Writing your résumé is an overwhelming experience for many people, and searching online can add to that feeling. Here are some resume writing guides and templates to help you get started:

If you have a large gap in employment, acknowledge the gap in your cover letter. Don’t let the hiring manager make up their own story for the gap. Be completely honest about your history, every date can be checked and lying would be a bad mistake.

If you have a lot of short spans of employment be proactive on your résumé. Do this by putting a short description, in parenthesis, of the reason for the short stint right next to the dates of employment. (i.e. “Laid Off Due To Economic Circumstances,” “Position Eliminated”)

Don’t have any good job references? First off don’t provide any references if they are not required. You can also get yourself a new reference by volunteering for a non-profit or special event. Once you make a good connection with anyone in a position of authority, ask them to be a reference. If former employers are not viable references then ask former teachers or clients to be a reference. Lastly, spend extra time on your cover letter, make it really strong so your application stands out.

Have a really bad employment history? Then it is best to take any job you can get and stay there for a couple of years. Work hard at your job and at getting in good with the management so you can use them as a reference for the job you really want. If you have to take a job you don’t like be sure to use some of your free time to learn new skills, especially ones that are relevant to the job you really want. This way you will stay competitive with other candidates.