It’s time to discuss the elephant in the room – a gap in your employment. Statistically speaking, over 50% of Americans have had some sort of gap in their career. Sometimes events happen in life that requires you to take a step back in your career (and that’s okay). Below we’ve compiled a list of ways to navigate these gaps on your resume and even in your next interview!
A gap in employment can result from a variety of circumstances including:
Going back to school
A family event can include having a baby or taking care of a loved one. It’s likely personal so share as much as you are comfortable with while maintaining your privacy. When it comes to being laid off, don’t be embarrassed. Being laid off is more often associated with a previous company’s inability to afford your employment due to a merger (or a recession) and does not reflect on your abilities. In fact, in 2022 alone there were over 15 million layoffs in the U.S. If a previous employer was unhappy with your performance, you would be terminated, not laid off. When addressing a termination gap in your resume, less is more. Refrain from going down a rabbit hole why your old boss was incompetent and simply say, “It was overall not a good fit, unfortunately.” Like most things in life, honesty is the best policy. Going back to school is pretty self-explanatory. Maybe you decided you wanted to be a paralegal so you decided to go to school to obtain your Associate’s in Paralegal Studies and now you’re applying for a Legal Assistant role (which you are now qualified for).
It’s important to be prepared to speak about an employment gap in an interview. Your prospective employer will be intrigued not only as to why the gap occurred but also how you have come back from it. DON’T lie or try to cover up your employment gap or it will be a red flag for a prospective employer. When adding it to your resume, don’t try to alter the dates of employment around it to hide it. When they call your references and the dates of employment don’t align they will know they were lied to and you will likely be removed as a candidate to fill their open job.
LinkedIn has a new feature allowing you to add a “gap of employment” to the experience section of your resume followed by a brief description of the occurrence. This will show your awareness of the event and that you are ready and willing to answer questions surrounding it.
In addition to the reasons above, the effects of COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the workforce. Causing people to take extended leaves of absence due to lay-offs, lack of business, lack of childcare, etc. Unfortunately, a gap in employment is not like a point on your license – you can’t work it off.
When interviewing for a job, what’s important is the skillset and experience you bring to the table. Ultimately a prospective employer is more focused on whether you would be a good fit for their company, but the history you may (or may not) bring with you will need to be addressed.
For further assistance in your job search or your search for qualified candidates, please contact us at (518) 275-4816.
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