No matter how dedicated, experienced, or skilled you might be, you can end up having a gap in your work history. Don’t worry if that happened to you. You can still get a job with a gap in employment history by playing your cards right.
No matter why the gap exists, the key is to be upfront about explaining it in the resume itself. Most people don’t do this and hope that the recruiter doesn’t notice, or they tell themselves they’ll explain it during an interview. That’s a bad approach to take. A recruiter is sure to notice this gap in your work history, and they may not even give you an interview with a gap in your resume.
If there’s no explanation, recruiters may automatically assume that you are unwilling – or just unable – to find employment. Neither option is optimistic. Recruiters don’t like finding implications of lack of ambition, instability, or stagnation.
So, how can you explain that gap in your work history?
1. Be Positive
Applicants and recruiters alike understand it’s never good to have these career gaps, but there are silver linings to be found. Try to stay upbeat and positive about them. If you had to leave your previous job, emphasize that you made the choice to do so and that there was a reason you were unemployed. If leaving wasn’t your choice, then talk about what you gained from the job and the values you’re going to bring to a new position. Gaps in your work history are not necessarily a sign of stagnation and slacking off.
2. Emphasize How you Kept Yourself Busy
Don’t give recruiters the impression you did nothing while unemployed. Unemployment is a time for self-improvement and keeping oneself busy. Be sure to mention what you did between jobs while unemployed, and how they help you to grow as a person.
You should list any charity work, volunteering, or freelance work you performed during this time as work experience. Mention the skills and abilities you gained from this work. Did you start up a blog or take time away from work to focus on creative writing? This is something a recruiter will appreciate. Maybe you attended a course, class, or seminar to improve on your skill set. That’s even better.
If you did not have that, then you should at least give the impression that you were involved in your industry and work on developing your knowledge and skills. Mention that you are learning new things on your own and reading books.
Finally, something else that is sure to create – and excuse – gaps is traveling. Even if you weren’t active in your profession, you still gain a number of things from traveling; and recruiters love this.
3. Focus on the Progress You Made
Whether there is a gap in your resume or not, it should point out how you’re advancing and never give the impression of stagnation. If you do have a gap in your work history, then the resume should talk more about your future than what happened in the past. It may sound weird, but we basically mean the resume should be written in a way that it focuses on how you have progressed and your ambitions. That the people who read the resume know how valuable of an employee you will be, and that you have a number of skills the company will benefit from.
4. Honesty is the Best Policy
When it comes to career gaps, honesty really is the best policy. Whether you fell victim to restructuring or downsizing, you need to address this and face the music even though it may be unpleasant. Don’t lie anywhere in your resume as the employer can find out the truth and then you have no chance of getting the job. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t go into too much detail; particularly if the details work against you. Just be positive about it and don’t let that one little slip up ruin your chance of getting employed!
I hope you found these resume writing tips useful. If you know more tips, add them to the comments below.