfortable with that. If you took time off from school to get a master's degree that is fine too. Start by applying to jobs, and then when you are hired somewhere, you will need to work hard to demonstrate focus and a commitment to the tasks at hand.

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Taylor’s Answer

Hey Melissa! Great story and I'm glad you are able to focus now :)

I think your resume should always be your best foot forward. Make sure to list the jobs you were most passionate about (that way, you can speak to them the most). Although the commitment time period might look shot, I'm sure a line or two about your contributions or what you did will quell any doubts. See if you can speak to someone at the company about your resume or get a reference to bolster your application when you are applying to the job.

Good luck with your search!

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Benjamin’s Answer

Positive attitude and strong references are valuable.

Medical histories can be kept confidential.