Gaps in your resume. Thanks to COVID-19, millions of unemployed Americans are now facing the prospect of trying to find a new job with at least one big gap in their curriculum vitae.
Should you be nervous about explaining why that gap exists? Well, it depends, right?
Layoffs, needing to take time off to care for an ill family member or leaving the job market to raise children are all common experiences nowadays. So, too, is having lost a job amid a global pandemic. Getting fired from a job, of course, can pose more of a challenge.
Either way, if you’re well-prepared, you can explain gaps in your resume and land the job you want.
A traditional resume – one that tells your work history chronologically — can call attention to gaps in work history.
Consider creating a “Relevant Skills” section at the very top of your resume and list all the most important skills you have for the job you are applying to.
Also, instead of listing your jobs in order from newest to oldest, reorder that experience in terms of relevancy.
If you took on temporary work, list the staffing agency as your employer and then bullet out each job under the main heading, to make it clear that you were working steadily for that agency.
So, what’s the best approach in explaining gaps?
It’s really nothing more complicated than speaking matter-of-factly about your situation without apologizing. Remember, hiring managers also have children and elderly parents and face the same life demands as you might.
If you were laid off, if you were fired, or if you quit, just remember these things also happen regularly. That said, it’s important to talk about how you spent your in-between time productively.
Did you take any classes? Achieve any certifications? Enhance your skills somehow? Those are all good points to share with a prospective employer.
Finally, realize that being vague or evasive won’t help you get the job. Instead, just remember you aren’t the first person to have gaps in your resume, and you won’t be the last.