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If your resume isn't great or doesn't paint a very positive picture of your career background, look for other things which can bolster impression you can create with potential employers. An ideal situation would be to get references from employers you left early. This is where helping these former employers can help you -- they'll be more inclined to write a good reference for you if you help them out. It also helps if you had made a positive contribution at former employer before you left. It would be great if you could get a reference in writing (i.e. a reference letter) which you could bring with you to interviews.
One way to ease process of getting reference letters is to offer to write letter for reference, and to ask them to simply sign their name to it. Of course, they will only agree to do something like that if you have a positive relationship with them. See this article on references for more information: http://www.jobsearchinfo.com/refs.htm
Even if you don't get a reference letter, there's a chance recruiter might know someone there or might call for a reference. If company has positive things to say about you, you'll be better off.
Get Inside Help
In addition to getting references from former employers, references from prospective employer can also be powerful. This can help to illustrate that you really want to work for company, and it can be helpful to have someone on inside vouch for you. You can network thru friends/associates to find someone who works there. Career expert Jerry Crispin goes as far as to recommend people go out to parking lot of a company where they want to work and offer someone who works there $20 to use their name when applying (i.e. I was referred by Joe Smith).
Hit Ground Running
Employers are generally concerned about someone leaving a job early if they have to invest time in training you up front. If you already have all skills needed to do job and understand company and industry BEFORE you start working there, that can help alleviate that concern.
You can visit JobSearchInfo Education and Training page for resources to help with raising your skill level: http://www.jobsearchinfo.com/degrees.htm
Optimizing your Resume Presentation
Professional resume writers deal with presenting peoples' career histories in best possible light every day. You may want to consider hiring one if your situation is especially tricky to present.
Scott Brown is the author of the Job Search Handbook (http://www.JobSearchHandbook.com). As editor of the HireSites.com weekly newsletter on job searching, Scott has written many articles on the subject. He wrote the Job Search Handbook to provide job seekers with a complete yet easy to use guide to finding a job effectively.