Been laid off or let go in the last several years? It’s inevitable you may have gaps in work experience in your resume. Unfortunately, this can make your job search more difficult, as employers are often wary of hiring candidates with gaps for one reason or another.
So what can you do about gaps in your resume? Here are some tips:
1. Stay Active By Volunteering
Gaps on your resume raise questions – what, exactly, were you doing with yourself? Even if you weren’t working for pay, keep your resume fresh by volunteering. Many nonprofit boards would welcome experienced professionals, and you can develop new skills like social media or fundraising by working for free.
– Dorie Clark, Author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future
2. Don’t Fear Work Gaps
Don’t hide your work gaps, embrace them and explain them. Identify work gaps in your resume, put some bullet points on what you have been doing to find work. Employers really just want to know that you have been trying as opposed to not taking any action.
– Ben Yeargin, Corporate Recruiter for Craig Technologies
3. Find a Filler
Whether you’re taking on volunteer work, beginning a blog, freelancing on the side, or even going back to school, find a filler activity to explain the gaps. By actively pursuing additional interests while still looking for employment, this helps keep you busy in the meantime and your spirit much higher than it would be if you weren’t doing anything. Employers do notice gaps, so take on outside activities as soon as you can.
– Heather Taylor, social media manager, MyCorporation.com
4. Tap Your Network Or Start Your Own Business
Your best opportunity for re-employment lies with those you know in your network. Your second best opportunity lies with a business you start yourself. Overall a resume that focuses on core skills and leaves dates of employment at the end is key.
5. Explain Your Experience More Personally In A Video Resume
A misconception about baby boomer candidates is that these workers are less fluent in technological knowledge. A great way to prove this maximum wrong while also explaining the gaps in your resume is to record a video resume. On film, you can personally explain your work history to employers. Plus, you can show off your creative problem solving abilities and comfort with new technology.
– Josh Tolan, Spark Hire
6. Say No To The “Returnship”
There has been a reemergence of the term “returnship” for those wanting back into the workforce. While the idea is sound, allowing companies to try-out potential hires and workers getting a foot in the door, I caution against using that term. Don’t pigeonhole yourself unnecessarily with a loaded title and less pay. Express your interest in a “contract” or “interim” position as you network.
– Allison O’Kelly, Mom Corps
Are you a baby boomer who has had to explain or fill resume gaps? How did you do it?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.