According to the survey, 68% of people experienced an employment gap in their career. Another study showed that 67% of those surveyed believe that the employment gap made it more difficult for them to land a new job.
Employment gaps are common these days, and a stable career progression is rather an exception than a norm. However, a lot depends on how you explain those gaps to employers. Types of Resume Format play a significant role in presenting your work history and experiences in the most favorable light. Today, we will share the most effective strategies for explaining your career gaps that will make you more employable.
How can editing services online can help professionals with career gaps?
If you have an employment gap that lasted longer than 4 months, you are probably wondering how to explain this on your resume. You can solve this problem efficiently by working with CV resume editing services online.
Such services, for example, https://resumeperk.com, can explain your pause in employment depending on your current professional goals. Plus, a resume consultant will work on the structure, content, and accomplishments on your resume, making it more appealing to employers.
2 strategies to explain your employment gap
Give your resume a quality update
No matter your reason for taking a few months (or even years) off work, make sure that you address this issue properly on your resume.
Explain your time off work right in the Experience section
Add a placeholder for a career break next to your jobs. You might use the title Career Break, Maternity Leave, or else. In 1-2 sentences, explain the reason for your long-term unemployment as you would describe a real job. Here’s how this can look like:
|Employment Break 05/2020 – 11/2021|
· Took an intentional career break to raise two children full-time
· Attended training and pursued a CPA certification
Remove your career gap, if outdated
If you had a huge career gap 11 years ago, you can confidently remove it from your resume completely, as well as skip the experience before it.
Employers care most about your 3-4 most recent positions. If your career history was relatively stable since that break you took years ago, this won’t matter much to them. Moreover, by removing your outdated experience, you’ll make your resume shorter (which most hiring managers like) and more focused on your current goals.
Consider a functional resume
A popular strategy for downplaying gaps in career is using functional resume format. In this resume type, you put skills and competencies at the top of the resume. An employment history goes to the bottom and is listed very briefly.
A functional resume will work best if you have an extensive list of skills, including technical ones, to which you can draw the employer’s attention. If you are a recent graduate or your job isn’t skill-based, it is best to use a different strategy.
Be transparent about your break in employment
Knowing the prejudice of recruiters against the employment gaps, many job-seekers try to hide their time off work. Yet, when it comes to explaining unemployment, honesty is the best policy.
As you can see from the above-mentioned statistics, career breaks are not uncommon, especially in the post-COVID era. Thus, if you have a reasonable explanation, most hiring managers will understand the situation.
Moreover, employers do a background check, and they can easily reveal that you have been unemployed for some time. And once they do, they’ll wonder what else you might be hiding. Your professional reputation will suffer, and this might reflect on your further job search. Be honest, but also provide them with a reasonable explanation for your time off work.
If you are unemployed now and think that this can sabotage your future job search, take action now. No matter the reason for your time off work, allocate some time for activities related to your profession. Take a couple of online courses, obtain a certification or a license, or take some freelance projects.
Thus, you will kill two birds with one stone. Firstly, you will have something to add to your resume, and secondly, you’ll have something to talk to the hiring manager during an interview.
Highlight unpaid experience and projects
As mentioned above, avoid making an impression of the person who was sitting still during their employment gap. You need to come across as a person who kept their skills current, constantly learned something, and stayed informed about things going on in the industry.
Even if your gap wasn’t voluntary (say, you were laid off), show that you weren’t sitting still and stayed active.
Here’s how to display this on your resume:
- List volunteering and unpaid projects. Ideally, these projects should be related to your professional field, but if they are not, add them anyway. Volunteering or unpaid work is seen positively by employers.
- Show ongoing education. Take a couple of short online courses related to your specialization, or add skills you’ve recently gained.
- Add freelance work. If you took some consulting or freelancing projects while off work, create a specific section for them on your resume. Explain what these projects involved and how you made a difference.
Address the career gap in your cover letter
In a cover letter, you can give more context to your prolonged career break and highlight your motivation for returning to the workforce. Keep your explanation concise and positive – avoid complaining or saying negative things even if the situation isn’t pleasant.
Provide explanation in both resume and cover letter
Some hiring managers read cover letters scrupulously, while others ditch them whatsoever. Thus, you should be prepared for both case scenarios. Include both a short explanation on your resume and a more detailed one in your cover letter.
Tell about career gap in a letter body
Start your cover letter as usual, write a strong opening paragraph and then proceed by listing your areas of expertise and biggest accomplishments. In the third paragraph, include a short reason for your time off work and show your determination to continue your stable career:
|“I have been a stay-at-home mom for two years, but not I am determined to continue my career, and my past experience perfectly aligns with the position”.|
Career breaks are common these days, and your success in job search depends on how effectively you describe them on your resume. Use the tips above to polish your resume before returning to the workforce, and be sure to talk to a resume consultant if you are not sure how to present your employment gaps better. Good luck with your job search!