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Minimizing Lengthy Employment Gaps

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
CATEGORY: , , , ,
POSTED: May 11, 2010 at 9:15 am

What do you do if you have gaps between jobs?

It’s not that you decided to drop out for a while to find your inner self. Perhaps you were laid off at the beginning of this historic recession and like millions of others have had difficulty finding a job in your industry or in a new area. Perhaps you had a baby and took some time off. Maybe you suffered an injury or had to take care of an aging parent. Whatever the situation, many people have employment gaps for very legitimate reasons.

A resume doesn’t explain why the gaps are there and employers often don’t take the time to find out. How do you get past this?

Gaps in Employment Can and Should Be Minimized

If you have gaps in your employment history, consider highlighting what you did during your time off. Perhaps some volunteering, part-time consulting, or freelance work encompassed the skills or experience the company is looking for.

Template Choice May Help

You could also use a functional resume rather than a reverse-chronological resume. When you write a functional resume, you list your skills as they apply to a specific job. With this format, your resume explains what you can do, what you have learned, and what precise abilities you bring to a new job. Although not many job applicants use this format, it is often far more effective than the reverse-chronological resume in answering the prospective employer’s most important question: “What skills do you have and how can they help me in my company?” This format is especially effective for job hoppers, career changers, people just entering the job market who have little work experience, and applicants who have been out of the job market for an extended length of time.