Twenty or thirty years ago, large gaps in employment were more of a rarity and caught the attention (not in a good way) of interviewers, recruiters, and potential employers. In today’s economy, employment gaps are much more commonplace; however, they can still be treated with suspicion and a feeling of mistrust. Through no fault of your own, you may have gaps in employment history. A company may have laid off its newest employees, the organization may have moved, or the entire workforce may have been alleviated of their duties.
Tip #1 – Add in your unpaid work history. When you have the heading Professional History on your resume, it doesn’t mean that all of it must be paid. In fact, many of us have relevant expertise gained through volunteerism, internships, and community engagement activities. If you volunteered during an employment gap, then put this information in your professional history. In additional to adding to your skill-set, it also shows that you weren’t sitting around at home during your time away from the paid workforce.
Tip #2 – Use years only for the dates. If you have only a three-month or six-month gap in your employment, then you can simply list your years of employment and this minimizes the time gap. However, if you choose to go this route, then be sure that you list all of the dates in years only—be consistent throughout the document.
Tip #3 – Group freelance work or temp agency work together. Many people work through an employment agency when they are having difficulties finding full-time work. Instead of listing a three-month stint at this company and a two-month tenure at another company while with the temp agency, simply list the entire timeline while working for the temp agency.
Remember—you are not alone—there are many candidates with gaps in employment history. It is the perception of these gaps that will make the difference between being called for an interview and having your resume moved to the ‘no’ pile. Rather than ‘hiding’ your gaps, be sure to identify why you are the right candidate for the position, highlight your skill-set, and align your document with the job posting.
If you still have questions regarding creating your new resume, contact us today. Or, if you are curious how your resume stacks up against the competition, email Dr. Heather for a free resume critique!