Having a gap in your resume has become more common today than ever before. However, employers continue to take note of this and seek explanation leaving many job seekers stressing about their gaps. Although you might be tempted to hide these gaps from prospective employers with creative resume formatting or even outright lies, it is far better for you to explain these gaps and emphasize your commitment to advancing your career with these employers.
There are several reasons why you may have a gap in your employment or educational resume. Here are some of the most common reasons:
Taking care of a sick family member
Personal health issues
Relocating while searching for jobs in your new city
Time off to further advance your education or professional training
Personal time off for self-improvement: travel, study or a debriefing period
Attempting to start your own business
Or perhaps you were laid off or left work and just had a difficult time finding new opportunities
Whatever your reason, there is one important question to consider: How did you benefit from the time off?
Were you able to spend quality time with your loved ones or improve your personal health?
Were you able to learn a new skill or complete training programs?
How did travel, study or entrepreneurship improve the quality of your life?
Employers concerned about your employment or educational gap are looking for answers to these questions.
TELL THE TRUTH ABOUT THE GAP IN YOUR EMPLOYMENT
The best place to tell the truth about your employment gap is in your cover letter. You’re human and employers know that. If you had to take time off work to care for a sick relative, focus on raising young children, or complete your education, state this in your cover letter.
During your interview, touch on your employment gap again and offer additional details if necessary. Ignoring it or attempting to gloss over it can cause the interviewer to make assumptions or jump to conclusions, so it is important that you control your career’s narrative by discussing its gaps up front.
FOCUS ON YOUR SKILL DEVELOPMENT DURING YOUR PERIODS OF UNEMPLOYMENT
While you are unemployed, it is important to continue developing your skills. This will keep you employable. It is just as important to develop your soft skills as it is to develop your career-related skills. You can do this by volunteering, freelancing, or developing skills that can help you in the workplace, like learning a new language or developing your public speaking skills.
KEEP A POSITIVE TONE AND FOCUS ON THE FUTURE
If you were let go from a previous job due to restructuring or downsizing or if you voluntarily left the job, mention this but do not harp on it. Again, you are a human being. You will not be a great fit for every job or every manager and you cannot always uproot your life to follow a relocating job.
During your interview, talk positively about your fit for the new position and how you will be an asset to the company. Emphasize your relevant experience and how you intend to further that experience in the new position.
DISCUSS YOUR EMPLOYMENT NEEDS AND FIND YOUR NEXT JOB WITH AN EXPERIENCED STAFFING AGENCY
If you are in the market for a new job, consider working with an experienced staffing agency to find and secure your next position. Contact Stand-by Personnel today to schedule your initial consultation with us, during which we can assess your skills and experience to determine the ideal fit for your career.