4 Ways to Deal With an Employment Gap on Your Resume
Let’s face it, being unemployed is a difficult proposition. You aren’t earning a paycheck. You’re trying to figure out how to stay productive with an excess of downtime. If you have a spouse or partner, you may also be dealing with feelings of inequality or inadequacy as you watch your significant other packs themselves off to work every morning. Add on top of this the fact that any employer reviewing your resume when you do decide to re-enter the workforce is going to be (sometimes not so quietly) wondering about the reasons behind the blank spaces, and a career gap can quickly become a yoke around the neck of a would-be job seeker.
If you have a space of six months or more lurking on your resume, most employers will quietly admit that eyebrows are going to be raised about your employment history. If you don’t supply answers, many will assume the worst about your candidacy. Were they unhireable? Perhaps they interview horribly? Maybe they aren’t serious about picking up a new long-term position.
If the feedback sounds familiar, or you’re anticipating being on the receiving end of similar, we’ve got a helpful list of 4 ways to deal with an employment gap on your resume.
Work as a freelancer
If you’re in a position to pick up unattached employment opportunities, freelance work is a great alternative to an employment gap in your work history. Most modern job listing services, such as Simply Hired, allow users to search specifically for freelance work. Don’t limit yourself to your specific career track, either. Freelance positions as writers, designers, developers or other universal roles are great for filling in job gaps while helping you earn extra income during times when you aren’t commuting into the office for a regular 9-5.
Sign Up at a Temporary Agency
Similar to picking up on the go work as a freelancer, temporary agencies can offer employees in the midst of a job gap the opportunity to earn a living on the side without the long-term commitment that a regular position would require. If your idea of a temp agency is based solely on movies 20 or 30 years dated, think again. Nowadays employers are utilizing temporary agencies to fill positions from receptionist to accountants. Signing on with a temporary agency helps fill out any employment gaps and keeps you occupied in a substantive position while filling out your checking account making it a win-win scenario.
Reframe Your Unemployment
If you’re not inclined to pick up work on the side, don’t worry. There are plenty of other alternatives for describing away a gap in your resume or CV. Instead of simply leaving an opening in employment, try including a date range and applying a label that fits your narrative. “Time to focus on the family” or “reflection on personal development”. Employers will notice and appreciate the time spent making strides on your personal, family or mental health. Leaving a large blank space, on the other hand, leaves imaginations open to coming up with the worst of possibilities.
When all else fails for explaining away an employment gap, don’t worry that you’re out of options. While many traditional employers will focus on large areas of unemployment as a negative, modern companies are more interested in what the individual candidate has to offer the department or company. If you’re returning to work after a gap, look for opportunities in younger and more modern companies, especially with those with less than traditional job titles or descriptions.
Whatever your approach, if you’re a quality candidate, keep in mind that employers who are in need of the best and brightest of talent will find and hire you. Focus on quality and developing your professional skill set in order to find a quality position, regardless of your work history.
Article Updated from the Original on April 15, 2018