by Lou H, CPRW, Certified Resume Writer -
Employment gaps are rarely good on a resume. An employer wants to hire people who are stable and have had solid work histories. This ensures that companies don’t put countless hours of training into an individual only to have the person quit a few months down the road. Even if your employment gaps are due to layoffs or industry downsizing, they still stand out on a resume. However, you do have several options to minimize their impact.
Addressing Gaps in Employment
According to a CareerBuilder article, “Resume Gaps: How to Minimize the Negative Impact” written by Anthony Balderrama, there are ways to avoid damaging your long-term career goals when you have a gap in employment on your resume.
Balderrama writes, “A new Career Builder survey found that 85%of employers consider themselves more understanding of gaps in your work history since the recession began. Also promising is that 94%of employers wouldn’t think less of candidates who, during the recession, took lower positions than their previous ones.”
The article goes on to summarize what employers look for in a candidate who has had an employment gap. “No matter how positive your attitude, you know that being unemployed is frustrating. When you can’t find the job you want, or any job at all, you feel discouraged. Employers know that. When you’re writing a cover letter or going in for an interview, they don’t expect you to pretend unemployment has been a walk in the park. But they don’t want you to complain, either. As cliché as it sounds, this is when they want to see that you’ve made the most of a bad situation.”
After surveying employers, the article noted that 70% of them agreed that a person taking a temporary or contracted position would help bridge an unemployment gap, and 61% of surveyed employers indicated that taking a class would do so, as well. Last on the list was starting a professional blog, coming in with only 11% of the responses. Other methods to bridge gaps included starting your own business (28%) and volunteering (60%).
What Have You Been Doing?
An important factor to understand is that a potential employer needs to see that during your time between jobs, you took the initiative to stay current with industry trends and kept your skills up-to-date. During an interview, you should be prepared to answer questions about what you have been doing productively with your time.
When a company hires a new employee, they expect that individual to always go above and beyond the stated job responsibilities. Businesses have the goal of making a profit and increasing revenues by implementing improvements and finding innovative ways to do things better than their competition. Knowing this, you need to ask yourself why a company would hire someone who sat at home doing nothing productive for a year. Certainly, this isn’t the type of person who has a hit-the-ground-running mentality. You need to show that you have not only been actively looking for employment, but also making good use of your time and doing something that is related to your field.
Be sure to let a potential employer know what you have accomplished during your time off. Also, avoid altering dates of employment. Dates will be verified, and the last thing you want is discrepancies.
If you ended up working outside of your area of expertise in order to pay the bills, you will need to include that information on your resume or risk having a gap. It is better to show a potential employer that you have been working at something rather than have a space of a year or more of no employment with no explanation.
Who Can Help?
When you have a situation that demands your resume be the best that it can be, it is wise to utilize the services of a professional resume writing service. ResumeEdge and their team of certified resume writers can assist you in making certain your resume is crafted in a way to bring out the positives and reduce the negatives. We’ve dealt with thousands of situations just like yours, and we have a proven track record of helping clients to showcase their expertise and academic backgrounds. In addition to resume writing, resume editing, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles, we also provide interview coaching through our JobInterviewEdge services.