Dealing With Employment Gaps

Sometimes circumstances totally out of your control force you out of your job for a length of time. Or you could have simply walked out of the office one day and decided to tour the world. For whatever reason gaps in your work history don’t bode well for your long term career. Employees are extremely fishy of finding a semblance of a job hopper in potential employees or a even heaven forbid a stint in prison. The trick is to gain your employer’s trust and to adequately explain those employment gaps.

You can lessen the suspicion by using only years instead of months when you write your work history. This makes it easier for the employer to quickly grasp the length of time between your jobs. Another way would be to use a functional resume instead of a chronological one. A functional resume lists your experience in skills clusters. This type of resume would work well for those with very diverse experiences, those in a technical profession and those with a complex job. However the functional resume isn’t the answer to the huge gap in your resume. In fact most recruiters prefer the chronological resume over functional resumes.

However if your unemployment is more than two calendar years, you really need to explain what you did in that time. And using a functional resume wouldn’t save you from the recruiter’s disdain. If you were sick during that time then it would be better off to explain it on the resume rather than let the recruiter’s imagination run wild with reasons for the gap. If the reason for the gap was purely personal, like being a full time parent you could address it in a cover letter. Make it short and to the point. You should also try as much as possible to relate all the things you were doing to the job you are applying for. If you are applying as a chef you can point out that you catered a few of your friends dinner parties.

It would also be in your best interest that during this gap in your employment you were involved in some capacity in your profession. Attend seminars or take a class related to your profession. Do some free lance work. Volunteering with an organization would reflect well on your resume. Keep abreast of news in your profession as well as recent developments. Be sure to maintain a network of friendly contacts. Doing so would make it easier to reenter the workforce.

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